The Company Index
Alaster Bentley, Principal Oboe, was born in London in 1957 and started
piano lessons at the age of four. Encouraged by his parents, he took up the oboe
after hearing the great English oboist Leon Goossens at the age of 11. He studied
at the Central Tutorial School for Young Musicians (now the Purcell School),
studying with oboist Edwin Roxburgh and the London Symphony Orchestra's Principal
Oboe, Barry Davies.
In 1974 Alaster became an Associate of the Royal College of Music, entering the same
institution that year, to study with Sydney 'Jock' Sutcliffe. Whilst a student, he won
first prize at the International Summer School, Canterbury. This lead directly to
post-graduate studies in Paris with Maurice Bourgue. Alaster also took part in a master
class with Heinz Holliger.
After freelancing, Alaster was offered the post of Principal Oboe with the Royal Ballet
Sinfonia, a post he has now held for 27 years. He has performed in concerts with
the orchestra, with Birmingham Royal Ballet and The Royal Ballet, as well as with many visiting ballet
companies, including the Australian Ballet, Paris Opéra Ballet, New York City Ballet,
and the Kirov and Bolshoi companies. He has also performed on the orchestras many
recordings of ballet music and British light music.
As a teacher, Alaster has held positions with Berkshire Education Authority, Stowe School
and given master classes at Birmingham Conservatoire. He currently teaches the oboe at
Oxford High School for Girls. His other interests include motor engineering, golf, art
and architecture. He lives with his wife Jane, a cellist with Royal Ballet Sinfonia
and their four cats, a Burmese, a Russian Blue and two Norwegian Forest Cats.