Principal Oboe

Alaster Bentley

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.