Sherry Sylar joined the New York Philharmonic in 1984 as Associate Principal Oboe. She was the Orchestra’s Acting Principal Oboe during the 2005–06 season and has also served as guest principal oboe for other major orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (in December 2015, led by Riccardo Muti), Boston Symphony Orchestra (in its 2001 tour, led by Bernard Haitink), the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France (for its 2003 Carnegie Hall debut, conducted by Myung-Whun Chung), the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra (in its 2007 American tour), and the St. Louis Symphony. Prior to joining the New York Philharmonic she was a member of the Louisville Orchestra. She was among the select group of Philharmonic musicians who joined the orchestra that Leonard Bernstein conducted in the historic Freedom Concert at the falling of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
As a featured soloist with the New York Philharmonic, she has performed Haydn’s Sinfonia Concertante in B-flat major, conducted by Jeffrey Kahane, and Bach’s Concerto for Violin and Oboe, with the Orchestra’s Principal Associate Concertmaster Sheryl Staples, conducted by Kent Nagano. In 1989 she was soloist in the Orchestra’s performances and recording of Handel’s Oboe Concerto in G minor, Zubin Mehta conducting. She also serves as the New York Philharmonic’s oboe d’amore player, and she earned praise from The New York Times for her solos on that instrument during the orchestra’s 2013 The Bach Variations: A Philharmonic Festival. In March 2016 she performed the World Premiere of Pablo Furman’s Concerto for Oboe and Strings with the San Jose Chamber Orchestra.
An avid performer of chamber music, she appears often in the concerts of the New York Philharmonic Ensembles and has participated in the Aspen and Grand Teton Music Festivals. She played Luciano Berio’s Sequenza VIIa for solo oboe at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater as part of the New York Philharmonic’s celebration of the late composer in 2008. She is also a member of the Philharmonic Quintet of New York, which was formed in 2001 to give concerts for workers in the World Trade Center area following the disaster of 9/11. The quintet has gone on to give master classes and recitals worldwide and is preparing its first CD.
Sylar gives master classes for oboists internationally and was invited to China as a judge for the Beijing National Orchestra’s first-ever auditions. A native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, she earned her bachelor’s degree at Indiana University and her master’s degree from Northwestern University. She formerly taught at the University of Evansville in Indiana and since 2005 has served on the oboe faculty of Mannes College The New School for Music in New York City. Her new CD, Oboe Dolce, includes solo oboe and chamber music featuring Principal Bassoon Judith LeClair, Principal Viola Cynthia Phelps, Harriet Wingreen, Jonathan Feldman, Yi Fang Wang, and Norman Weiss.