After graduating from Robbinsdale Cooper High School in 2003, oboist Sian Ricketts attended the Northwestern University School of Music in Evanston, Illinois. Along the way, Sian has won numerous honors including First Place in the 2003 Schubert Club and Thursday Musical Competitions. In May 2007, Sian performed at an invitational concert at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Music at the Cleveland Institute of Music.
Q: Can you recall any especially strong influences during your years in the Robbinsdale district?
SR: Kay Miller, my third grade teacher at Sonnesyn, was especially influential in my development as a person and as a student. She's still a close family friend, and I try to see her whenever I am in Minnesota. As for academics, the classes and the quality of teaching I experienced whilst a student in the International Baccalaureate Programme at Cooper were on par with any classes I took at Northwestern.
Q: How did you become involved in music? Are you from a particularly musical family?
SR: Neither of my parents was a musician, but my grandfather Ronald Ricketts was second trombone in the Minnesota Orchestra.
I started going to concerts at a very early age. My parents joke that I probably read or slept through more concerts as a kid than most people attend in their entire lives! When I was little, making it through the second half was very difficult for me. I still remember being startled awake by the trumpets in the Pines of Rome. At the time it was one of the loudest things I had ever heard!
Q: And did you start on another instrument before oboe, or plunge right in with that double reed?
SR: I started playing piano a little bit when I was four, and started taking lessons seriously when I was seven at the MacPhail School in Minneapolis. I knew that I wanted to play another instrument, and that I did NOT want to play a string instrument, but I was a little frightened to play the oboe, because everyone said it was a very difficult instrument.
When I was in fifth grade I played French horn for a while. But once I actually tried the oboe, I was completely enamored with it. I promptly returned the French horn and rented an oboe. I also sang throughout my childhood, in church choirs as well as in school. I took voice lessons for many years, and actually have a job as a soprano in a church here in Cleveland.
Q: What drew you to Northwestern?
SR: I attended Northwestern because it was a prestigious school of music that also had a very solid liberal arts curriculum. I loved the program, and had a wonderful and fulfilling undergraduate experience.
Q: And now you're at the Cleveland Institute of Music.
SR: That's right. I am getting my Masters in Music, studying with Frank Rosenwein, the principal oboist of the Cleveland Orchestra.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
SR: I'm not sure at the moment. I am taking auditions for several programs for next year, including an Artist Diploma in English horn from Oberlin and a Graduate Diploma in Historical Performance from Juilliard. I am also taking professional auditions this winter and spring and will continue doing so until I win a position in a professional orchestra. That's my ultimate goal.