5 Minutes with… Howarth Artists | Celia Craig

This week we are excited to introduce you to Howarth Artist, Celia Craig!

Celia is a great exponent of the Howarth brand, her outstanding playing and continued support, thanks to her love of the instrument, has inspired many more to engage with and learn the oboe.

Introduction from Celia

Hi, I’m Celia Craig, former Principal Oboe of Adelaide Symphony and former Cor Anglais of BBC Symphony Orchestra. I am now founder of non-profit, Artaria Ltd.

Artaria is a classical music production agency that connects artists with performance commissioners, educational institutions, and public and private audiences.

Where are you based? 

Adelaide, South Australia

Tell us about your early musical life, where did it start and what made you choose the oboe?

I started on violin and went to Kent Junior Music School under Bela de Csillery and Gillian Sanson. I also attended Northampton County Youth Concert Band and The Purcell School, where I changed to oboe and studied with Nick Daniel.

After school I went to the University of York (a brilliant place and brilliant fun – my colleagues here included Jane’s Minstrels and Icebreaker) and then onto the Royal Academy of Music (George Caird and Christine Pendrill) via 1st PMF and ECYO.

I only “chose” oboe because our music teacher gave me one when he needed a player in the school orchestra and because I was into recorder it was quite easy, once it worked.

Did you always want to be a musician? If you had another career what would you have done?

I like marketing, I like history, I like events and drama/performing. Any of those things and I’m kind of using them all right now running Artaria and also being Resident Artist for National Trust of South Australia.

What has been your musical highlight(s)?

James MacMillan’s the World’s Ransoming at the Barbican with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. That and Daphnis and Chloe with the same brilliant and wonderful BBCSO at Barbican under Boulez are two of the tops alongside PMF 1 with Bernstein conducting.

Purcell School concerts at the Southbank were also very cool. Thanks for memories London, I miss you.

My new national primary schools show Colours of Home – for purple oboe (thank you Howarth!!!) and electric guitar, is also fun!!!

What are favourite/worst things about playing the oboe?

Stupid reed changes, through weather and temperature changes

Where are you playing currently?

I have launched a series of repeating chamber programs for hire that feature our wonderful local musicians in unusual or historic venues.

I’m also playing on CD and digital download, as Artaria; we have three albums out, these are available through Howarth’s website, and on Spotify, Tidal etc. I’ve recorded all our loveliest pieces I feel; Beethoven Trio, Poulenc and Saint Saens, Bax Quintet, Britten Phantasy. It has been fun and more is coming!

Favourite composer/piece? New piece?

Britten Metamorphosis, which I’ve just performed for the National Trust of South Australia with a new set of editorial portraits commissioned from Indigenous photographer Finn Mellor.

New piece: Trio Fantastique by Joe Chindamo – a commission for double reed trio, it’s a fab piece!

Colours of Home has a new commission from Indigenous composer Will Kepa “Acqueous”. The video contains an interview with Mackenzie Porter, a synesthetic clarinettist, aged 9, with whom I connected. You can see why I like the purple oboe; synaesthesia is fun.

What Howarth instrument do you play and why did you choose it?

A LXV Oboe in cocobolo with gold plated keys and a XL Cor Anglais in cocobolo with gold plated keys as well.

My husband’s business gold plated the cor for me to match the amazing oboe!! It’s so fun. We spend such a lot of time with our instruments and I wanted that bling, it makes me want to practice. The wood is wonderful and light, resonant and joyful, not hard or dark like blackwood sometimes can be, and they weigh less. Gold plate is so fine for the fingers, it’s great.

Listen to Celia!

Celia’s website

Celia’s Instagram

Artaria website

Artaria YouTube

Artaria Instagram

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