is one of the most capricious and self-willed musical instruments,
but in the hands of Alexei
Utkin it is remarkably obedient.
Nowadays there are not so many touring virtuoso oboists. Evidently, Utkin
does not have any technical problems and since he effectively
implements special breathing methods, in long complicated
passages his breath seems to be endless. Intonation clarity
which he achieves is phenomenal, but that is not a major feature
in his performance. As musical critics say Utkin is always interested in "above-instrumental" problems.
As an outstanding musician, Utkin in due course felt the necessity to create his own ensemble: "I've been performing a lot with "Moscow Virtuosi". But I was always thinking that almost everything could be played in another way. Yes, the orchestra performed nice, and I played okay but not exactly in a way I would really like it".
Since 2000, A. Utkin is an Artistic Director of Hermitage Chamber Orchestra (from French "ermitage"- seclusion) - the soloist works hard in a "creative isolation" with young musicians to perform music in his own way. He is also teaching in the Moscow State Conservatory and touring with "Moscow Virtuosi" orchestra.
Utkin plays all the oboe repertoire. Besides that he transcribes to oboe pieces written for another instruments - both, Early Music and modern classical compositions. In his transcriptions, Utkin is never simplifying solo parts and always tries to secure the composer's articulation. There is a quite a lot from Early Music heritage in Utkin's repertoire but up to now he is not performing on historical oboes. He says that the perfection he ultimately needs can not be achieved on authentic instruments.
The modern oboe is bigger than both baroque and classical ones, it is less fluent and, therefore, it demands a unique technical precision to play virtuosi baroque passages. Alexei Utkin plays oboe F. Loree, specially designed for him by the owner and head of the company Alain de Gourdon. The widened range of the instrument allows the musician to enrich his repertoire, as well as transcribe to oboe preserving original compositions' key.