When Fatma Daglar was growing up in Istanbul, she was part of a big boisterous family that gathered frequently for parties and celebrations. Music abounded; among her relatives were folk singers and a famous jazz musician. But it wasn’t until she saw the movie “Amadeus,” with its luscious soundtrack of Mozart’s musical treasures, that music became her passion. “I got obsessed with Mozart,” she says. “I started listening to and solfeging along all 27 of his piano concertos. Then I got obsessed with opera and Schubert’s song cycles and Brahms’ cello sonatas. Before I even started playing an instrument, I knew a ton of music by heart.” (Merriam-Webster defines solfege as a learning technique that involves “the application of the sol-fa syllables to a musical scale or melody.”)
She applied to the state music conservatory at age 14, one year too late to get into the cello classes she desired, so she had to choose another instrument: “I was told to pick a woodwind,” she recalls. Lucky for us, her dad was a big fan of Heinz Holliger, the Swiss oboist, conductor and composer, and encouraged Fatma to choose the oboe. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Music from the Istanbul Conservatory of Music and then moved to the United States at age 21 to earn her Master’s degree in oboe performance at the Peabody Institute, where she studied with Sara Watkins. Fatma still lives in Baltimore.
Fatma joined the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra in 1997, the year she finished at Peabody. “ASO was my first job out of school,’ she says. “I’ve gained so much experience playing here. We are a great orchestra and we’ve been getting better every year, especially with José-Luis Novo’s leadership and community involvement.”
It is not her only job, however. Fatma Daglar is also an enthusiastic teacher of oboe, both privately and at several local institutes of higher education. Her private students range from raw beginners to college-level performers. Many of her students become lifelong friends.
Sometimes it is hard to spot her sitting among the woodwinds, but it is worth the effort. She enjoys performing, and it shows. “What we do is an elevated form of entertainment,” she says. “Yes, the music is lengthy, complex, layered, and we study and practice for years and for tens of thousands of hours to be able to present it. But, ultimately, it’s for the enjoyment of the people. I try to always keep that in mind. If I have a good time on the stage, usually that translates into a good time for the audience.”
What is her all-time favorite piece of music that she has performed with the ASO? The reader can probably guess. Give up? It is the famous Oboe Concerto in C Major, K. 314, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
-- Carol Richards