Alumna thrives as a professional musician through teachers who recognized her potential
Katie Meredith

Many people shrink from the pressure of the spotlight, but alumna Andrea Overturf (‘01) embraces it. As a professional oboist and English horn player with the San Diego Symphony, Overturf compares her job to that of a Placekicker on a football team. She doesn’t play for the entire piece or sometimes doesn't have a part at all, but when her time comes, all eyes are on her as a soloist.

She says, “Even many of my colleagues in the orchestra say they don’t know how I’m able to handle the pressure of coming in cold on a huge solo. But I know it all started in the band room and concerts in the Commons with Ms. Boone at BCS.” 

When she started attending Three Points Elementary in 1st grade, Overturf’s creative talents were already emerging. She remembers connecting with her art teacher and spending time in her room during recess.

In junior high, Overturf continued to grow in creativity and found her calling in the BCS Music program. She developed a strong relationship with former band teacher Kathy Boone, who recognized Overturf’s talent from the beginning. Ms. Boone placed her in Symphonic Wind Ensemble as an 8th grader, which at the time was an ensemble of upperclassmen.

To this day, Overturf credits Ms. Boone with jump starting her highly successful English horn and oboe career. She recalls, “I remember the day Ms. Boone put the Lincolnshire Posy English horn part in my SWE folder, prompting me to borrow an English horn and it was all over from there. Every concert after that contained at least one lengthy, major English horn solo. When talking about it years later, she confessed to scouring the wind ensemble repertoire to find pieces that featured the instrument.”

As a teacher, Ms. Boone did everything she could to challenge Overturf and foster her abilities. She was also “adopted” as a fellow musician by Joel Ulrich, former BCS Choral Director. Though she wasn’t in the choir, Overturf remembers Mr. Ulrich being one of the most magnetic, inspirational people she’s ever met. He often looked for choir pieces that included oboe parts, to feature Overturf and grow her musical talents.

“One of my favorite memories was playing, “My Shepherd Will Supply My Need” with the BCS Choir. It was one of the moments Mr. Ulrich included me in the choir family - most of my friends were in choir. My best friend for most of my years at BCS, Nathan Shiu, played the flute obbligato along with me on oboe. That was a great moment.”

After graduating from BCS, Overturf attended the Eastman School of Music, studying oboe performance. From there, she moved to New York City to earn her Master of Music at The Juilliard School. After completing her Masters, Overturf became the first oboist in the history of Juilliard to be admitted into their two-year solo intensive Artist Diploma program. While completing her diploma at Juilliard, she got her first job with the Florida Orchestra in Tampa where she played for two years. 

From there, she went on to play with the Seattle Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the National Symphony Orchestra. In 2009, she got her current job with the San Diego Symphony, where she plays English horn and 3rd oboe. 

Today, Overturf is living out her creative passions, making music and art. She is thankful for so many of her BCS teachers, but especially for Ms. Boone.

“She fed my raw passion for music – for that, I will be forever grateful. The amount of experience she gave me at such a young age…I know without a doubt that it prepared me to do the job I do today. I wish her well in her next endeavors and hope we can cross paths again someday.”

Learn more about Andrea Overturf here: http://www.andreaoverturf.co