A principal oboe plays Jingle Bells through her nose

A principal oboe plays Jingle Bells through her nose


norman lebrecht

December 23, 2016

This is Katherine Needleman,  principal oboe of the Baltimore Symphony.

On recorders.

So what’s your party trick?


  • John says:

    Unsightly and immature. But what else do we expect from a woman who harasses music critics who do not give her good reviews?

    • Max Grimm says:

      I daresay, every time I see her pop up on SD, she’s somehow involved in something snotty.

    • Paul says:

      …and a “Bah-Humbug” to you, too. Nothing wrong with have a little fun.

    • Angela says:

      Even more unsightly and immature are people who defend a third-rate critic in a row that had and continues to have nothing to do with them. And what’s more, the peanut gallery could use a little less hubris and a little more lightening up.

      • Wai Kit leung says:

        I am just curious: does writing an honest review on a third-rate album makes a critic third-rate?

        • Paul says:

          In my opinion, said critic should move forward and adapt a more professional, detached attitude towards criticism pointed in his direction. In other words, take the high road. Continuing to stir the pot on this topic does not reflect well on you.

    • John says:

      Oh. Shut. Up.

      Sorry we share the same name.

    • Andy says:

      I just followed the link John provided. 148 comments in total, that has to be a Slipped Disc record. At the bottom of the comment section, Dieter posted a lengthy diatribe that looks like a carbon copy of a much earlier rant by Katherine Needleman. He also posted two links to reviews of Ms. Needleman’s performances, one of which was a freshly-minted review in German. Is it really possible that someone, other than the artist herself, can find a foreign language review of the artist, write in the same style and with the same contents as the artist, and post it on Slipped Disc, all within a few hours of the review going online?

      • John says:

        Of course not. Needleman’s dirty habits are obvious to anyone who pays sufficient attention.

        • Andy says:

          I wonder how many of the 148 comments were left by Needleman.

          • Wai Kit Leung says:

            There were indeed a number of fictional characters who were telling lies in unison in order to defame me the critic. I wonder who had the incentive to create such an army of fake underlings?

    • Paul says:

      Interesting that back on August 16, 2016, on Wai Kit Leung’s own Facebook page, in reference to the Slipped Disc article mentioned by John, Wai Kit Leung wrote the following:

      “I am very relieved that the comment section of the Slipped Disc article is finally closed…”

      Seems he has changed his mind and wishes to rehash the subject. Quite sad that he is unwilling to let the matter rest.

      • Wai Kit leung says:

        Even more interesting is that this “Paul” would take the trouble to go through my pile of Facebook posts going back months to repost here. He also chose to only repost part of my post, and in the process hiding any incriminating statements made against Katherine Needleman. Let me post the entire thing:

        “I am very relieved that the comment section of the Slipped Disc article is finally closed. This vicious musician was relentless in her attack and posted vile messages and slanders using well over 10 different fake names. Scary indeed. Think twice before you ever write a classical music review under your real name!”

        This “Paul” obviously doesn’t want the ugly truth be told.

        • Paul says:

          The “ugly truth” that you accuse me of not wanting to tell has been addressed by you and others, “ad nauseum”. Therefore, I deemed it unnecessary to repeat what you and a few others have already repeated, over and over, again and again. (See what I’m doing here, readers?)
          However, you, Wai Kit Leung, have failed to address my original comment, so I will try AGAIN. You’ve already beaten this “ugly” horse to death many times over. I do not believe you will find any real satisfaction by continuing do so on these pages.
          I will be pleasantly surprised if you can address my point, and only my point, without further rehash of your grudge against Ms Needleman.

          • Wai Kit leung says:

            I didn’t rehash it. Others did. I just provided my proof that their observations were correct. I don’t think anyone ever exposed Ms. Needleman of spreading lies using multiple fake names, until now, so I am not sure if it was done “ad nauseum” as you suggested. You responded to John before someone even pointed it out here. Anyway, I did not plan on repeating myself on this and do not wish to do so either. So thank you Paul, for your suggestions, and let’s rest on the fact that multiple fake entities were created for telling lies against me. I just want my integrity back. I hate liars and do not want to be accused as a liar.

          • norman lebrecht says:


  • Carol Blades says:

    Might she be available for the Trump inauguration?

  • John Sullivan says:

    At least we didn’t have to pay through the nose to watch it!

  • Steve Taylor says:

    Nice “nasal passages” K!!

  • Brian Salisbury says:

    A musical tutor named Rose,
    Got an oboe reed stuck in her nose,
    She now plays quartets.
    Tooting two clarinets,
    and a 7 foot red rubber hose.

  • Nigel says:

    She’s funny and attractive but I think she should play a third from her bung hole.

  • peter bowman says:

    Katherine is one of the finest oboists i have heard in modern times.
    I think it’s hysterical and an oboe player needs some outlet to keep
    their sanity with the reeds etc. Have a sense of humor ok guys?

    peter bowman
    retired principal oboist
    of the st. louis symphony

    • Jonathon Murrow says:

      Nice comment Peter,

      “The loudest Boos are always from the cheapest seats”

      Babe Ruth

    • William Safford says:

      Peter, she is a fine oboist. I heard her perform the Rouse last year — fabulous playing, and a good piece.

      (BTW, how is the Miata?)

      • peter bowman says:

        HA! A miata fan! After spending literally a fortune on , I had to sell
        him because of a weird stroke and then more medical problems.
        This has nothing to do with this thread but it ended my career a bit
        early. Ms. needleman should be hopefully left alone now. She’s read enough
        if she has read this at all.

  • peter bowman says:

    Katherine needleman is one of the finest oboists in the modern era.
    I think it.s hysterical and we oboe players need an outlet to keep our
    sanity from the reeds etc. Have a sense of humor ok?

    peter bowman

    retired principal oboist
    st. louis symphony orchestra

  • JMW says:

    My kind of woman!

  • Bruce says:

    Very nice if you like the American style of nose-recorder playing.

    (Sorry, couldn’t resist 😛 )

  • Kp says:

    Waiting for her oboe playing with nose. 🙂

  • Andy says:

    Can anyone name another artist who attacked a critic and asked for his removal for ONE unfavourable review?

  • Too Busy Practicing To Be A Jerk says:

    You know, some of you are really, really terrible people. Perhaps if you’d spent more time practicing and less time being miserable gossips, you too could have a principal position in a major orchestra.

  • Symphathizer says:

    Mr. Lebrecht, It strikes me as callous that you strive to silence the voice of the targeted individual in what appeared to me to be a very aggressive and destructive mobbing incident, which you openly posted on your blog last spring. I would like to thank you for posting those articles by Mr. Leung, actually, since I myself have been persistently targeted, too, over an extremely long period of time (nine years). It is important that we acknowledge a very serious ongoing problem in our symphony orchestras. Ms. Katherine Needleman appeared to me to be the “poster child” of this syndrome in the incident involving this music critic. More and more, bullying/mobbing has become a systemic problem in orchestras across our country. If we dared take a closer look at what truly happened in the Buffalo Philharmonic that should result in the firing of the Principal Oboist twice, or if we pursued information on whatever situation made Matthieu Dufour so badly wish to leave the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a situation that led to other Principal winds leaving, including Eugene Isotov, we would probably uncover a weak leadership team that sowed a seedbed of instability amongst the employees who then sought and do seek to find personal power and validation in whatever way possible, even, and especially if, it discredits someone else that may have seniority, title, authority over, or a higher profile than the (insecure) bully does. With the scarcity of the Music Director’s presence on the podium, a hole has opened up for musicians to dominate the conditions onstage. This is like a playground without adult supervision. What would we expect to happen on this playground?

    • norman lebrecht says:

      These are, to my knowledge, unconnected incidents. The Baltimore issue has been thrashed to death.

      • Sympathizer says:

        My personal situation is not at all unrelated. And why are you compartmentalizing about this? It is human behavior run amok in the non-profit arena. It is a systemic problem. There is some very good literature about it and 30 years’ worth of studies about the phenomenon of mobbing.

  • Wai Kit leung says:

    I just did a search on Facebook. There are literally hundreds of “Wai Kit Leung” there. To find and pick me out of the pile, and then to find a pertinent post out of hundreds of posts on my wall, is akin to finding a needle in a haystack. I must applaud “Paul” for his determination and effort in doing that. Bravo!

  • Pete says:

    I vastly prefer Ms Needleman’s nose-recorder playing to her oboe playing.