Benjamin Holthaus
  • Instrument English Horn

Benjamin Holthaus holds a bachelor of music and music education degrees from Drake University as an oboe student of Jay Light, and Masters degrees in music performance and music theory from Temple University as a student of Louis Rosenblatt, former English Horn player of the Philadelphia Orchestra. A retired teacher, he lives in Waukee with his wife and has two adult sons. Member of the Orchestra since 1998, having been an extra since the 1970s. Benjamin started his instrument coming from a family of tenor saxophone players, he felt the need to rebel during the turbulent 1960s. Benjamin then switched to the oboe in 7th grade because he was drawn to the double-reed sound in pieces like "Peter and the Wolf." Added benefits were: being able to play in both his school band and the CR Youth Symphony, and secondly the oboe was much lighter to carry home from the bus stop near his farm. 

For personal music listening, Benjamin prefers French (particularly Ravel) and Russian (Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Prokofieff). His favorite solo piece would be the Quartet for Oboe and Strings by Mozart, with its unusual polyrhythmic section simultaneously on 6/8 and 4/4.