Roger Cole was appointed Principal Oboist of the Vancouver Symphony by Maestro Kazuyoshi Akiyama in 1976. At age 22 he was the youngest principal player of the VSO and retired in 2021 as its oldest principal player, after a 45-year career. From 1976-2008 he was also the principal oboist of the CBC Radio Orchestra.
Mr. Cole received his early musical training in Seattle, Washington and went on to become a scholarship student at Yale University and The Juilliard School where he studied with the renowned American oboist, Robert Bloom.
Mr. Cole has participated in the summer music festivals of Aspen, Tanglewood, and Marlboro. He has recently taught, conducted and performed at the Marrowstone Music Festival (Bellingham, Wa.) and the PRISMA Music Festival (Powell River, BC).
He performs regularly in solo and chamber music recitals and has appeared as soloist with the VSO and the CBC Vancouver Orchestra many times. He has recorded a CD for CBC Records with his VSO colleague, pianist Linda Lee Thomas entitled “The Expressive Oboe”.
Mr. Cole teaches at the University of British Columbia and the VSO School of Music. He has given masterclasses across North America and in Asia. He also has an active oboe studio at his home.
In June 2003 Mr. Cole was named Music Director and Senior Orchestra Conductor of the Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra. Under his guidance the VYSO has flourished and is considered one of the finest Youth Orchestras in Canada.
From 1998-2012 he was the principal oboist of the Carmel Bach Festival in California.