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About Esther Williams

Esther_W 0188 ©ivan weiss_FULL.jpg

Born and raised in London, with Jamaican-Indian and Vincentian heritage, Esther Williams began her musical journey at a young age, picking up the violin at four years old, opening up a lifelong passion to music. Fiercely independent and pro-active, she taught herself music theory, piano, guitar, recorder, alto saxophone and, by the time she was 16, was adept on eight instruments, including cor anglais, recorder (descant, treble and tenor), singing and the instrument that would define her journey: the oboe.  


Further advancing her talents, she studied at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, receiving tutelage from esteemed oboists such as John Anderson, Catriona Southall, Sarah-Jayne Porsmoguer, Murray (Sandy) Johnson and Gordon Hunt. Furthermore, Esther has participated in masterclasses from François Leleux, Sarah Francis, Ludovic Armin Cora, Albrecht Mayer, Heinz Holliger, and is currently studying a Masters in Music in Staatliche Hochschule für Musik Trossingen with the world-renowned oboist, Nicholas Daniel OBE.


Owing to her versatility as a performer, and distinct emotive sound, Esther is a highly sought-after freelance player, and has professionally performed across the UK, Europe, USA, Thailand and the Caribbean encompassing musicals, operas, marching bands, early/period music, solo and orchestral work. Other notable performances include performing with Alicia Keys, Craig David, Beverley Knight, Stormzy and RAYE. Esther balances her musical career with a role in Finance, at the Royal Academy of Music (RAM). She also teaches at the Royal Hospital School, gives private tuition, and has a reed making business.


Esther is the oboe and cor anglais for Chineke! Orchestra, the first professional orchestra in Europe to be made up of 'majority' Black & ethnically diverse musicians, founded in 2015 by Chi-chi Nwanoku CBE. Her most recent appearance with Chineke! includes performing with Stormzy at the Brit Awards, and BBC Proms 2023. In addition to her performative duties, Esther also serves as a Woodwind Mentor for Chineke! Junior Orchestra, who reached the semi-finals on Britain's Got Talent 2020.

Striving for racial equality within the classical music industry, Esther has spoken on numerous platforms to spark unity, which recently include the International Double Reed Society (IDRS) Symposium 2020 and 2021. She is also an active committee member for Freelance Musicians for Musicians Union, British Double Reed Society, and RAM’s Equality, Diversity & Inclusion and Access & Participation committees, with the ultimate aim of ensuring inclusivity for musicians from all ethnic backgrounds. As of 2022, Esther is now on the Board of Directors for IDRS as the Treasurer and Co-chair of their Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging commitee.


Continuing to expand her skills, Esther has undertaken her own research and has studied courses revolving around Black Classical Music composers/history. To bridge the gap for disadvantaged young players who wish to study at conservatoires, Esther frequently leads workshops and Summer programmes at RAM (which include her conducting, arranging music, and yoga instruction).  

In her spare time, Esther enjoys going to the gym, yoga, reading, hiking, swimming, boxing and painting.

©Ivan Weiss

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