Kara Poling

Associate Principal Oboe/English Horn

Oboist Kara Poling is the new Associate Principal Oboe/English Horn of the Richmond Symphony beginning in January of 2024. She was distinguished as “someone to watch” in Gramophone Newsletter (April 2022), following her rendition of the oboe solo in Florence Price’s Piano Concerto in One Movement on New York Youth Symphony’s Grammy winning debut album. Her reputation was further advanced when she took first prize in the Norma Hooks Young Artist International Oboe Competition in 2022. In the summers, Kara seeks to expand her musical world, attending several prestigious festivals. She was awarded fellowships at Music Academy of the West and Aspen Music Festival, and she toured Asia as a member of Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Orchestra in 2018, under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas. Kara is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree at The Juilliard School with Elaine Douvas where she is a proud recipient of a Kovner Fellowship. Other influential teachers include Melissa Hooper, Ryan Roberts, Nathan Hughes, Scott Hostetler, and Linda Strommen. Kara is an advocate for the works of Polish composer Grażyna Bacewicz, who expanded the oboe’s solo and chamber repertoire, often with unique mixtures of instruments. Kara’s woodwind quintet, Amity Winds, competed as semi-finalists in the 50th annual Fischoff Chamber Music Competition. Kara began studying oboe with her mom at the age of 9, after years of asking. When not playing music, she enjoys traveling, hiking, and visiting the country’s National Parks. She has visited 43 of the 50 states.