Stanford Woodwind Quintet

Available Winter/Spring 2015 & 2016

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Alexandra Hawley, flute

James Matheson, oboe

Mark Brandenburg, clarinet

Lawrence Ragent, horn

Rufus Olivier, bassoon


ALEXANDRA HAWLEY was born in New York, daughter of Alexander Williams, principal clarinetist with the N. B. C. Orchestra under Arturo Toscanini, and Frances Blaisdell, the first woman wind player admitted to both the Juilliard School of Music and to the New York Philharmonic.  Mrs. Hawley studied with Murray Panitz of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Lloyd Gowen at Stanford and Jean-Pierre Rampal in France.  She completed her Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees at Stanford University, moved to Europe, and performed in recital and on radio.  She made her professional debut in Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw Recital Hall and her New York debut in Carnegie Recital Hall.  She now performs throughout the United States as a soloist and chamber musician.  Mrs. Hawley was a member of the National Flute Association delegation to the Soviet Union in 1989 and has been invited to perform at their conventions in Boston, Los Angeles, San Diego and Kansas City.  Her recordings for the Naxos label include Robert Muczynski's complete works for flute with the composer at the piano and guest artist Rampal.  Mrs. Hawley is the founder and artistic director of the Avedis Chamber Music series in San Francisco, a member of the music department faculty at Stanford University and a founding member of the Stanford Woodwind Quintet.

JAMES MATHESON has held the position of principal oboe with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra since 1962.  In addition he was a member of the San Francisco Symphony from 1962-1980.  Previous to that he was principal oboe in the Portland Symphony and toured with the Boston Pops under Arthur Fiedler.  Matheson has a Bachelor or Arts degree in music from San Francisco State University.  He performs frequently in chamber music ensembles and is a founding a member of the Stanford Woodwind Quintet.  He teaches at Stanford University. 

MARK BRANDENBURG received Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the Juilliard School of Music, and includes Frealon Bibbins Jr., Bernard Portnoy, and Rosario Mazzeo among his teachers.  A former member of the San Francisco Symphony and the San Jose Symphony, he is currently principal clarinet in the Opera San Jose Orchestra and the Midsummer Mozart Festival Orchestra.  In addition, Mr. Brandenburg pursues an active solo, chamber music and free-lance career, performing frequently with many of the Bay Area's leading ensembles.  He has taught at San Jose State University and at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and is currently on the faculty at the University of California, Santa Cruz and Stanford University, where he is a member of the Stanford Woodwind Quintet. 

LAWRENCE RAGENT, hornist, received his musical training at the New England Conservatory where he graduated with honors.  He is a member of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players.  He has also performed with the San Francisco Symphony, the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra and the Boston Symphony.  Ragent has taught at Brown University and the University of California at Santa Cruz and is currently on the faculty of Stanford University, where he is also a member of the Stanford Woodwind Quintet.  Ragent has performed as soloist with the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, Sinfonia San Francisco and the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra.

RUFUS OLIVIER has held the principal bassoon position in the San Francisco Opera Orchestra since 1980.  At the age of eighteen Olivier was selected to perform a concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and later went on to play with that same orchestra.  In 1977 he won a position with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra under Neville Mariner, and the same month joined the San Francisco Symphony.  Olivier performs frequently as a soloist and as a member of the Midsummer Mozart Festival Orchestra and Sinfonia Concertante.  He teaches at Stanford University and is a founding member of the Stanford Woodwind Quintet.

The Stanford Woodwind Quintet unites five virtuoso performers in an energetic ensemble performing a full range of repertoire covering the 18th, 19th and 20th  centuries. The group is comprised of principal musicians from the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and the Opera San Jose Orchestra, each renowned for solo work and chamber music collaboration.

The Stanford Woodwind Quintet has received critical acclaim for its imaginative programming and innovative woodwind repertoire from the classics through the twentieth century.  Audiences delight in the enthusiasm emanating from these versatile players and from the warm rapport established by their informative commentary on performance pieces. Founded in 1987, the woodwind ensemble includes duos, trios, quartets and sextets (often adding piano, bass clarinet or saxophone) in their programming, creating a greater variety of sound and repertoire. All members are on the Music Department faculty at Stanford University and with their extensive teaching experience, bring a high level of expertise to their master classes, workshops, and clinics.  The Stanford Woodwind Quintet has recorded for the Naxos and Marco Polo labels.



“FLAWLESS PRESENTATION… overall performance was completely satisfying…  unusually gifted group of players.” 

 - San Francisco Classical Voice


“The other work of scope was Muczynski’s 1985 Woodwind Quintet, which has already won something of a foothold in the repertoire despite its relative newness. The playing of the various members of the Stanford Woodwind Quintet is consistently superb.”

Fanfare Magazine


"The evening spent with the Stanford Woodwind Quintet was a stimulating, exciting evening...consistently satisfying from beginning to end." 

The Carmel Pine Cone


"Performance levels were near perfection on all accounts. The Stanford Woodwind Quintet electrified the audience." 

San Mateo Times



- Arizona Daily Star