While still a student at Northwestern University, Michael Henoch was appointed assistant principal oboe of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1972 by then music director Georg Solti. That appointment made him one of the youngest members in the CSO history to hold a titled chair.

At Northwestern, he studied with Ray Still, former principal oboe of the CSO. He also studied with Gladys Elliot in Chicago and with Rhadames Angelucci at the National Music Camp in Interlochen, Mich. During his undergraduate education, Henoch served as a regular member of the Lyric Opera of Chicago Orchestra for three years.

Why did you choose your instrument?

I wanted to play the clarinet because my cousin did, but in school, they handed me an oboe and said this is for you.

What piece programmed for the 2013/14 season do you hope more people will come to appreciate, and why?

William Walton’s Symphony No. 1 [which the CSO played in October]. I had never heard it before. It was very challenging to play and impressed me very much.

Offstage, I like to:

Read (especially historical biographies), spend time with friends and family, and play golf.

With which other musician would you most want to play a duet, and why?

Mozart, but I understand he doesn’t play much anymore. He is my favorite composer.

Describe an unforgettable musical moment (as a performer or as a listener) you had as a young musician.

I played in Mahler’s Eighth Symphony with Sir Georg Solti conducting in 1971 at the Civic Opera House about a year before I joined the CSO. It was a magnificent event.

Favorite book or movie: 

An Unfinished Life (JFK biography) by Robert Dallek.


HOMETOWN: Clinton, Iowa.

EDUCATION: Northwestern University.