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WRTI is proud to highlight the accomplishments of young artists in our local communities. You can donate now to champion and support WRTI's education initiatives! Learn more about what inspires and motivates these musicians through the interviews in this series.

WRTI Young Artist Spotlight: Oboist Liliana Ortiz

Oboist Liliana Ortiz
Joseph V. Labolito
Oboist Liliana Ortiz

Liliana Ortiz is a 16-year-old oboe player from Egg Harbor Township, NJ. She began playing the oboe at age 12, and is currently a junior at Egg Harbor Township High School. She has been a member of the Philadelphia Music Alliance (PMAY) for Youth Artists' Initiative since 2022. She is a part of Settlement Music School's Weinstein Advanced Studies Woodwind Quintet and the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra.

10 Questions with Liliana Ortiz:

1. What do you like to listen to outside classical music?

Outside of classical music, I like listening to a lot of R&B and rock.

2. What was one thing that surprised you when you first started playing in an orchestra?

What first surprised me about the oboe when I started was how much the reed quality could impact how easy the playing is. When you have a bad reed it makes oboe the hardest thing in the world.

3. How would you describe the role of the oboe in an orchestra?

One of the “main” jobs of the oboe is to tune the orchestra. The oboist has to (be) spot-on with intonation as it is the instrument everyone should be able to listen and tune into while playing.

4. What’s your favorite thing about Philadelphia?

I really love how close together everything is in Philly. It’s a really walkable city, and I have the best time just taking a nice stroll through the city and checking out the stores in the area.

5. What would you be doing if you weren’t involved with music?

If I wasn’t involved in music, I would most likely be going into medicine. I had a fascination with the medical field when I was younger and I think it would be really cool if that’s what I pursued.

6. What or who do you consider to be your musical community?

I consider my school’s performing arts center and the Philadelphia Music Alliance for Youth. I’ve met so many amazing friends and peers through these organizations and they’ve made music even more enjoyable.

Oboist Liliana Ortiz
Joseph V. Labolito
Oboist Liliana Ortiz

7. What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks.

8. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In five years I see myself going to graduate school, furthering my degree in oboe performance.

9. What advice would you give your nine-year-old self?

If I were to give advice to my nine-year-old self, it would be to further explore music. At nine, I was just starting the piano, and I didn’t have any idea what the oboe was. I would encourage her to continue being inquisitive and never allow someone to tell her she shouldn’t explore new instruments that she finds interesting.

10. Do you have any tips for people just getting started on an instrument?

The advice I have for people just starting on any instrument is to not give up. You won’t sound amazing the first time you play, but if you enjoy music, keep practicing. Accepting that you’re not a perfect person will allow you to keep the love and passion you have for the instrument alive. A lot of people quit because they believe that they’re not good enough, but everyone can be good enough if you truly love it and you put work in.

Liliana's Recommended Playlist:

Lydia Veilleux has worked in music education and arts administration for the past 20 years, and has taught students of all ages in various community settings. As WRTI's Education & Outreach Manager, she oversees educational partnerships, sponsorships, events, and coverage.