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Sheltering at Home with… Sarah Skuster, Principal Oboe for the San Diego Symphony

This musician stays inspired with good literature, digital concerts, and homecooked meals


Ocean Beach



Principal oboe, San Diego Symphony


Who you’re sheltering with:

My husband, Eric Starr, and our two cats, Miney and Mo


What you’re doing for exercise:

Running on the beach, and now that the water is just barely warm enough, swimming and body surfing too!


Go-to meal:

My husband is an excellent cook, so anything he makes, I’m happy to eat! We just received a bounty of homegrown tomatoes from our friend Andrea Overturf [English hornist in the San Diego Symphony], so we’re eating lots of caprese, and panzanella salads. For local takeout, our go-to is Indian food from Sundara; or the pear, gorgonzola, and arugula pizza from Leucadia Pizzeria.


New show you’ve discovered:

We’ve been doing a lot of reading and listening to music, rather than watching TV or movies. We’ve enjoyed watching the Berlin Philharmonic on Digital Concert Hall throughout this time, and the New York City Ballet performances in May.


Rituals to stay sane:

Always having good reading material on hand and a musical project in the works! Some of my favorite books that I’ve read (or reread) during this time are The Dutch House by Ann Patchett, Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver, The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel, Rodham and Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld, and My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout. Since the San Diego Symphony is not giving concerts at the moment, I’ve used the extra time to learn more solo repertoire for the oboe, and painstakingly record some of it to post on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.


What you’ve come to appreciate:

I deeply appreciate my husband, Eric, for his kindness, patience, resourcefulness, and positive, proactive outlook! I also am very grateful to my parents for exposing me to books, music, and art early in my life, as these are exactly the things that I look to for solace and inspiration, especially during times of stress and uncertainty.


Your daily uniform at home:

Jeans, a blouse or T-shirt, earrings. Getting dressed adds structure to the day—I try to save the athleisure wear for exercising only!


What your workspace looks like:

My workspace is my studio, which currently has piles of music (both my own projects, and music that my students are learning) on the floor, and a few bookshelves full of books and scores. I mostly sit at my reed desk (which is an old-fashioned rolltop desk) for reed making or virtual teaching, and keep my music stand nearby for practicing. When I lie on the floor to stretch, my cat Mo comes in to flop on my head and eat my hair!


What you can’t wait to do when it’s safe for everything to reopen:

Play a concert with my friends and colleagues in the San Diego Symphony, of course!

Sheltering at Home / Sarah Skuster

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