One-of-a-kind oboe belonging to BSO musician stolen

BSO musician Katherine Needleman with an oboe. A one-of-a-kind oboe was stolen from her in Montreal.

A one-of-a-kind oboe belonging to a musician with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra was reportedly stolen outside a Montreal hotel Tuesday morning. With the BSO season starting in less than a month, she's anxious to get it back.

"We all are very wedded to these instruments," said Katherine Needleman, principal oboist for the BSO. "It's very special to me. It's the only one like it."


Needleman said the oboe was a prototype, made by Yamaha while she was working with the company in developing a new model. It is most likely the only one of its kind, she said, and does not contain a serial number.

Needleman says she's had the oboe for about seven years. "I'm pretty much married to this one," she said.


She and her family were checking out of their Montreal hotel Tuesday morning when the oboe was stolen, she said. Whoever took it left behind the outer protective case but took the inner case as well as the instrument, she said.

Whoever took it "knew what they were looking for," Needleman said.

Needleman said she always keeps the oboe with her when she's traveling. Even when they were checking out of their hotel rooms, she kept the oboe with her, Needleman said, refusing to let the hotel staff move the oboe along with the rest of her luggage.

The oboe, which weighs a little over a pound, must have been stolen while luggage was being loaded into their car, Needleman theorized.

Curiously, an oboe belonging to a New York musician was reported stolen last month in Montreal. Ron Cohen Mann, who was in Montreal playing with the Orchestre de la Francophonie, said his oboe was stolen just three blocks from where Needleman's went missing.

Montreal police confirmed that a report of a stolen oboe, taken along with a computer and other items, was filed Tuesday morning. The total value of the items stolen was over $5,000. Police would not provide further details.

Needleman, who was spending Tuesday evening in Burlington, Vt., said she was hoping the would oboe somehow find its way back to her. While its uniqueness might make it valuable, she said, the fact that it doesn't have a serial number would make it hard to sell. "I don't think you could sell it for more than a couple hundred bucks, really," she said.

Needleman said she was offering a $1,000 reward for the return of her oboe. Anyone with information can contact the Montreal police at 514-393-1133.