Praised for her "poignant, pliant sound" (New York Classical Review), Gaia Saetermoe-Howard believes in creating performances with both emotional and historical significance on modern, Baroque, and Classical oboes and recorders. She is the Principal Oboist of Tempesta di Mare, the Philadelphia Baroque Orchestra, and also appears as a member of Twelfth Night Ensemble and La Grande Bande. In her premiere season, she appeared with numerous leading ensembles in North America such as the Handel and Haydn Society, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Les Delices, and The Sebastians.
She is passionate about sharing and studying global perspectives on historical music through innovative concert programs for oboes and recorders. Her recent solo project, Folk Dialogues, focuses on Baroque music from around the world that draws from folk traditions as compositional inspiration.
As a young performer, she appeared with the Syracuse Symphoria and California Philharmonic orchestras. She began touring in Spring 2016, as an emerging artist, when she performed as a soloist and chamber artist throughout Southeast China and Hong Kong. Since then, she has performed at the Festival de Missiones de Chiquitos in Bolivia and the Piccola Academia in Italy, and toured throughout Germany in early Summer 2022.
Passionate about music access and inclusion, Gaia loves sharing the joys of music with her students in her private oboe and recorder studio. She recently served as Oboe Fellow for the Music Advancement Program at the Juilliard School, and was also a Morse Fellow working as a Theory and Composition mentor for the Opportunity Music Project. Since 2017, she has been the Oboe Coach at the Wildwood Institute of Music in Angelus Oaks, California. She fondly remembers her early teaching experiences as an orchestra mentor for the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles and the Olympia Youth Orchestra.
As an avid scholar, she focuses her research on the relationship of Baroque music worldwide to colonialism, and the modern impact of this music’s wide reach during the 17th and 18th centuries. Her recent projects during her MM have focused on the music at the Elmina Castle in Ghana, where she participated in archaeological excavations, and the life of the early Baroque female composer Barbara Strozzi. For her archaeology thesis analyzing colonial appropriation and primitive accumulation in the Portuguese early modern empire, she was awarded the O’Connor Graduate Writing Fellowship. She is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda and Phi Beta Kappa.
She is a graduate of the Historical Performance Program MM Program at the Juilliard School, and also attended the Eastman School of Music and the University of Rochester, where she studied Archaeology, Technology, and Historical Structures. As a student, she performed and recorded regularly as a member of Juilliard415, the school's elite internationally touring baroque ensemble. There, she performed the Bach Double Concerto for Oboe and Violin under the baton of Masaaki Susuki, and appeared with several other noted conductors and performers including Richard Egarr, Pablo Heras Casado, Aislinn Nosky, and Ruben Valenzuela. At Eastman, Gaia performed two concertos, and programmed a recital, titled “Music of Marginalization and Liberation,” which bridged her studies of history, and more specifically the development of colonialism, with musical performance. She continued her advocacy by co-founding the organization Beyond Consent, which empowers the voices of survivors of sexual misconduct at Eastman through activism and engagement.
She also has participated in the Juilliard at Piccola Accademia summer festival in Tuscany, Italy, as well as American Bach Soloists Academy in San Francisco, California. This Summer 2022, she was the Marville Young Artist Fellow at Blue Hill Bach in Maine, where she served as festival librarian and performed Boismortier's Acteon Cantata as well as the famous Bach aria, Mein glaubiges herze.