After studying at the Juilliard School of Music, Donald Oehler began his professional career as principal clarinettist of the Ochestre Philharmonique de Tehran in Iran before moving to the Music Faculty at the University of North Carolina, where he is now a professor. As a clarinettist, he has performed all over the world and conducted master classes on three continents. He has also drawn praise for his activities as a conductor and as a teacher; his former students can be found in many major performing and teaching roles.
Don was one of the first American clarinettists to become active on period instruments, including the basset clarinet. He also has an impressive record in the performance of new music and has given the premieres of works by John Adams, Peter Lieuwen, Peter Maxwell Davies, and many other composers.
In the past Don has been director of winds for Musicfest and artistic director of the Corso Internazionale di Music da Camera Toscana and has held many similar positions. He is recognised as an expert in music for clarinet and string quartet and has published a scholarly catalogue of works for that ensemble.