Katharina Arfken, who grew up in northern Germany, has specialised in the playing of historical oboe instruments. Her main interest is in the oboe of the 18th century. After training as an instrument maker, she studied Baroque and classical oboe at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis under Michel Piguet and at the Königlichen Konservatorium Den Haag under Ku Ebbinge. She is an oboe soloist and member of the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra. She has given concerts throughout Europe, in China, Japan, Australia and the USA with this and other ensembles, such as the English Baroque Soloists under J. E. Gardiner, Concerto Cologne and the Berlin Academy for Early Music.
The Dahbringhaus und Grimm label made a first recording of the oboe concerto by Franz Xaver Richter with K. Arfken as soloist with the Ensemble Alta Ripa, Hanover. She has recorded the oboe concerto by W. A. Mozart with the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra for harmonia mundi France.
K. Arfken is Professor of Baroque and Classical Oboe at the Music Academy in Basel (Schola Cantorum Basiliensis). She also regularly teaches historical oboe instruments in courses in Germany, Holland and England. She lives with her family in Rheinfelden, near Basel in Switzerland.