I began playing the oboe in sixth grade, after my teacher recommended I switch over from the saxophone. I didn't even know what an oboe was at first, but grew to love the instrument! Studying oboe throughout my three degrees has given me wonderful opportunities of meeting new people, traveling to different parts of the world, and performing with incredible musicians and colleagues.
As an oboist, I strive to explore the wide capabilities that are possible on the instrument. Although I covered repertoire standards during my undergraduate degree, I did not have much experience with new music. Studying at the University of Michigan allowed me to expand on my knowledge, including new music. It was always intimidating to approach new music, especially with pieces that incorporate advanced and extended techniques. I now enjoy the challenge of expressing musical ideas while demonstrating difficult techniques, like flutter tonguing and multiphonics.
Having strong cultural ties with my Japanese heritage, I recently performed a recital of works written by Japanese composers. Karura, written by Akira Nishimura, was one of the pieces performed. The work included a plethora of extended techniques, such as double trills, portamentos, microtones and multiphonics. It challenged me to push my limits of oboe playing and had a memorable experience learning the piece!
One of the intriguing qualities of the oboe is that not one person sounds the same, even on the same instrument! As a teacher, I embrace each student's unique qualities and expand on strengths while addressing opportunities for improvement. I feel it is important to help guide a student's journey, to ultimately become an independent thinker and musician.
Alex holds a doctoral degree in oboe performance from the University of Michigan, a master's degree also from U-M, and a bachelor's degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He has performed with orchestras including the Detroit Symphony, Ann Arbor Symphony, and the Las Vegas Philharmonic. Alex is also a regular member of the TAD Wind Symphony, which performs in Tokyo, Japan, twice a year. Primary teachers include Nancy Ambrose King and Stephen Caplan.