Backstage Pass: Jonathan Fischer, oboe

Backstage Pass: Jonathan Fischer, oboe

Jonathan Fischer joined the Houston Symphony as Principal Oboe in September 2012, and joined the faculty of the University of Houston in September 2014. Previously, he served as associate principal oboe with the San Francisco Symphony for nine seasons. He has also held positions with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Lyric Opera of Chicago and several other orchestras and opera companies. Jonathan has performed as a guest principal with many of the nation’s leading orchestras, including the Boston and Chicago Symphony Orchestras, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and others. He has also performed as a soloist with the Houston Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony and other orchestras.

Jonathan Fischer teaches at the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music and the Texas Music Festival. He has taught and performed at the Aspen Music Festival and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music; given masterclasses at the Toronto Royal Conservatory of Music, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Rice University and the University of Michigan; and coached for the New World Symphony. He studied with Richard Woodhams at the Curtis Institute of Music.

A native of South Carolina, Jonathan enjoys living in the Houston Heights with his two dogs, a Greyhound and a Louisiana Catahoula mix.

jonathan-fischerAre you particularly excited about a concert this season?

I’m looking forward to playing Escales by Jacques Ibert in February. Ibert was inspired to compose Escales (Ports of Call) after his tour of duty with the French Navy during World War I. The second movement depicts Tunis and features the oboe. The oboe’s colorful “snake charmer”  melody evokes the exotic sights and sounds of beautiful North Africa. It’s as much fun to play as it is to listen to!

What inspired you to become a musician?

When I was very young, my parents took me to my oldest brother’s violin recital. An oboist played with him on one of the pieces, and I was completely mesmerized by the sound. I never told anybody. Several years later when my fifth grade band director asked me what instrument I wanted to play, I blurted out “oboe!” before she could finish the question. As you can imagine, she was surprised, but very happy! I grew up in a small town in eastern North Carolina, and she had never had a student request the oboe before. Then she surprised me by telling
me she played the oboe and had one I could borrow! I played my first notes in her living room.

Jonathan hangs out with a llama on lunch break while coaching the students of the Colombian Youth Philharmonic.

What would you be if you weren’t a professional musician?

Flight attendant! Free travel anywhere, anytime!

What are you up to when not performing?

Like all oboists, I spend a lot of time making oboe reeds…that’s a whole other interview! I’m a voracious reader, and I enjoy spending time with my dogs. I love to travel, and I try to take a few exciting trips each year.

Jonathan Fischer is sponsored by Nancy & Robert Peiser.

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