Saxophonist and composer Hitomi Oba was raised in Berkeley, California.

Hitomi completed her MA at the University of California Los Angeles in Music Composition after receiving her BA in Ethnomusicology/Jazz Studies. There she studied classical composition, jazz performance and composition, as well as world music genres including Bulgarian polyphonic singing, Japanese taiko drumming, and Balinese gamelan.

Her second jazz album, “Negai”, released under Japanese label M&I and distributor Pony Canyon, received the prestigious “Swing Journal 42nd Annual Jazz Disc Awards, New Star Award”, following her critically acclaimed first album, “First Flight”.

Projects include leading her own small ensembles, co-directing and writing for Jazz Nexus, her sixteen-piece jazz orchestra devoted to performing creative original music, releasing the album, “Periapsis”, by her progressive, electro-acoustic pop duo, Nova, and co-writing and producing the collaborative jazz opera, “STRANGE FELLOWE”.

Hitomi has written and arranged, while also playing, for various cross-genre ensembles, including the Los Angeles Asian American Jazz Festival, Kenny Burrell’s Los Angeles Jazz Orchestra Unlimited, the Jon Jangtet, and the Indian classical /jazz collaborative Aditya Prakash Ensemble.

Recent performances of her compositions include “Fifteenth,” premiered by soprano Tony Arnold and the string quartet of Third Angle Music in Portland, Oregon, and “September Coming,” by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, with an upcoming performance by the American Composers Orchestra in New York.

Hitomi is a co-founder of the new music collective, LA Signal Lab, premiering and recording stylistically diverse new music with a focus on integrating improvised and pre-composed music.

Hitomi is currently on faculty at UCLA, directing the Contemporary Jazz Ensemble, teaching jazz saxophone and a music theory course that incorporates Western classical, jazz, American popular music, and various world musical genres.


photo by Kei Kondo | all content © Hitomi Oba 2011