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

Hitomi completed her MA at the University of California at Los Angeles in Music Composition after receiving her BA in Ethnomusicology/Jazz Studies from UCLA two years prior. 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”.

Recent projects of Hitomi’s include leading her own small ensemble, 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”.

In addition to writing for her own ensembles, Hitomi has been commissioned to write and arrange, while also playing, for a variety of jazz and genre-diverse ensembles including a nonet for the Asian American Jazz Festival in Los Angeles with guest members from the award-winning Taiko Project, Kenny Burrell’s Los Angeles Jazz Orchestra Unlimited, and the Indian classical and jazz collaborative Aditya Prakash Ensemble, most notably for the Carnatic/jazz fusion and theatrical dance production, “Mara”, at the Ford Theater in Los Angeles. 

Hitomi is also a part of the new music collective, LA Signal Lab, presenting concerts with fellow composer-performers with backgrounds in both the jazz and classical fields. 

Hitomi currently teaches a music theory course at UCLA integrating Western classical theory, jazz, American popular musical genres, and other "world" musical genres.


photo by Kei Kondo | all content © Hitomi Oba 2011