Saxophonist and composer Hitomi Oba was raised in Berkeley, California. Hailed as a “…remarkably versatile L.A. musician with a penchant for crossing all over the musical place” and “powerfully inventive” by the LA Times, Oba has written and arranged, while also playing, for jazz contexts including the Los Angeles Asian American Jazz Festival, Kenny Burrell’s Los Angeles Jazz Orchestra Unlimited, and the Jon Jangtet, as well as for classical new music settings.
Recent premieres of her compositions include “Fifteenth,” by soprano Tony Arnold and the Third Angle String Quartet, “September Coming,” by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the American Composers Orchestra, and “Aina,” commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella series, for which Oba participated as both a performer and composer.
Her musical interests lie in the exploration of crossing genres and musical practices. Projects include her small jazz ensembles of mixed instrumentations, sixteen-piece jazz orchestra, Jazz Nexus, electro-acoustic pop duo, Nova, and jazz opera, “STRANGE FELLOWE.” Her second jazz album, “Negai,” released under Japanese label M&I and distributor Pony Canyon, received a prestigious “Swing Journal 42nd Annual Jazz Disc Award.”
Oba is one of the co-founders 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.
Oba currently teaches at the University of California, Los Angeles, Cal State Los Angeles and Pasadena City College, directing a Contemporary Jazz Ensemble, giving jazz saxophone lessons, and developing and teaching a multi-genre music theory course.
M.A., Music Composition UCLA; B.A., Ethnomusicology/Jazz Studies,