Faculty & Staff Profiles

Nancy Ambrose King

Professor of Oboe and Wind & Percussion Instruments

Nancy Ambrose King, oboe, is the first-prize winner of the Third New York International Competition for Solo Oboists, held in 1995. She has appeared as soloist throughout the United States and abroad, including performances with the St. Petersburg (Russia) Philharmonic, the Prague Chamber Orchestra, the Janacek Philharmonic, the Tokyo Chamber Orchestra, the Puerto Rico Symphony, the Orchestra of the Swan in Birmingham (England), the Festival Internacionale de Musica Orchestra in Buenos Aires (Argentina), the New York String Orchestra, Amarillo Symphony, Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, and Sinfonia da Camera. She has performed as a recitalist in Weill Recital Hall and as a soloist at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall.  She has recorded nine CDs of works for the oboe on Boston Records, Cala Records, Equilibrium, Naxos, and Centaur Records. Her latest releases include a CD of 20th-century oboe concertos, Global Reflections, recorded with the Prague Chamber Orchestra and featuring the works of Strauss, Skalkottas, Sierra, and Foss, as well as the premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s Oboe Concerto with the University of Michigan Symphony Band. She can also be heard in performances on the Athena, Arabesque, and CBS Masterworks labels.

King was a finalist in the Fernand Gillet Oboe Competition held in Graz, Austria, and has been heard as soloist on WQXR radio in New York City and NPR’s Performance Today. She has taught and performed in the Sarasota Music Festival, Idyllwild Music Festival, Bowdoin Music Festival, Marrowstone Music Festival, Strings in the Mountains of Steamboat Springs, and the Hot Springs Music Festival. She has appeared as a recitalist throughout the world and was a member of the jury for the esteemed 2009 Barbirolli Oboe Competition. King recently released an ebook for Apple iTunes titled Making Oboe Reeds from Start to Finish with Nancy Ambrose King, as well as a Youtube video channel, “Trois Trios/Deux Duos” with colleagues Jeffrey Lyman, bassoon, and Martin Katz, piano.

Her playing has earned high praise from a variety of critics:

American Record Guide: “Marvelously evocative, full of character, sultry and seductive, with a soft-spoken, utterly supple tone, and as musically descriptive as any I have heard…a fine exhibition of thoroughly musical oboe playing”; “she plays not only with delicacy but also with an intense, almost rapturous sound that is second to none in expressivity and gradation. Delightful!”; “…a lovely player with a tone that surpasses that of most other American oboe soloists. It defines delicacy, yet is strangely assertive, like a soft-spoken woman who nonetheless speaks up strongly when her mind is made up.”

Fanfare: “Nancy Ambrose King is clearly a skilled musician of great promise, with a sterling technique”

The Double Reed: “…thoughtful, expressive, and perfectly controlled performance of consummate accuracy. It’s not that she makes it sound easy-she makes it sound perfect”; “Ms. King’s fluid technique, combined with clean and accurate articulations, makes the most complex passages flow and sounds effortless. Combine these aspects with a beautiful tone and a sensitive touch in the lyrical passages, all oboists have a new level to which to strive.”

Currently professor of oboe at the University of Michigan, King was previously associate professor and University Scholar at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and served as the first female president of the International Double Reed Society. She has also served on the music faculties of Indiana University, Ithaca College, University of Northern Colorado, and Duquesne University Schools of Music.

A graduate of the University of Michigan with a bachelor of music degree, studying with Arno Mariotti and Harry Sargous, King was the recipient of the school’s prestigious Stanley Medal and was honored with the 2010 Hall of Fame Award by the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance. She received her doctor of musical arts, master of music, and performer’s certificate from the Eastman School of Music, studying with Richard Killmer.


BM, University of Michigan
MM, DMA, performer’s certificate, Eastman School of Music

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