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, Prague Chamber Orchestra, Janacek Philharmonic, Tokyo Chamber Orchestra, Puerto Rico Symphony, Orchestra of the Swan in Birmingham, England, Festival Internacionale de Musica in Buenos Aires, New York String Orchestra, Amarillo Symphony, Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, and Sinfonia da Camera. She has performed as recitalist in Weill Recital Hall and as soloist at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. She has recorded eleven CDs of works for the oboe on the Boston, Cala, Equilibrium, Naxos and Centaur Record labels. Recent releases include “IllumiNation” featuring concertos by Scott McAllister, Michael Daugherty, and Alyssa Morris; the “Halle” Trio Sonatas of G.F. Handel; “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 performing on the Athena, Arabesque, and CBS Masterworks labels, as well as the Youtube channel, “Trois Trios/Deux Duos” with colleagues Jeffrey Lyman, bassoon and Martin Katz, piano. She was a finalist in the Fernand Gillet Oboe Competition held in Graz, Austria, and was a member of the jury for the esteemed 2009 Barbirolli and the 2016 Muri, Switzerland Oboe Competitions. She has appeared as a recitalist throughout the world, on WQXR radio in New York City and NPR’s “Performance Today”. Ms. King has written a highly successful e-book for Apple I-Tunes titled “Making Oboe Reeds from Start to Finish with Nancy Ambrose King.”
Her playing has earned high praise from a variety of critics, including the 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”, and 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, she was elected as the first female President of the International Double Reed Society. She is on the faculty of the Sarasota and Round Top Music Festivals, as well as the Michigan City Chamber Music Festivals during the summer. She was previously Associate Professor and University Scholar at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and has also served on the music faculties of Indiana University, Ithaca College, University of Northern Colorado, and Duquesne University Schools of Music, as well as the Ostrava (Czech Republic) Oboe Festival, Bowdoin, Sewanee, Marrowstone, Hot Springs Music Festivals, and Strings in the Mountains of Steamboat Springs.
Professor King received her Doctor of Musical Arts, Master of Music, and Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music, studying with Richard Killmer. A graduate of the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Music degree where she studied with Arno Mariotti and Harry Sargous, Ms. King was the recipient of the school’s prestigious Stanley Medal upon graduation, and was honored with the 2010 Hall of Fame Award and the 2018 Harold Haugh Teaching Award by the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance.
Bio last updated November 2022
BM, University of Michigan
MM, DMA, performer’s certificate, Eastman School of Music
Collision Etudes by Alyssa Morris
Danse (Sigillum Saturni) by Dirk-Michael Kirsch
Firecracker by Michael Daugherty