Saxophonist and composer Hitomi Oba was raised in Berkeley, California. Oba completed her MA at the University of California Los Angeles in Music Composition after receiving her BA in Ethnomusicology/Jazz Studies. Projects include her small jazz ensembles, 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.” Recent performances of her compositions include “Fifteenth,” premiered by soprano Tony Arnold and the Third Angle String Quartet, and “September Coming,” by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and the American Composers Orchestra. Upcoming projects include a commission for Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella series, in which Oba will participate as both a performer and composer.
Oba has written and arranged, while also playing, for 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. 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 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.