Jeffrey Paul, principal oboist with the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, grew up in Southern California where he gained experience and expertise in various forms of performing arts. He was an aspiring concert pianist by the age of ten, and was awarded opportunities to perform piano concerti with the Conejo Youth Symphony and the Pepperdine University orchestra during his middle and high school years, under the tutelage of Edward Francis. His involvement as an actor/singer in community theater productions through his youth expanded his interests and since then he has become well- versed in composition, jazz/rock, improvisation, and ethnic folk musics. Jeff attended the Eastman School of Music (BM with performer’s certificate, 1999) and the University of Southern California (MM, 2003) for oboe performance. His primary teachers include Richard Killmer, David Weiss, and Allan Vogel. He has performed as an oboe soloist with the New West Symphony, Heidelberg Castle Festival Orchestra, Conejo Concerto Orchestra and the South Dakota Symphony, and has substituted with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and San Diego Symphony.
Jeff is the pianist for South Dakota jazz group: JAS Quintet, and frequently composes for them. Jeff also performs regularly on saxophone, and in addition to playing with various big bands, has made a solo appearance with the South Dakota Symphony playing John Williams' "Escapades." He can also be found playing Irish whistles and keyboards for Celtic band "Maggie in the Meantime."
Jeff, also a conductor, began his conducting career as the drum major of his elementary and junior high school marching bands, and has since renounced the mace and plumes in favor of the baton he uses to conduct the South Dakota Symphony’s Philharmonia youth orchestra. He has also conducted several pit orchestras for theatrical productions in the Sioux Falls area, and has appeared as a guest conductor for the South Dakota Symphony Chamber Orchestra and the Northwest Iowa Symphony Orchestra.
One of Jeff’s primary interests has been the traditional folk music of various cultures, and that fascination is usually transparent in his original music. Some highlights in this area have been to work closely with The Creekside Singers, Dakota Cedar Flute player Bryan Akipa, and to improvise alongside Lebanese oud player Simon Shaheen.
In composition, Jeff has received awards from the Young Composer’s Guild of the Music Teachers Association of California, resulting in several premiers of his chamber and orchestral music. In fact his first real conducting experience occurred during high school, when he assembled an orchestra and conducted his original work “Fanfare and Overture” for the association. Jeff has been fortunate to conduct the SDSO’s Dakota Chamber Orchestra in the premier of his orchestral suite “Mostly Slow Music.” He has also received composition commissions from various organizations, including the South Dakota Symphony and the Young Artists Ensemble theater group in California, and composes regularly for the Dakota Wind Quintet. A compositional premiere occurred in the Fall of 2011: a sacred mini-cantata for soprano, oboe, bass clarinet, and jazz rhythm section for Music Saint Croix in Stillwater, MN.
Jeff is honored to have collaborated with Native Lakota and Dakota musicians. The result of such collaborations was to compose two pieces of music for orchestra with Native musicians. One composition featured The Creekside Singers from Pine Ridge, SD, and the other was a concerto featuring Bryan Akipa, from Sisseton, on his self-made cedar flutes. Jeff was honored to be one of four recipients of the inaugural Ford Musician's Award from the League of American Orchestras in 2016 primarily for his work in this project.
No stranger to the recording studio, Jeff has recorded for various projects, including a Warner Bros. film scoring session, a hip-hop orchestra, jazz/rock/fusion bands, and a spattering of independent short films. However, many of his composition commissions were created and completed in his small home studio.
Jeff is also the proud father of three beautiful and talented children.