Jeffrey Paul, principal oboist with the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, grew up primarily in Southern California. 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 included 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.
Jeff is the pianist for South Dakota jazz group: JAS Quintet, and frequently composes for them. Jeff 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 South Dakota Music Teachers Association, and the Music Teachers Association of California, resulting in several premieres of his chamber and orchestral music. In fact his conducting debut occurred during high school, when he assembled an orchestra and conducted his original work “Fanfare and Overture” for the MTAC. Jeff has been fortunate to conduct the SDSO’s Dakota Chamber Orchestra in the premiere of his orchestral suite “Mostly Slow Music.” He has also received composition commissions from the John T. Vucurevich Foundation, the Sisseton Arts Council, the South Dakota Symphony, and the Young Artists Ensemble theater group in California. Jeff composes regularly for the Dakota Wind Quintet. A recent compositional premiere of his orchestral tone poem “Mni Wiconi” occurred in October 2018, with the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, featuring Brazilian pianist Alessandra Feris.
Jeff is honored to have collaborated with Native Lakota and Dakota musicians. The results of such collaborations were to compose several pieces of music for orchestra and/or wind quintet with Native musicians, and to teach at the SDSO Lakota Composition Academies. One composition featured The Creekside Singers from Pine Ridge, SD, and another 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, vocalist Jami Lynn, and a spattering of independent short films.
Jeff is also the proud father of three beautiful and talented children.