Eugene Izotov joined the San Francisco Symphony as Principal Oboe, holding the Edo de Waart Chair, in the 2015-16 season. He previously served as principal oboe of the Chicago Symphony, Metropolitan Opera, Kansas City Symphony, associate principal oboe of the San Francisco Symphony, and as guest principal oboe with the Boston Symphony and Los Angeles Philharmonic. Mr. Izotov is the first Russian-born musician in history to hold a principal wind position in any major American symphony orchestra. His numerous awards include top prizes at solo competitions in Saint Petersburg (1991), Moscow (1990), New York (1995), and at the Fernand Gillet International Competition (2001).
Mr. Izotov has appeared more than fifty times as soloist with the Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Pacific Music Festival Orchestra, and has collaborated with Bernard Haitink, James Levine, Nicholas McGegan, Edo de Waart, Ludovic Morlot, Ton Koopman, and Riccardo Muti, performing works by Mozart, Strauss, Marcello, Haydn, Martinů, Vivaldi, Carter, Hummel, Krommer, and Bach. He has recorded for Sony Classical, BMG, Boston Records, Elektra, and CSOResound, and was a featured soloist with the Chicago Symphony and John Williams on the Oscar-nominated recording for the film Lincoln. A prolific chamber musician, Mr. Izotov has performed regularly with the MET Chamber Ensemble, and with Yefim Bronfman, Pinchas Zukerman, Jamie Laredo, Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax, André Watts, and the Tokyo String Quartet.
One of today’s most active teachers, Mr. Izotov has served on the faculties of the Juilliard School, San Francisco Conservatory, DePaul University, and Pacific Music Festival. He regularly presents master classes at conservatories across the nation and abroad, such as Aspen, Oberlin, New World Symphony, Boston University, Manhattan School of Music, Vanderbilt, University of Michigan, Tanglewood, Verbier, Domaine Forget, and Interlochen, among others. He served as the oboe mentor for the 2011 YouTube Symphony Orchestra during its residency at the Sydney Opera House, which included a live internet simulcast to more than 30 million viewers worldwide.
Born in Moscow, Russia, Eugene Izotov studied at the Gnesin School of Music with Ivan Pushechnikov and Sergey Velikanov and at Boston University School of Fine Arts with Ralph Gomberg. For more information on Eugene Izotov, visit sfsymphony.org/eugeneizotov.
James Button was appointed Associate Principal Oboe of the San Francisco Symphony in September 2017. A native of Australia, he made his solo debut with the Melbourne Symphony at the age of seventeen. He later attended Temple University and the Juilliard School under the tutelage of Jonathan Blumenfeld and Eugene Izotov, respectively. Mr. Button was previously a member of the Nashville Symphony, Seoul Philharmonic, Santa Fe Opera Orchestra, New World Symphony, and guest principal oboe with the Chicago Symphony.
Oboe - Dr. William D. Clinite Chair
Member since 1988
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Began playing music:
I started piano when I was four. My parents had no musical background whatsoever but my older brother played clarinet. When he began as a bass clarinetist in the Atlanta Symphony—where he retired after 44 years—I decided I wanted to follow in his footsteps. I loved the flute but the band needed an oboe player, so at age seven I began oboe lessons.
On becoming a professional musician:
After I graduated high school, the Rotary Club International awarded me a grant to live and study a year abroad. I attended a small conservatory in Liège, Belgium. I came to San Francisco in 1973 to study with Marc Lifschey—then principal oboist with the SFS—at the San Francisco Conservatory. Since then I’ve been privileged in the opportunities to study with some of the greats, including John de Lancie of the Philadelphia Orchestra, John Mack of the Cleveland Orchestra, and Joe Robinson of the New York Philharmonic and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
On being in the Orchestra:
I love performing here with MTT: His obvious joy and enthusiasm for the music is infectious. Prior to coming here, I enjoyed positions with the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony, and the Honolulu Symphony.
My son Jack keeps me busy. I have a passion for gardening, I love skiing, and I am a voracious reader of historical novels, especially about the American South.
English horn, Joseph & Pauline Scafidi Chair
Russ deLuna joined the SFS as English horn player in 2007 and is occupant of the Joseph & Pauline Scafidi Chair. He was previously principal oboe of the Atlanta Opera Orchestra and the Columbus (Georgia) Symphony; he played English horn in the Atlanta Ballet and the Alabama Symphony. A graduate of Boston University, he has performed on the Noe Valley Chamber Music Series as well as with the Gold Coast Chamber Players. He is currently a coach for the SFS Youth Orchestra.
Davies Symphony Hall
201 Van Ness Ave
San Francisco, CA 94102
Mon - Fri: 10am - 6pm
Sun: 2 hours prior to concerts
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