Grace B. Dayton Chair
John Snow joined the Minnesota Orchestra in 1999 in the role of second oboe, was appointed to the Associate Principal position in 2004 and became Principal Oboe in 2017. He previously held the position of Principal Oboe with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. He has performed as guest principal for the major symphony orchestras of Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Detroit and Washington, D.C., as well as for the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Santa Fe Opera and Seattle Opera, the latter for their production of Wagner’s complete Ring cycle. He was also a member of the oboe sections in the National Symphony of Costa Rica, Detroit Symphony and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (New York). Snow has won two McKnight Fellowships for Performing Musicians, one each in 2005 and 2011. In 2008 he was featured with three Orchestra colleagues in performances of Mozart’s Sinfonia concertante under the direction of Sarah Hicks. He performed another Mozart work, the Oboe Concerto, in January 2011 concerts led by Music Director Osmo Vänskä. Most recently, in October 2015, he was featured in Minnesota Orchestra concerts performing Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2.
An active chamber musician, Snow is a member of the Musical Offering and performs frequently on the Minnesota Orchestra Chamber Music series. He performs regularly with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, with which he has toured Japan and Europe and recorded for the Deutsche Grammophon label. Snow is co-founder of the Detroit Chamber Winds, the New Zealand Soloists and the Talisman Trio, an ensemble specializing in music for oboe, bassoon and piano. He has appeared at the Norfolk Festival, Sarasota Music Festival, Victoria Bach Festival, Classicfest, Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, New Zealand International Festival of the Arts, Bach Dancing and Dynamite Festival, Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival and Oregon Bach Festival. In 1998 he made his debut with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
Snow is a passionate advocate of new music, and has commissioned and premiered several works. Most recent of these was Laura Kaminsky’s new Oboe Concerto, commissioned by the International Double Reed Society and premiered by Snow at the Society’s invitation at the IDRS’ annual conference in New York in August 2014. Earlier he collaborated with composer Dan Welcher to create a chamber work for oboe and bassoon which he premiered at the 1997 International Double Reed Society convention in Chicago. Welcher also wrote his 1999 oboe concerto, Venti del Mar, for Snow, who premiered it with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.
Snow received a master’s degree in music from the Yale School of Music, where he studied with Ronald Roseman. He has adjudicated and presented master classes at universities and music schools around the U.S. and in New Zealand. Snow has served on the faculties of the State University of New York at Geneseo, Ithaca College, St. Olaf College and Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, and was a visiting professor of oboe at the Eastman School of Music. Before moving to Minneapolis, Snow was professor of oboe at the University of Texas in Austin. He joined the faculty of the School of Music at the University of Minnesota in the fall of 2000.
Snow is a Buffet Crampon artist and plays exclusively on a Buffet Green Line oboe.