From Renaissance polyphony to 21st-century compositions, oboist Fiona Last is always seeking out new instruments to play and new musical idioms through which to express herself. Her interest in early instruments stems from the belief that we all seek to mine the most potential possible from the music that we play, and that understanding a musical style through the instrument for which it was written and vice-versa can bring a special kind of life to music-making.
This current season brings a European tour of Berlioz’s “Les Troyens” with John Eliot Gardiner and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique and UK tours with both the Gabrieli Consort & Players and the English Touring Opera, as well as the modern premiere of Riccardo Broschi's "Idaspe" with Chatham Baroque, and concerts with The Academy of Ancient Music, Piffaro: The Renaissance Band, The City Musick, The Hanover Band, and Choral Arts Philadelphia. Fiona has also performed with The Handel + Haydn Society, Opera Philadelphia, Tempesta di Mare, Washington National Cathedral, Staunton Music Festival, Carmel Bach Festival, and at Les Jardins du William Christie in Thiré, France. In 2018 she was a participant in The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s “Experience” scheme.
Fiona can be heard on "Telemann: The Concerti-en-Suite" with Tempesta di Mare for Chandos, and as principal oboe on the premiere recording of Reena Esmail‘s "This Love Between Us” with David Hill and the Yale Schola Cantorum for Hyperion Records, in addition to three Grammy-nominated recordings of the music of Dave and Chris Brubeck and Bill Cunliffe on Temple University’s BCM&D record label.
She has given oboe masterclasses at the University of Madison, Wisconsin, The University of North Colorado, Greeley, and at King Edward VI School in Southampton, England, and was a teaching fellow for a partnership between the S’Cool Sounds program and the Washington Heights Choir School, where she taught recorder. She has also taught oboe at the undergraduate level at Yale University, and maintains a private studio.
Fiona has a Master’s degree in Historical Performance from The Juilliard School. She also received MM and BM degrees in Oboe Performance from the Yale School of Music and Temple University respectively, and a BA in Arabic & Ethnomusicology from The School of Oriental and African Studies in London, during which time she spent a year in Syria studying at the University of Damascus.