Originally trained as a linguist, oboist Fiona Last aims to explore as many musical languages as possible. From playing 16th-century polyphony on the shawm to performing Stravinsky with John Adams, she 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 coming season brings concerts with the Gabrieli Consort & Players, The City Musick, Piffaro: The Renaissance Band, Tempesta di Mare, Apollo's Fire, Tesserae, and Chatham Baroque, and includes performances in London, Versailles, Gdansk, Dresden, Leipzig, and across the US. Fiona has also performed with The Handel + Haydn Society, Opera Philadelphia, New York Baroque Incorporated, Musica Angelica, the Carmel Bach Festival, The Orchestra Now, Sonnambula, and at Les Jardins du William Christie in Thiré, France. In 2018 she was a fellow with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
Fiona can be heard on the Grammy-nominated "Telemann: The Concerti-en-Suite" with Tempesta di Mare for Chandos, and the first studio recording of Reena Esmail’s “Gul-e-Dodi” for English horn and mezzo-soprano; she is also on the premiere recording of Esmail‘s "This Love Between Us” with David Hill and the Yale Schola Cantorum, and 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, and 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 Master’s degrees in Historical Performance from The Juilliard School and in Oboe Performance from Yale School of Music. She received her BM from Temple University in Philadelphia, and also has 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. She was born and raised in England.