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Originally from San Antonio, TX, Jillian Kouzel serves as Instructional Assistant Professor of Oboe at Illinois State University. Additionally, she holds a position as 3rd Oboe/English Horn with the Lima Symphony Orchestra in Lima, Ohio. With an active freelance career, Jillian has performed professionally with the Ann Arbor Symphony, Jackson Symphony, Lansing Symphony, Heartland Festival Orchestra, Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra, and Ballet Theatre of Toledo just to name a few. She has also appeared as a soloist with the Heart of Texas Concert Band, performing Oscar Navarro’s Legacy Oboe Concerto in April, 2021 and with the Concordia University Wind Ensemble primering Katherine Bergman’s Hidden Currents Oboe Concerto in April 2022.


Jillian won the principal oboe position with the prestigious New York String Orchestra Seminar in both December 2018 and 2019. She has performed four sold-out concerts at Carnegie Hall, one of which included playing the famous oboe solo in Brahms Violin Concerto accompanied by renowned violinist Joshua Bell, under the direction of Jaime Laredo. Additionally, Jillian has auditioned and participated in numerous summer music festivals including: The National Repertory Orchestra (2020/2021), Sarasota Chamber Music Festival (2019), Roundtop Festival Institute (2018), Talis Festival and Academy in Saas-Fe, Switzerland (2018), Yale School of Music Chamber Festival at Norfolk (2017), and Eastern Music Festival (2016). 

As Instructional Assistant Professor of Oboe at Illinois State University, Jillian teaches applied oboe lessons to a growing studio of undergraduate and graduate music majors. Additionally, she teaches a double reed methods course and coaches chamber music to students. Previously, Jillian served as Adjunct Professor of Oboe and Woodwind Methods at Saginaw Valley State University and Interim Professor of oboe at Bowling Green State University and Heidelberg University. She is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) degree from the University of Michigan and will graduate in April 2023. Jillian completed a double Master’s degree in both Music Performance and Chamber Music in the spring of 2020 at the University of Michigan, where she was a recipient of the coveted Earl V. Moore Award for outstanding achievement in the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance, along with Highest Honors Distinction. She is a Graduate Student Instructor and studies under the direction of Nancy Ambrose King. Additionally, she holds a Bachelor’s degree in Oboe Performance from the University of Texas at Austin Butler School of Music. While at UT, Jillian studied under Rebecca Henderson and Andrew Parker.

Jillian’s passion for music is ignited through teaching and performing. Furthermore, as a former pre-med student, she has always had an interest in the health field. In 2017, she professionally recorded biomedical music for patients with extreme neurological conditions including Parkinson's Disease, Cerebral Palsy, etc. as part of the Movement Tracks Project with the Austin-based Center for Music Therapy. In her free time, Jillian enjoys staying active through weightlifting or going for long walks outside and traveling.

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