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Originally from San Antonio, TX, Dr. Jillian Kouzel serves as Assistant Professor of Oboe at Illinois State University. With an active freelance career, Jillian has performed professionally with the Ann Arbor Symphony, Illinois Symphony, Peoria 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 Illinois State University Wind Symphony in October 2023, performing Roger Zare's Oboe Concerto entitled Oceans of Undiscovered Truth. Additional solo appearances include the Heart of Texas Concert Band, performing Oscar Navarro’s Legacy Oboe Concerto in April, 2021 and with the Concordia University Wind Ensemble premiering Katherine Bergman’s Hidden Currents Oboe Concerto in April 2022.

As an 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 holds a Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) degree from the University of Michigan. Additionally, she 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. While at The University of Michigan, she was a Graduate Student Instructor and studied under the direction of Nancy Ambrose King. Jillian also 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 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, Sarasota Chamber Music Festival, Roundtop Festival Institute, Talis Festival and Academy in Saas-Fe, Switzerland, Yale School of Music Chamber Festival at Norfolk, and Eastern Music Festival. 

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. Jillian is an active ambassador and member of the Performing Arts in Medicine Association.  Likewise, she is an active member of the International Double Reed Society. In her free time, Jillian enjoys staying active through weightlifting, running, and traveling.

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