erika oba

Gerald Fischer Fellow


“One of my professional goals is to use whatever opportunities I have to support and create spaces for other people of color, women, and trans and queer people. As a queer Asian American woman, I am almost always a minority in any given space that I am in. This has particularly been a struggle in many new music performance environments, but I have been fortunate to find a number of colleagues working toward similar goals… As a composer/improviser with a background primarily in jazz, I have combined my various influences, including western classical music, jazz, and Japanese folk music practices (taiko and Okinawa sanshin music in particular) to write highly collaborative music… I have found that when I am put on the spot to communicate with artists who don’t necessarily share my vocabulary, I am forced to refine my goals and intentions and come up with creative and clear ways to communicate my ideas.”

— Erika Oba


Erika Oba is a composer, pianist/flutist, and educator based in the SF Bay Area. As a composer she has written works for big band, small jazz ensembles, chamber groups, dance and theater. As a performer she is a member of the Montclair Women’s Big Band, Ends Meat’ Catastrophe Jazz Ensemble, electro-jazz duo Rice Kings, and The Sl(e)ight Ensemble. She is currently on faculty with the Jazzschool Community Music School’s youth program, as well as their annual Women’s Jazz and Blues camp and Girls’ Jazz and Blues camp. She has worked as a dance accompanist for Mills College and Berkeley Ballet Theater, and as a music director for Berkeley Playhouse’s youth program. As an artist, she is interested in exploring ritual, diasporic identities, and community through performance. She received her BM in Jazz Piano Performance from Oberlin Conservatory and her MA in Music Composition from Mills College.