NASHVILLE, TN — Classical musician Titus Underwood was recently awarded the coveted position of Principal Oboe or the Nashville Symphony. After national auditions and serving in the interim position since 2017, Mr. Underwood officially has the position. “I am so honored to have been selected. The Nashville Symphony is such an exciting group of musicians to work with,” says Titus about his latest accomplishment.
The Nashville Symphony’s Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero said. “I am immensely thrilled to welcome Titus as an official member of the Nashville Symphony. For the past two years, he has contributed significantly in his role as Acting Principal Oboe, performing numerous concerts, participating in recording and commissioning projects, and serving as a valued teacher and mentor in our education programs. With his tremendous sensitivity and skill as a musician, he will play an essential role in the evolution of this orchestra as we continue to pursue our dual commitments to artistic excellence and community service.”
The Pensacola, FL native has extensive experience and training in classical music.
Previous to performing with the Nashville Symphony, Underwood served as Acting Associate Principal of the Utah Symphony. He received his Master of Music from The Juilliard School, where he studied with Elaine Douvas. He earned his Bachelor of Music at the Cleveland Institute of Music as a pupil of John Mack, legendary principal oboist of The Cleveland Orchestra.
Underwood has performed as Guest Associate Principal of Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Miami Symphony Orchestra, and Florida Orchestra. He has also played with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Atlanta Symphony, Puerto Rico Symphony, and San Diego Symphony. He was an Oboe Fellow at Aspen Music Festival and has performed at the Grand Tetons Festival. He will serve as Principal Oboe at the Bellingham Music Festival (Bellingham, WA) later this summer.
The Oboe may not be the most popular or most well-known, but for Titus, it’s been the instrument of choice for him since he was a child. “I’ve always played Oboe,” recalls Titus with a laugh. “I am the youngest of six children, and the music was always in our house. All of us kids played music. My oldest sister, who played the violin, is the one who first suggested the Oboe to me. I was about in the sixth grade then, and I’m happily still playing the beautiful instrument.”
Titus’ musical talents with the Oboe has extended beyond symphony music. He’s also performed on music video games and movie scores. “The Oboe can fit in just about any style of music. I’ve seen jazz Oboe players. I’ve seen it played in R&B music. So, it can go along with any genre just like any other instrument, but primarily it’s written for orchestral music,” he adds.
When Titus isn’t creating, studying and performing some of the greatest classical repertoires in the world, his own personal collection of music is quite varied. He says, for example, the playlist of music in his car ranges from gospel, hip hop, R&B and even slam poetry and spoken word. One of his favorite artists is alternative hip hop recording star, Earl Sweatshirt. “I’m also a long-time fan of The Roots, NAS, Kendrick Lamar, and Jay Z. The very first concert I ever attended was The Roots. Such a great show” shares Titus.
Later this summer Titus will be performing in England and throughout Europe with the London-based CHINEKE! Orchestra. He’s performed with them previously and says it was an awesome experience. Other upcoming work from him will include a solo project that will feature classical music pieces blended with other genres of music. But in the meantime, Titus invites everyone to come out to enjoy some of the beautiful upcoming concerts from the Grammy Award-winning Nashville Symphony Orchestra.
For schedules and upcoming concerts visit: www.nashvillesymphony.org