Mayu Isom remains a passionate musician since she dedicated her life to the oboe at age 12.
She competed in a number of solo competitions winning numerous awards. She thrived in a variety of scholarship competitions sponsored by the Young Musicians Foundation located in Los Angeles, and was awarded the Swerdlow Family Music Scholarship, the ASCAP Livingston & Edwards Scholarship, and the ASCAP Lieber & Stoller Scholarship, where she was presented with her award at the Jazz Lincoln Center in New York City.
Isom had studied with Ted Sugata, member of the Pacific Symphony, for five years while living in Santa Monica. After high school, she was admitted to Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, under the tutelage of Linda Strommen, where she was awarded the prestigious Barbara and David Jacobs Scholarship. While attending there, she performed as principal oboist in its top orchestras as well as being the principal in a number of operas and ballets. Isom also performed with some of IU’s notable faculty, such as Andre Watts, Edward Cohen, Kathleen McLean, Howard Klug, and others. On several occasions, she was able to work side by side with the Cleveland Orchestra, including with their principal oboist, Frank Rosenwein. In 2015, she performed as principal oboist with the Philharmonic Orchestra in the premiere recording of David Diamond’s Sixth Symphony through Naxos. Earlier that year, she was selected as the winner of the Oboe Department Concerto Competition.
Isom earned her Master's of Music at Rice University, the Shepherd School of Music, studying under Robert Atherholt. There, she was able to work with incredible faculty members, including Benjamin Kamins, Leone Buyse, Maestro Larry Rachleff, and more. She was featured in the Sharing the Spotlight concert series, where she performed with the acclaimed pianist, Jon Kimura Parker.
She recently resided in Boston, where she studied extensively with John Ferrillo and Anne Marie Gabriele at Boston University. While in Boston, Ms. Isom was named the winner of the 2019 Ralph Gomberg Merit Award Competition through the Boston Woodwind Society. Isom also had the good fortune to perform in the historic Boston Symphony Hall under the baton of the late Maestro Bramwell Tovey.
In past years Isom has performed in a variety of summer festivals. Isom was invited to be a fellow for the Music Academy of the West, set in Santa Barbara, CA, where she was named the recipient of the Marcia Weiss Scholarship, in memory of the late David Weiss. While there, she was able to perform with the London Symphony during their residency. She was also invited to be a member of the Spoleto Festival USA, set in Charleston, South Carolina, for multiple summers. In 2017 she performed in the National Repertory Orchestra with the great Maestro Carl Topilow in Breckenridge, Colorado. She also attended the National Orchestral Institute where in 2015, she was a part of their first live recording by Naxos, recording works from Aaron Copland, John Corigliano, and Michael Torke. She has also been to the Blackburn Music Academy in Napa Valley, the Chautauqua Music School Festival, and the National Music Festival.
Over the course of her career she has had the good fortune of working with distinguished instructors and conductors, such as John Ferrillo, Anne Marie Gabriele, Eugene Izotov, Nathan Hughes, Jared Hauser, Frank Rosenswein, Elaine Douvas, Cynthia DeAlmeida, the late David Weiss, Carl St. Clair, Thomas Adès, Daniel Harding, Franz Welser-Möst, Paul Nadler, David Effron, Cristian Marcelaru, Marin Alsop, and more.
Isom is 2nd Oboe and English horn with Houston Grand Opera and 3rd Oboe with Houston Ballet Orchestra; she currently serves as Acting Principal Oboe with both orchestras. Earlier this season, Isom appeared as a soloist with the Houston Ballet Orchestra, performing English horn on Aaron Copland’s “Quiet City" as well as Stanton Welch's "Orange" comprised of a five-movement Vivaldi oboe concerti. She also remains as a highly-demanded freelancer in the city of Houston.