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Oboist Dan Ross is Featured Faculty Researcher


JONESBORO -- Dr. Dan Ross, professor of music, is the latest featured researcher at A-State. Now serving his 50th year on the A-State faculty, Ross has developed a stellar reputation among oboe and bassoon players nationally and internationally.  He developed a machine to produce precision reeds that are in high demand among musicians from around the world, and he himself is a highly talented oboist.  He has performed on countless stages throughout the United States and Europe, and is highly regarded for his professional contributions to the music profession. In a video, Ross discusses his reed-making techniques and his good fortune in life.

In recognition of his role as an educator, an international performing artist and an inventor of technology to produce consistent, quality double reeds at the global level, he was nominated for the honor by colleagues Sherry Skylar, associate principal oboist of the New York Philharmonic, and Carlos Coelho, oboe and English horn master.

Dr. Ross is invited on an annual basis to perform internationally and instruct double reeds in Russia, Poland and Paris. He is also invited to teach and provide master classes all over the nation at well-noted schools of music, including New England Conservatory, Boston Conservatory, Yale, Eastman School of Music, Michigan, University of Washington, University of South Carolina, University of Texas, University of Illinois, and the Cincinnati Conservatory. The University of South Florida designates an event weekend each year in his honor, the Dan Ross Oboe Weekend. His mantra is “I don’t teach oboe, I teach students.”

The A-State alumnus also believes everyone should have the opportunity to learn, and he doesn’t charge for his lessons. He is a philanthropist who reaches from students at A-State to across the globe, never accepting pay for his lessons and master classes. Not only is he a music professor and oboist who is admired by many, but he is also a man who is passionate about helping his community. He holds an oboe camp for high school students every summer. This camp offers students oboe, music and reed-making lessons for free. They also get all of the necessary tools and supplies to learn to make reeds at no cost. Dr. Ross provides everything himself.

Dr. Ross’s creativity and research radiates throughout the classroom and performance halls. In order to further advance his oboe students and Arkansas State University, as well as students and artists all over the world, he developed and manufactured a gouging machine for the oboe and English horn. This tool is essential in reed making, and with his machine the reed-making process is much easier. Unlike other machines, his approach is simple and uncomplicated.  The machine is easy to understand and to use, yet precise, producing wonderful results.

The use of his machine allows students and professionals around the world to create their own reeds with ease, enabling them to express their own artistic feelings and ideas through music. If the conception of the machine were not enough, he also manufactures every piece for the machine. Always taking much care in the creation of each gouger, the results are outstanding. His machine is internationally recognized.

Countless professional oboists have made pilgrimage to Jonesboro, Arkansas, to buy one of his machines or to get help and advice. The influence Dr. Ross has over the world of oboe extends around the globe. And in Dr. Dan Ross’s own words, “Every time you play, some will come up from the audience after the performance, but most times, they don’t have the words. If they did, we wouldn’t need music.”

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