A flexible and versatile musician, Mr. Oakes has performed with notable musicians in prestigious venues around the world. He has been a concerto soloist with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and the Denver Brass, performed with Grammy® Award-winner Terence Blanchard at the Telluride Jazz Festival, and appeared at the Chicago Arts Club. His recordings have been released on Bridge, CRI, Karnatic Lab Records, and Naxos and broadcast on National Public Radio. His recent solo CD, New Dialects, appears on the Centaur Records label. As a soloist, Mr. Oakes has won awards or received commendations in the International Clarinet Competition, National Young Artists’ Competition, Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, Coleman Chamber Music Competition, and the Kingsville International Young Artists Competition. He has given solo performances at multiple International Clarinet Association ClarinetFests, the University of Oklahoma Clarinet Symposium, the International Computer Music Conference, the Crested Butte Chamber Music Festival, Boulder’s Modern Music Festival (M2F), Colorado Music Festival’s Young Artist Series, and the Pendulum New Music Series. An international artist, Mr. Oakes has performed frequently in the Netherlands at Amsterdam’s venerable new music hall De IJsbreker, the Gaudeamus Competition, Concerten Tot en Met, the Karnatic Lab concert series, De Badcuyp, and Utrecht’s Theatre Kikker. He has also toured Brazil—performing in Brasília, Rio de Janeiro, and Campinas—and conducted masterclasses at notable Brazilian universities UnB, UNIRIO, and UNICAMP. In the summer, Mr. Oakes is on the faculty of The Cortona Sessions festival for new music in Tuscany, Italy
Mr. Oakes has been a member of several orchestras including the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, Colorado Ballet, Central City Opera, Colorado Music Festival, and the Chicago Civic Orchestra. He is currently the principal clarinet of the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra. As a chamber musician, Mr. Oakes has performed as a member of the woodwind quintet Category 5 and the award-winning Ensemble Syzygy clarinet quartet.
Mr. Oakes holds a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University, a master’s degree from DePaul University, and a doctorate from the University of Colorado. His teachers include Bil Jackson, Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr, and John Bruce Yeh. He has been honored as a Tanglewood Music Festival Fellow, a Fulbright Scholar Finalist, and an Aspen Music Festival Fellow. Mr. Oakes has presented masterclasses at such institutions as Michigan State University, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, University of California Berkeley, Ithaca College, University of Nebraska, and the Aspen Music Festival. He has previously taught at the University of Southern Mississippi (Hattiesburg, MS) and Bemidji State University (Bemidji, MN). Mr. Oakes is on the faculty of Iowa State University (Ames, IA).