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After oboe recital, senior aims for music accessibility

Maya Griswold performing during the oboe recital on November 16 at the Fred Fox School of Music.
Maverick Arnold
Maya Griswold performing during the oboe recital on November 16 at the Fred Fox School of Music.

After four years of discipline and dedication, University of Arizona senior Maya Griswold is on her way to completing her undergraduate in music and is looking towards the future. Following her final senior recital, Griswold sees herself making a difference in children’s lives through music — particularly through the oboe.

According to the Philharmonic Orchestra, the oboe is a double-reed woodwind instrument that “has an even more ostentatious pride of place” in the music world. It is a startlingly familiar instrument, used in classical oboe concertos by the likes of Johann Sebastian Bach to more modern popular songs like Queen’s “It’s a Beautiful Day.”

Those controlled and melodious sounds of the oboe filled Holsclaw Hall this past Saturday, Nov. 16, as Griswold performed her senior oboe recital.

Maya Griswold (middle) plays her oboe, alongside some of her fellow classmates.
Maya Griswold (middle) plays her oboe, alongside some of her fellow classmates.

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Griswold said that music was always a major aspect of her life. Born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Griswold grew up surrounded by sound, although no one in her family plays music.

“I don’t come from a musical family, but my family always made sure to immerse me in music when I was really young,” Griswold said. “I was always really interested in music.”

Griswold began playing instruments at 5 years old, but it wasn’t until her sophomore year of high school that the oboe became a part of her life. The interest was sparked through playing in the orchestra.

When applying to college, her line of study was never a question for her, Griswold said.

“What else would I do?” Griswold said. “At the end of the day, I get to sit and play music for sometimes five to six hours a day. I think I’m really lucky.” 

Tad Biggs, a close friend of Griswold, is a masters student studying musicology at the Fred Fox School of Music. According to Biggs, he and Griswold first met at the UA Oboe Studio, where he is active. Biggs was honored to see Griswold’s hard work culminate at her senior recital.

Maya Griswold talking to some of the attendees from the oboe recital on November 16.
Maya Griswold talking to some of the attendees from the oboe recital on November 16.

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“Maya has grown tremendously since I met her, a testament to her consistent hard work,” Biggs said.

According to Griswold, assistant professor of oboe Sara Fraker has been very influential in her studies.

“My instructor, Dr. Fraker, has been really instrumental in pushing me forward and making sure I’m doing the best I can do,” Griswold said.

Fraker worked with Griswold to decide what she wanted to perform for her senior recital and helped her prepare and practice for it.

“Maya’s recital program is the culmination of her three and a half years of study at UA,” Fraker said. “She’s one of the hardest working students I know, and an integral member of our community here at the School of Music.”

According to Griswold, she was inspired to include pieces from every major music era. At the recital, Griswold performed pieces by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Clara Schumann, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Eugène Bozza.

Part of Griswold’s motivation for the recital was to show her loved ones the ultimate product of her education at the UA. Griswold feels very fortunate that her parents “were willing to carry that burden” to get her to where she is today.

“I really wanted to have a big recital for my family to really show them what I’ve been working on for the last four years, for them to see the investment they’ve made in having me and raising me, to say this is what I’ve created,” Griswold said.

According to Griswold, this recital was also oriented to help her prepare for graduate school auditions. Griswold plans to study oboe performance as a graduate student.

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For Griswold, music is much more than a major, a career or even a hobby.

“I don’t think you can be a successful musician if your mindset is that music is just a profession,” Griswold said. “Music is so much more than that. You have to put so much of yourself into your music and it has to mean a lot to you.”

In Griswold’s world, that meaning is found in education.

While Griswold is inspired by the educational aspect of music, she expressed her frustration about how inaccessible music can be for some people. She knows how inaccessible it can be because she is aware of how expensive an instrument the oboe is.

“I want to get my master’s in oboe to become more immersed in the oboe world, but use my undergrad in music education to find new ways to help students who want to play the oboe, but can’t afford it,” Groswold said. “In general, [I want to] try to find new ways to make music more accessible.”

According to Griswold, music is beneficial for young children and their development; she thinks music to be instrumental for their lives.

“I feel that for me, music means using what I was given as a child to be able to make it accessible and practical for other students,” Griswold said.

Griswold’s recital was live streamed by the Fred Fox School of Music and is available on their Youtube channel. To watch Griswold’s recital and much more, visit the channel.

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