An oboist hailing from Amarillo, Texas, Keslie Pharis currently holds a Paul J. Collins Distinguished Graduate Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she performs with the UW Symphony Orchestra, UW Wind Ensemble, UW Faculty Ensemble, and other local ensembles. A recipient of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Premiere Young Artist Award and finalist in the 2021 UW Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition, she has recently performed with ensembles such as the Madison Symphony Orchestra, Quad Cities Symphony Orchestra, Dubuque Symphony Orchestra, Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra, Madison Bach Musicians, New Voices Opera, Miami Music Festival Opera and Conductor’s Orchestra, and the IU New Music Ensemble. Her recent opera and ballet credits include Albert Herring and Sweeney Todd with the UW-Madison University Opera, and she can be heard in the IU Opera and Ballet Theater productions of Ariadne auf Naxos (2018), The Nutcracker (2018), The Elixir of Love (2019), and Suor Angelica & Gianni Schicchi (2020).
Her playing has been described as “elegant” and “genuine,” “creative and expressive,” and is strongly influenced by her extensive background with ballet. An active chamber musician, she is a founding member of the Driftless Reed Quintet and has performed with The Aerosols Woodwind Quartet, Primavera Winds and Piano Quintet, IU New Music Ensemble chamber groups, and an oboe, viola, and piano trio. Ms. Pharis greatly enjoys teaching oboe and reed making as Oboe Instructor at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse as well as through her private studio and local high school programs.
Ms. Pharis holds a Master of Music degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. Her principal teachers are Lindsay Flowers, Linda Strommen, Robert Krause, and Alice Cooke. Other teachers include Margaret Owens, Roger Roe, Martin Schuring, Reid Messich, Dwight Parry, Mary Lynch, Jared Hauser, Doris DeLoach, and Daniel Stolper. Other mentors include John Ferrillo, Elaine Douvas, Frank Rosenwein, Jeffrey Rathbun, James Button, Dale Clevenger, William Short, Eli Eban, Thomas Robertello, and Keith Buncke.
At the Jacobs School, she also served as a Project Jumpstart Student Affiliate and as the President of Classical Connections, organizing and performing outreach concerts and facilitating mentorship of local middle school and high school musicians. Having some classical vocal training, she has sung as a soprano with groups such as the IU African American Choral Ensemble and the Southwest Church of Christ praise team. Her other interests include piano, board games, social dance, and spending time with family and friends.