Robert Stephenson

Associate Principal Oboe

Robert Stephenson joined the Utah Symphony Orchestra in 1980 and has been the Principal Oboist under Music Directors Varujan Kojian, Joseph Silverstein, Keith Lockhart and Thierry Fischer. A graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy and the Curtis Institute of Music, Mr. Stephenson is an adjunct professor at the University of Utah, a faculty member at the Sewanee Summer Music Festival and has served on the faculty of the Aspen School of Music, the Sequoia Chamber Music Workshop  and the Symphony School of America. Prior to joining the Utah Symphony, Robert spent three years as principal oboe with the Savannah Symphony under conductor Christian Badea. Besides his many summers at Interlochen, Robert performed at the Spoleto Festivals in Italy and Charleston, South Carolina, the Academy of the West, the Teton Music Festival, the Elkhorn Music Festival, Tanglewood and the Blossom Music Festival. His teachers included John de Lancie, John Mack, Richard Woodhams, Louis Rosenblatt, Jay Light, Dan Stolper, Richard Foley, William Criss, Rhadames Angelucci and Evelyn McCarty.  His compositions include “Twinkle Variations” for solo oboe, “40 New Melodic and Technical Etudes” for oboe or saxophone, “Dance Etudes”, which has versions for flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone and bassoon,  “Rhythm, Time and Meter”- 49 etudes for flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone or bassoon and “Quotation Etudes” for flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone or bassoon.  All compositions are presently being published by the Jeanne Publishing Company. Robert has written articles for the magazine Flute Talk, and he has served on the Artistic Committee, the Orchestra Committee, multiple Audition Committees and two Music Director Search Committees for the Utah Symphony. He is a resident of Salt Lake City, the father of three, spouse of Lisa Byrnes (associate principal flute with the Utah Symphony) and a member of the woodwind quartet “Three Fish and a Scorpion” and the flute, oboe and guitar trio “Free Housing Project”. In September of 2014 Robert took a 12-month sabbatical from the Utah Symphony. This opportunity made it possible to hear 80 orchestral concerts, 22 operas and more than 30 recitals in the United States and Europe. The experience was chronicled in a blog on the Musicians of the Utah Symphony website and titled “A Musical Journey”.    

James Hall

Principal Oboe

James Hall is currently Principal Oboe of the Utah Symphony, having previously performed as a member of the Erie Philharmonic, Ohio Chamber Orchestra, and Mexico City Philharmonic.

He has spent summers participating the Grand Teton Music Festival, Park City Chamber Music Festival, Deer Valley Music Festival, and Waterloo Music Festival and has been featured as Oboe soloist with the Utah Symphony, the Juilliard Orchestra, Arlington (VA) Symphony, and Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra. James has also given recitals in New York, Boston, Cleveland, and throughout the Wasatch Front, and was a featured performer at the International Double Reed Society Conferences held in Banff, Canada in 2002 and Provo, Utah in 2008.

An alumna of The Juilliard School, James studied Oboe with Elaine Douvas, Principal Oboe of the Metropolitan Opera, chamber music with flutist Julius Baker, oboist Ronald Roseman, and violinist Dorothy DeLay, and was featured Oboe soloist with the Juilliard Orchestra on that orchestraÕs tour of Asia. He subsequently attended the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he continued his studies with the legendary John Mack, former Principal Oboist of the Cleveland Orchestra. He has also participated in masterclasses and seminars given by such artists as John De Lancie, Robert Marcellus, Georg Solti and Leonard Bernstein.

A native of Corpus Christi, Texas, James is the son of a naval officer, and grew up in such diverse locales as Iceland, Spain, and Greece, as well as the U.S.. An ardent traveler, he recently accomplished his goal of visiting all the permanently populated continents.

When he's not making reeds, James enjoys trying new Mexican food recipes and hiking in the foothills above his home in the Avenues with his Lab/Pointer mix Bruno.

Lissa Stolz


Oboist and English Hornist, comes to Salt Lake City from New Orleans where she played English horn with the Louisiana Philharmonic for three seasons.

Originally from Iowa, she studied with Alex Klein and Grover Schiltz at the Chicago College of Performing Arts of Roosevelt University. She played for three seasons with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, which included a performance at Carnegie Hall under the direction of Daniel Barenboim. While in Chicago, Lissa enjoyed performing frequently with the Chicago Symphony and the Grant Park Music Festival Orchestra. She has also performed with the Spoleto Festival Orchestra, the Omaha, Charleston and Sarasota Symphonies.