Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Creative Arts


Not Listed

Committee Chair

Cynthia Anderson

Committee Co-Chair

Evan MacCarthy

Committee Member

Lynn Hileman

Committee Member

Mitchell Arnold

Committee Member

Marcello Napolitano


Alex Klein is one of the best-known figures of the American oboe school. He is the winner of multiple international competitions, including the first prize at the Geneva’s Concours International d’Execution Musicale. Appointed principal oboe at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1995, Klein is one of the most highly regarded musicians hired during the Barenboim era. His recording of Richard Strauss’ oboe concerto with the CSO was awarded Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (with Orchestra) at the 44th Grammy Awards. In 2004, his tenure at CSO was interrupted due to the onset of Focal Dystonia; which affected multiple fingers in his left hand. After his resignation, Klein entered in a period of adaptation to the effects of the disorder and learned how to cope with them. Klein continued his career as chamber musician, recitalist, soloist, teacher, conductor, and recording artist. In 2016, Klein was re-appointed principal oboe at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and was given the Principal Oboe Emeritus status by CSO’s music director Riccardo Muti one year later. This research document is based on published interviews, press releases, academic and non-academic articles, recording and concert reviews, published writings, institutional and personal websites and archives, program and booklet notes, and it was complemented by multiple discussions with Alex Klein in fall 2018. It compiles Klein’s most significant events in life and his most important professional achievements. The results of this research are presented in a chronologic fashion and include details about Klein’s early studies, his transition to the USA, his professional career, the onset of Focal Dystonia, and his return. It also includes an interview with Alex Klein, a selective discography containing some of Klein’s most significant recordings, and a summarized timeline.