Department of Music

Jun Watabe

Jun Watabe
Assistant Professor, Single Reeds

Office: Fine Arts 109

Dr. Jun Watabe returns to the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2009 as Assistant Professor of Woodwinds.  Jun truly enjoys his unusual career of single reed doubling with two completely different instruments—the clarinet and the saxophone. In fact, the diverse natures of the two instruments serve to enhance his artistry and refine his musical common sense, and at the same time make his music unique. Dr. Watabe has been featured in national and international concerts and received rave responses from audience, fellow musicians, and media alike for his memorable performances.

Born in Japan, Jun began his professional musical career while earning his bachelor's degree in saxophone performance at Aichi Prefectural University of Music and Fine Arts, Japan. He subsequently moved to the United States to broaden his musical vision, and started playing the clarinet to study with Bil Jackson, one of the world's leading clarinetists. During his graduate studies at UNC, he won competitions and began performing with professional ensembles. Throughout his education, he received various honors including the Dean's Citation of Excellence Award, the Southard Award at UNC, and the Saxophone Fellowship at the Aspen Music Festival for three summers. 

Playing the saxophone in orchestras gives Dr. Watabe a special joy because the saxophone is not a usual member of a symphony orchestra. After intensive orchestral study with Ryohei Nakagaw (bassoonist with major U.S. orchestras), Watabe enjoyed a successful orchestral career, performing with various orchestras including the Colorado Symphony and Fairbanks Symphony orchestras.

Dr. Watabe appeared as featured soloist for Glazunov's Saxophone Concerto and Villa-Lobos' Fantasia with the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra, and Glazunov's Saxophone Concerto and Claude Debussy's Rhapsody with the Littleton Symphony Orchestra. 

Chamber music is one of his passions, and he has performed and recorded with the Tokyo-Bach-Band and Collegio Saxophone Quartet. He participated in the 13th World Saxophone Congress in Minneapolis, Minnesota and performed world premières composed by Tim Sullivan and Dr. Evan Copley. Dr. Watabe's international activities include a performance as a guest artist at the Thailand International Saxophone Conference in Bangkok. He also enjoys collaborating with rising composers, commissioning and premiering a number of new compositions. Jun Watabe holds a doctorate in music from the University of Northern Colorado.