Jazz Saxophonist

Twitter: oscarpangilinan

Born and raised in San Jose’s Alum Rock neighborhood, saxophonist Oscar Pangilinan began playing in jazz ensembles in middle school, and his passion for music continued as he pursued a degree in jazz studies at San Jose State. In fact, passion is a key concept for Pangilinan as an inspiration and driving force behind his own creativity as well as something he hopes to instill in his students. Along with being co-leader of the jazz, funk, and R&B group the Bad Ones and performing alongside Bay Area musicians whenever the opportunity strikes, he works as a woodwind instructor with the Alum Rock Jazz Band and an educator for SJZ Summer Jazz Camps. He also performs with his trio as part of the SJZ Jazz Jam.

“I count myself fortunate to be surrounded by so many different people from all around the world—and living in Silicon Valley means we get to enjoy the very best that each culture has to offer. Choosing to make a career in a creative field means the desire and push to remain passionate about what you do is very, very real. I’m inspired by people who possess great passion for what they do.

“Teachers inspire me and [that] is probably a huge reason why I became one myself. And teachers aren’t just those in the classroom; they’re everyday people you meet, people in your family, and even your friends. Great teachers…take something you thought was complicated and overwhelming and make those feelings go away by making it relatable and understandable. Working with young students as much as I do, one of the biggest criticisms I have is that we’re loading our kids’ schedules with too much and demanding a level of productivity from them that’s on par with some CEOs. My greatest fear with all of this is that we’re teaching an entire generation of students to only get ankle deep in many subjects, rather than picking one or two that they truly are passionate about.

“We have an amazing cache of creative artists here in San Jose and Silicon Valley. I hope to show others around me a path they could follow, and I want to encourage them to be passionate and take chances.”


THE SVLAUREATES PROGRAM is a prestigious honor given annually to South Bay–based artists in a variety of categories and disciplines. Awardees for 2020 are in two categories: Artist Laureate Award, for established artists working in any discipline and Content Emerging Artist Award, for young artists showing promise for continued growth and excellence. The Laureates are chosen based not only on their individual body of work, but also on their community involvement, educational efforts, volunteerism, and other forms of engagement. As educators, artists, and performers, each of them has devoted time to their own craft while also seeking to mentor others and forge new cultural connections in the diverse Silicon Valley community.