Vogel studied piano and voice at the New York High School for Music and Art, but eventually changed his focus to oboe. "From the moment I heard it, I fell in love", Vogel said. "I switched right away." "My voice hadn't quite changed yet", he says. "By the time my voice changed, I was already into the oboe. I've been fanatical about the oboe ever since. I fell in love with the sound of it, as many people do. I liked playing it, too, physically. I have the right personality for it, kind of tenacious. That's what the oboe takes."
He then attended Harvard University and graduated with a degree in English; however, during his senior year, he decided to concentrate on his oboe playing. He studied with Robert Bloom at Yale University where he received a Doctorate in Performance. He received a Fulbright Fellowship and studied in Berlin with Lothar Koch (former principal, Berlin Philharmonic), and with oboists Fernand Gillet (former principal, Boston Symphony) and Josef Marx.
He has performed as guest principal oboe with the Boston Symphony for concerts in the major European capitals, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and Boston Symphony Hall. In addition, he has served as guest principal oboe with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Hollywood Bowl, and Walt Disney Concert Hall. He has also been guest principal with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.
Since 1994, Vogel has often been a guest with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York City and has completed three tours of Japan. In 2000, he was one of eight musicians from the Chamber Music Society to perform at the White House for President Bill Clinton at a state dinner in honor of the Prime Minister of India.
He has been featured at many leading American music festivals, including the Marlboro Music Festival, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Mostly Mozart Festival, Summerfest, Sarasota Music Festival, Oregon Bach Festival, Music@Menlo and Chamber Music Northwest.
- California Institute of the Arts, founding faculty member
- The Colburn School, Convervatory of Music, faculty member
- University of Southern California, Thornton School of Music: Adjunct Professor of Winds and Percussion
- American Bach Society, Advisory Board member
Vogel's discography includes two solo recordings on the Delos label:
- Bach's Circle, featuring Patricia Mabee (Harpsichord); Mark Chatfield (Bass Viola da gamba); Nancy Sartain (Harpsichord), Janice Tipton (flute)
- Oboe Obsession, featuring Brian Pezzonne (piano); called "the single finest disc of oboe music ever recorded" by American Record Guide.
- Saint-Saëns: Sonata for Oboe & Piano in D major, Op. 166
- Poulenc: Sonata for oboe & piano
- Britten: Metamorphoses (6) after Ovid for oboe solo, Op. 49
- Schumann: Romances (3) for oboe (or violin or viola) & piano, Op. 94
- Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Duet for 2 flutes No 4 in F major, F 57
- Makoto Shinohara: Obsession for oboe & piano
He has also appeared on the Nonesuch, Dorian, and RCA labels and has recorded Bach cantatas with Helmuth Rilling.
Harbor Freeway Overture
Vogel is prominently featured in the massive eight-story high mural Harbor Freeway Overture (1991–93) by Kent Twitchell, located on the walls of the Citicorp Plaza parking structure, overlooking 8th Street and the Harbor Freeway (Interstate 110), in Los Angeles, California. It is estimated that over 250,000 people view the mural every day.
- Mistry, Bhavna (September 17, 2000). "OBOIST WILL PLAY THE WHITE HOUSE". The Daily News of Los Angeles.
- Woodward, Joseph (December 3, 1995). "PERFORMING ARTS; THE MARATHON MAN, OBOE DIVISION; ALLAN VOGEL TAKES THE MULTIPLICITY OF GIGS, ROLES AND LOCALES OF HIS MUSICAL LIFE IN STRIDE EVEN AS HE BRANCHES OUT AS A SOLO ARTIST". Los Angeles Times.
- "harbor freeway overture: the story behind the mural". Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra website. Archived from the original on 12 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-14.