by Daniel Hathaway
Last September, Oberlin violin professor Sibbi Bernhardsson was the catalyst for a two-day festival, “Creative Arts & Music in the Shadow of War,” marking the centenary of the end of World War I with four concerts, two panel discussions, and parallel events at Oberlin’s Allen Art Museum.
That festival built on Bernhardsson’s fascination with music written during The Great War, and proved to be a great success. “Although the topic was somber, it ended up being an energizing and fun project — a way to collaborate with different professors in the College and the Conservatory, and a great opportunity for students to kick off the school year and see the faculty in action as performers and speakers,” the violinist said in a telephone conversation. “Since Oberlin has so many intellectual and musical resources, I wanted to do some kind of compelling project as a follow-up.”
The impetus for this year’s Festival came from Bernhardsson’s colleagues, who wanted to perform Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, written and performed in a German prisoner-of-war camp in 1941. “It’s such a great and important work that it’s not the kind of piece you play on a Sunday afternoon faculty recital and then go out and have a dessert afterward. But it occurred to me that maybe it would be a great work to build a festival around.” [Read more…]