Andrea Kalyn, Dean of the Oberlin Conservatory since February 2014, has been appointed 17th president of the New England Conservatory. She will take up her new duties in Boston in January, 2019. Read a press release here.
by Alice Koeninger
Oberlin Conservatory’s Warner Hall was filled with double basses on Friday, July 13 for the Bass Ensembles and Bass Orchestra concert. Concluding a week of workshops, performances, and seminars at the Milt Hinton Bass Institute, this show was a way for parents to see what their kids had been up to. [Read more…]
by Daniel Hathaway
Piano professor Robert Shannon is eagerly waiting to welcome this year’s participants in the Thomas & Evon Cooper Piano Competition to the Oberlin campus later this week. “This year the lineup is stronger than ever,” Shannon said in a recent telephone conversation. “There’re some impressive people, and the overall level is consistently high.” (Photo: the semifinalists in 2016.)
The biennial piano contest, which alternates with a violin competition, will be fueled by 31 young players from seven different countries (see the roster of competitors and their repertoire here). The 13-18 year-olds have been selected from a field of some 90 applicants who have been drawn to the Cooper event through its reputation alone. “We don’t actively recruit,” Shannon said. “We just publish the announcement and we’re well enough known by now that it just happens. The first year we held the Cooper we had something like 140 pianists apply, but then I think people figured out how challenging it was going to be. We’ve stabilized now at about 90 applicants.”
This year’s competitors include eleven U.S. citizens, seven from China, five from Canada, three from South Korea, two each from Finland and Taiwan, and one from Norway.
by Mike Telin
For seven decades, bassist Milt Hinton played with the most influential artists in American music. While doing so, Hinton chronicled his experiences through the lens of his ever-present camera. This week the Oberlin Conservatory will celebrate its ties to the late performer with the Milt Hinton Institute for Studio Bass, a biennial summer program for developing musicians that takes place this year the Oberlin campus from July 7 through July 13.
Designed for bass students ages 13-21 of all ability levels, the Institute consists of a week of master classes, performances, bass ensembles, studio sessions, lectures, and workshops. It focuses on a comprehensive range of genres: classical, early music, jazz, slap, Latin, and electric. Directed by Oberlin Professor of Jazz Studies and Double Bass Peter Dominguez, the Institute will feature the nation’s finest teachers and performers across a variety of styles.
The Institute is part of an ongoing relationship between Oberlin and the Hinton estate to ensure that the legacy of “The Dean of Jazz bassists” will be kept alive well into the future. [Read more…]
by Delaney Meyers
Credo Music’s official summer concert season of over 12 performances will kick off on Tuesday, July 3 at 7:30 pm with a performance by the Arianna String Quartet at Oberlin Conservatory’s Kulas Recital Hall. Returning as festival faculty for the third time, the Quartet has programmed chamber music fan favorites as well as some less-often heard pieces.
The first piece will be Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 1. In a recent phone conversation, Arianna violist Joanna Mendoza said that this quartet is “not so well known.” She explained that the early composition was written “during a good time in Shostakovich’s life, when he’d just had his first baby, Maxim. It has a real freshness and brightness to it that his later works don’t.” She added that, out of his fifteen quartets, “it sounds least like the Shostakovich many listeners have come to expect.”
The Quartet will be also be performing a new work composed for them by jazz pianist, Webster University professor, and friend Kim Portnoy. This commission came about after first violinist John McGrosso heard Portnoy’s jazz trio perform a version of it at a house concert and thought, “What would this be like for string quartet?”
by Alice Koeninger
Flutist Alexa Still recently released her second solo album on the Oberlin Music label. Syzygy is comprised of six pieces by Venezuelan-American composer and conductor Efraín Amaya. Assisted by her fellow Oberlin faculty member, pianist Robert Shannon — as well as a few other Oberlin professors and alums — Still showcases her exquisite lyricism and virtuosity on every track.
by Nicholas Stevens
Is there any feat of performance greater than transfixing and moving an audience while remaining warm, welcoming, humble, and human? In a concert last week in Oberlin College and Conservatory’s Fairchild Chapel, the Flanders Recorder Quartet — performing in Northeast Ohio for the final time, as part of their 30th anniversary and farewell tour — offered a perfect blend of profundity, virtuosity, and tasteful tomfoolery as a parting gift to area audiences.
by Jarrett Hoffman
A return to a concerto that brought with it a solo debut. The celebration of a long chamber music partnership and friendship. And one final concerto in a 22-year orchestral tenure.
Those landmarks in the careers of three clarinetists — Randy Klein, Richard Hawkins, and Allan Ware — can be heard across two days, March 3 and 5, in Canton, Oberlin, and Rocky River. On the docket are concertos by John Corigliano and Aaron Copland, and clarinet quintets by Carl Maria von Weber and Johannes Brahms.
The clarinet show begins on Saturday, March 3 at 7:30 pm in Umstattd Hall. Randy Klein will join his Canton Symphony colleagues and music director Gerhardt Zimmermann for the Copland Concerto, in between performances of Stephen Montague’s Snakebite and Mozart’s Symphony No. 40.
“This is my last season in Canton,” Klein said in a recent conversation. “I’m retiring from the orchestra.”
by Hannah Schoepe
How are your compositions formed? How do you balance judgement with unhinged creativity? What is the most profound advice you can offer students today? Those were a few of the questions posed to the Pulitzer prize-winning composer and Roomful of Teeth member Caroline Shaw during an insightful Q & A session Thursday afternoon, February 16 in Oberlin’s Kulas Recital Hall.
During the session Shaw addressed her compositional process, as well as her creative sources of inspiration. She began by playing an excerpt from her recently composed string quartet Valencia. With its simple lines and ethereal harmonics, the piece grabbed the audience’s attention immediately. When asked about the work, Shaw affirmed her love for simple layers in her music. She said, “I like to create a ‘room,’ a musical space where people can walk around but don’t get lost.” Continuing on a humorous note, she said most listeners assume there is a connection between the quartet and Valencia Spain, when in fact the genesis of the work was derived from the beauty of a valencia orange. [Read more…]
by Daniel Hathaway
The Oberlin Conservatory will present a four-concert Historical Performance WinterFest this month, including performances by the Flanders Recorder Quartet, lutenist Nigel North, the Oberlin Baroque Ensemble, and faculty harpsichordist Mark Edwards. Baroque flute professor Michael Lynn, who has organized the events, said, “They should all be excellent concerts, and the price can’t be beat — free!” The festival includes two public master classes as well as the performances.
HP WinterFest begins on Tuesday, February 20 with an 8:00 pm performance by the Flanders Recorder Quartet in Fairchild Chapel, a stop on the ensemble’s 30th Anniversary Farewell Tour. Founded in Belgium in 1987 and comprising Bart Spanhove, Paul Van Loey, Tom Beets, and Joris Van Goethem, the Quartet began touring following their success at the 1990 Musica Antiqua Competition in Bruges. After a career that has included more than 1,800 concerts in 42 countries, the ensemble has decided to disband at the end of 2018. [Read more…]