by Jarrett Hoffman
Three remarkable concertos commissioned from members of the Oberlin composition faculty showcase one remarkable pianist in The Oberlin Concertos, released last fall on the Conservatory’s music label.
The pianist is Xak Bjerken, whose greatest talent is perhaps his balancing act. Every note is infused with expression, yet his individuality never spills over to eclipse the compositional voices of Stephen Hartke, Elizabeth Ogonek, and Jesse Jones. Those same words could just as easily describe conductor Timothy Weiss, who leads the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble with the ultimate combination of precision, musicality, and musical vision.