The Oberlin Review

James Ehnes Has Some Professional Fun

Meghan Farnsworth, Staff Writer

April 29, 2011

Filed under ARTS, Music

To kick off his performance as part of the Artist Recital Series, violinist James Ehnes greeted Finney Chapel’s audience with calmness and quiet charm. As he walked onstage with pianist and colleague Orion Weiss, Ehnes stopped in front of the piano, bowed and threw the audience a boyishly elegant smile. With his professional yet somewhat childlike persona, Ehnes forged a personal connection with his audience that seemed to say: “Let’s get down to business — but let’s have fun at the same time.” Hailed as “the Jascha Heifetz of our day” by Canada’sGlobe and Mail, Ehnes, a native Canadian, reserves the right to “have fun” with audiences worldwide. With a Grammy, Gramophone and six Canadian Juno awa...

Chamber Orchestra Performs Copland, Ettinger and Beethoven

Hannah Selin, Staff Writer

April 22, 2011

Filed under ARTS, Music

Last Tuesday evening, visiting conductor Mark Russell Smith conducted the Oberlin Chamber Orchestra in an exuberant program that sandwiched Conservatory senior Kate Ettinger's pieceCaedo, Caedere between two time-honored classics: Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring and Beethoven's Seventh Symphony. The combination of these famously optimistic works with the mechanically-inspired tumult of Caedo, Caedere turned the concert into a celebration of impending spring. In the Conservatory's year-long search for a new conductor, student musicians have worked with a steady stream of world-renowned visiting conductors. On Tuesday, Smith, director of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra in Iowa and a graduate of the Curtis I...

Senior TIMARA Recital: In “My Little Daemon,” Singer Stages His Own Nightmare Before Christmas

Senior TIMARA Recital: In “My Little Daemon,” Singer Stages His Own Nightmare Before Christmas

April 22, 2011

“What would Christmas be like from a demon's point of view?” This was the poignant question posed by Conservatory senior Calder Singer’s Senior TIMARA Recital. The answer: from a demon’s point of view, Christmas would be a torturous experience. Singer’s piece, titled My Little Daemon, set the stage for an exhausting battle between emotional extremes, which all manifested themselves in the internal conflict of the main character (played by Singer himself). Yet in the midst of the hyper-mi...

Breathe Owl Breathe Brings Silly Sincerity to the Cat

Lizzie Conner, Staff Writer

April 22, 2011

Filed under ARTS, Music

The night started off rough, with feedback issues followed by a dead DI box followed by a broken monitor. These minor technical issues aside, Michigan folk act Breathe Owl Breathe nonetheless managed to pull off a wonderfully entertaining show at the Cat in the Cream last Wednesday, April 13. As soon as the band took the stage, frontman Micah Middaugh adopted his trademark bizarre stage persona, introducing his first song with the quip: “This one goes out to all the dog-walking enthusiasts.” His quirky banter reflected the band’s similarly idiosyncratic musical stylings: The stage was set with instruments that one wouldn’t typically expect from a folk band, including drum pad-triggered samples and a toy synthesizer. From...

Senior Studio/TIMARA Recital: Takahashi Bangs Things Against Things, Among Other Things

Senior Studio/TIMARA Recital: Takahashi Bangs Things Against Things, Among Other Things

April 22, 2011

On NPR a few years back, Thom Yorke of Radiohead explained the value of electronic music. Unlike strumming a guitar, he argued, sound played electronically doesn’t have to be decoded, re-understood and retransmitted electronically. It plays in its original form directly out of the speakers. What Yorke overlooks in his assessment is the constructed difference between real and artificial: We live in an age where sound and image can be so convincingly rendered by binary codes that they appear equal...

On the Record: Author Sara Marcus OC ’99

Beatrice Rothbaum, Editor-In-Chief

April 22, 2011

Filed under ARTS, Music, On the Record

Can you tell me a little about what inspired you to write Girls To The Front? I was inspired to write it because riot grrrl had been this incredibly formative thing for me in my life, and I felt like the story was getting lost and only certain parts of it were surviving and other parts of it were totally falling by the wayside. At a certain point when I realized that riot grrrl was worth having a book about, I knew that I wanted to write it before some rock critic who was going to miss the [movement’s] grassroots aspect and miss the parts about what it is to be an adolescent female trying to make your way in the world and articulate your identity. I knew I wanted to get there first. Why do you think it’s important for...

Musician Profile: Jazz Pianist Nicki Adams

Meghan Farnsworth

April 15, 2011

Filed under ARTS, Features, Music

“Oh, I’ve got a huge outie,” Conservatory senior Nicholas “Nicki” Adams laughs as he stands by the piano. “Have you heard of the belly button snatcher? Yeah, I read about him once when I was a kid, and I was so scared of him. He would snatch belly buttons!” With his bright, generous smile and light laugh, jazz pianist Adams is a strong yet innocent personality who has charmed many on the Oberlin campus. Today, he is clad in loose, worn pants and a borrowed sweater aged with holes. Yet it is his shoes that draw my attention even closer: sage-green sneakers with holes in the toes. Adams’s approach to life, as well as his approach to music, is as unique as his shoes (not to mention his belly button)....

Riot Grrrl Rocks the ‘Sco

Riot Grrrl Rocks the ‘Sco

April 15, 2011

For anyone who thinks that feminism is a fading trend, one look at the ’Sco during Riot Grrrl Night last Thursday, jam-packed with kids of all genders thrashing and singing at the top of their lungs in a raucous ode to female empowerment, would change their mind. The event, sponsored by The Oberlin Review, WOBC, the Luce Professorship of the Emerging Arts and the Creative Writing department, paid tribute to the Riot Grrrl movement — an underground punk-rock and activism phenomenon with roo...

On the Record: The Mysterious Daniel Johnston

Beatrice Rothbaum, Editor-In-Chief

April 15, 2011

Filed under ARTS, Music, On the Record

There are a lot of compilations of your work, like the Story of An Artist box set that was released last year. Are you still fond of your earlier recordings? I don’t really listen to it that much, but when I’m with friends sometimes and they put it on, it’s not bad to hear it. Then I think, ‘Wow, I write pretty good, I wonder if I can still do it.’ Then when I’m writing, I think, ‘This is a bit more advanced. And it’s gonna be better than that on real records with good production.’ So, for the most part it’s still the same, except I’m recording in a real studio. You have a new comic book coming out— Yeah, Space Ducks. Can you tell me a little about it? It’s about the adventures ...

JackFest!: Controversial Student-Run Music Festival Reveals Headliners

JackFest!: Controversial Student-Run Music Festival Reveals Headliners

April 15, 2011

“This is what I want to do with my life. This is my passion,” said College senior Jackworth Smith in an interview last Friday. Smith was referring to JackFest, a promising yet controversial music festival that he and fellow collaborator, College senior Harry Israelson, have planned for this May 14. The day of music will be held on North Fields and will feature both student bands and popular touring acts. The exciting headliners include Canadian indie rock band Born Ruffians, British hip-...

On The Record: The Vivian Girls

Beatrice Rothbaum, Editor-in-Chief

April 6, 2011

Filed under ARTS, Music, On the Record

Perhaps the most significant lo-fi act to emerge from the Brooklyn scene in the last few years, the Vivian Girls followed their 2008 self-titled debut with Everything Goes Wrong in 2009. The trio’s songs tend to consist of two or three chords apiece, the vocals are often off-key and the lyrics are repetitive and simplistic. While this may be a typical punk rock formula, the Vivian Girls take that rudimentary noise blueprint and twist it into a storm of passion and anguish. The band inspires fierce dedication and just-as-fierce disdain because that’s how rock music should be — edgy and exciting and evocative on a gut level. For a seeming straightforward punk band, the Vivian Girls’ influence is visible in a gro...

Music Preview: Upcoming Oberlin Concerts

Adrian Rew

April 6, 2011

Filed under ARTS, Music

4/7 — Riot Grrrl Night — 10 p.m. at the ’Sco — Free A night celebrating the underground feminist punk movement of the ’90s features a reading by Oberlin graduate Sara Marcus, OC ’99, from her recently published book Girls To The Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution, performances by WAM! (Women and Art Music Ensemble) and Oberlin’s reunited Bikini Kill Cover Band. The night also showcases DJ sets by Chelsey Johnson, Sara Marcus and more. 4/10 — Jandek — 8 p.m. at the ’Sco — $3 w/ OCID, $7 w/o Jandek is the musical project of a legendary outsider musician from Houston, TX, who has released records of unconventional folk, blues and spoken word since 1978. Very little is known abou...

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