The Oberlin Review

On the Record with Jennifer Torrence

Eilish Spear, Staff Writer

September 23, 2016

Filed under ARTS, Music, On the Record

Percussionist Jennifer Torrence, OC ’09, is a solo and collaborative performer based in Oslo, Norway, where she is a research fellow at the Norwegian Academy of Music. Torrence specializes in contemporary percussion writing and performance, and her recent projects include writing evening-length solo productions and other percussion pieces with artists such as François Sarhan, Peter Swendsen, Trond Reinholdtsen, Woljtek Blecharz, Johan Jutterström, Carolyn Chen and Anna Mikhailova. She plays with the AJO ensemble and NorthArc Percussion in Norway and is the former principal percussionist of the Artic Philharmonic. She has worked with music legends such as Pierre Boulez and Jonathan Harvey and has premiered Unsuk ...

On the Record with Sullivan Fortner

On the Record with Sullivan Fortner

September 16, 2016

Jazz pianist Sullivan Fortner Jr., OC ’08, returned to Oberlin this week to perform a concert with his trio Monday night and give a master class to conservatory students Tuesday afternoon. Fortner began studying music at the age of 4 and started performing in churches across his hometown of New Orleans. By age 11, he had won the Cox Cable “Amazing Kids Award.” He attended the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and graduated valedictorian of his high school class. After completing his undergraduat...

Pioneers of Indie Rock Yo La Tengo Avoid Perspective, Expectations

Pioneers of Indie Rock Yo La Tengo Avoid Perspective, Expectations

September 16, 2016

Despite his band’s legacy as one of the most important acts in the history of indie rock, getting Ira Kaplan, lead singer and guitarist of Yo La Tengo, to ruminate on that history isn’t easy. “That asks for a perspective that [we] not only don’t … have, [but] I don’t even think we want,” Kaplan said. Despite the fact that his band has achieved what most groups only dream of — a contract with indie stalwart Matador Records, 14 albums, several world tours, critical acclaim, a top 40 reco...

Dan Casey Adopts New Moniker, Hops Genres

Rachel Mead

September 16, 2016

Filed under ARTS, Music

The music of Dan Casey, an artist defined by his ability to flip genres by adopting new monikers, has appeared online under his own name, but also as Yalls, Steezy Ray Vibes and most recently dd elle. He’ll be appearing at the Cat in the Cream tonight at 8 p.m. under his newest moniker to play a set from his upcoming full-length album. “I hope you’re into some weird, weird stuff,” he said over the phone. This show marks Casey’s third performance of his newest generation of material, which he originally posted anonymously online. Casey is known to upload much of his music onto the Internet without his name attached, using some alias. “Every name change is a fresh start with no expectations,” Casey said. ...

Megaphones, Merriment Set Polka Concert Apart

Megaphones, Merriment Set Polka Concert Apart

September 16, 2016

Chardon Polka Band hit the stage at the Cat in the Cream Wednesday with all the blustery spirit of a blaring megaphone. The motley crew of musicians, miscellaneous instruments and multitude of styles created an atmosphere of playful spontaneity that permeated each moment of this group’s unorthodox interpretation of polka music. At the start of the set, audience members might have seen nothing more than a perverse misunderstanding of a cultural hallmark, but by the closing chords it became abunda...

Con Students Fill Music-Education Gap

Adriana Teitelbaum

September 9, 2016

Filed under ARTS, Music

Spearheaded by double-degree junior Ben Steger and double-degree senior Tim Fenton, the Music Mentors Program will amp up its operation this semester. Represented by several Oberlin Conservatory students, the program offers students the opportunity to help teach music at Langston Middle School. Though in the past the program has boasted only a handful of participants helping out at the school a few mornings per week, Steger and Fenton are hoping to expand participation throughout the academic year. Steger hopes to achieve a more extensive engagement with the middle school this semester, offering private lessons and small group workshops in addition to lending support to school music teachers. A larger body of Conservatory v...

Acapelicans to Cast More Inclusive Net

Victoria Garber, Arts Editor

September 2, 2016

Filed under ARTS, Music

Amidst the flurry of the first week of school, the Acapelicans, formerly an all-female a capella group, are changing their designation to “non-dude.” The decision follows a group conversation over the summer about how new members might feel more welcome in a group with a more inclusive title. “Saying we’re an all-female group means that there are lots of non-dudes, lots of trans people, non-binary people and female-identifying people who aren’t feeling comfortable joining this group, possibly, and we don’t want that to be a problem,” said Emma Blackman, College senior. “It’s a supportive, really good environment and we want to make that as inclusive as possible, but also not having men,” she said. While...

On the Record with Kirsten Docter, Violist

On the Record with Kirsten Docter, Violist

September 2, 2016

Kirsten Docter, a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory herself, is joining the faculty this year as a professor of Viola and Chamber Music. Docter has won awards at both the Primrose International and American String Teachers Association Viola Competitions, and has served on the juries of the Primrose International Viola and the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competitions. She has collaborated with artists such as Itzhak Perlman, Alisa Weilerstein and members of the Cleveland, Juilliard, Takács, Eme...

Under One Sun Catches Lightning

Under One Sun Catches Lightning

September 2, 2016

It’s been a long day of recording and before I’ve even managed to get out my list of questions for our interview, Jamey Haddad, professor of Advanced Improvisation and Percussion at Oberlin Conservatory, beckons me and the other members of his band over, holding a small container of an off-white substance flecked with green. He breaks off a piece with a spoon and tells me I’ve got to try it. It’s halva, a Middle Eastern dessert made from sesame seed paste that’s mixed with honey and pistachios,...

“Fun Rock” Pioneers See Path to Fame Beyond Oberlin

“Fun Rock” Pioneers See Path to Fame Beyond Oberlin

May 6, 2016

There’s always that one college band everyone knows has a chance to make it big. At Oberlin, that band could be T-Rextasy. The band has already received prominent media attention from outlets like MTV and boasts a significant fan base. Singer and College sophomore Lyris Faron and bassist and College sophomore Annie Fidoten, who attend Oberlin, are joined by drummer Ebun Nazon-Power from Green Mountain College, guitarist Lena Abraham from Hampshire College and guitarist Vera Kahn from Grinnell...

Students Play Bonang, Rebab Pieces in Gong Concert

Students Play Bonang, Rebab Pieces in Gong Concert

May 6, 2016

Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology and Anthropology Jennifer Fraser introduced listeners to a blanket of unique sounds at Sunday’s End-of-Semester Indonesian Gong Ensemble Concert in Asia House’s Shipherd Lounge. The audience was treated to the only concert in the country where gamelan and talempong style music could be heard together. A student gamelan ensemble, which plays traditional music from Java, opened the performance. At first glance, passers-by might have mistaken the group for...

Dâm-Funk to ‘Invite the Light’ at ‘Sco

Paul Mehnert

May 6, 2016

Filed under ARTS, Music

“If we invite the light, it will surely come to us / If we invite the funk, it will never let us down.” These words comprise the interlude to DâmFunk’s “Junie’s Re-Transmission,” a track off of his latest LP Invite the Light. Spoken by ’70s funk star Walter “Junie” Morrison, the lyrics are fuzzy yet confident and almost spiritual, like a divine message. Though only 18 seconds of the massive 90-minute record, this brief clip is a sort of encapsulation of Dâm-Funk and the music he makes. It’s abstract and maybe even a little hard to understand, but there’s something endearing in the message. Dâm-Funk, who will perform at the ’Sco tonight at 10 p.m., is one of the most prominent outsider artists ...

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