The Oberlin Review

Con Opens Doors to College Musicians with New Jazz Ensemble

Sam Rueckert

February 19, 2016

Filed under ARTS, Features, Music

As an aspiring musician who has recently committed to taking every possible musical opportunity, I now realize that I have very little experience with auditioning. Yesterday I went to my second real audition since I’ve gotten to Oberlin. My friend Justin invited me to audition to drum in a jazz combo for which he is the pianist. The combo is a new experiment for the Conservatory: It’s the first Conservatory-sponsored jazz ensemble consisting of only College students. I knew I would be competing against my friend Cole for the place in the combo. Having seen Cole drum before, I was pretty certain that I wouldn’t have much of a chance at winning the spot. I’ve practiced a lot this year and have gotten confident...

Roots Residency Brings Punch Brothers Back to Campus

Sam Rueckert, Staff Writer

October 9, 2015

Filed under ARTS, Features, Music

In a Bibbins Hall classroom, Punch Brothers banjoist Noam Pikelny and singer-songwriter Aoife O’Donovan sat amid the muffled sounds of various instruments and voices echoing through the hallway. “[There’s] something very inspiring about being in the confines of a building like this [and] seeing everybody working with such focus on furthering themselves as artists and as people,” Pikelny said. “I have this real sense of jeal ousy that that wasn’t what my college experience was like.” Given that Pikelny completed his sixth visit to campus in the last three years with the band last week, it seems like he may be getting a taste of that experience anyway. Punch Brothers and O’Donovan began their residency...

Soprano Delivers Heartfelt, Varied Performance

Colin Roshak, Staff Writer

September 18, 2015

Filed under Uncategorized

I’ve reviewed a fair number of concerts during my time at Oberlin, but not one has left me as inspired and touched as I was this past week. Soprano Anne Gross graduated from Oberlin Conservatory in 1986; since then, she has traveled and performed around the world. Pianist Thomas Bandy, an opera and vocal coach at the Conservatory, joined Gross to give the most riveting and intimate recital in recent memory. The program was fairly standard; Gross sang five sets of four songs, each in a different language. Standard, however, did not mean unremarkable in this case. Gross began with a French set by Francis Poulenc. From the dramatic opening lines of the first song, Gross retained the audience’s unwavering attention,...

Lu Delivers Masterful Chopin Performance

Colin Roshak, Staff Writer

September 11, 2015

Filed under ARTS, Music

Since graduating from the Conservatory in 2006, pianist Tian Lu has traveled around the world honing her craft. This past week, she returned to Oberlin to perform a recital consisting entirely of works by the influential Polish composer Frédéric Chopin. Lu received her undergraduate degree as well as Artist Diploma from the Conservatory under the tutelage of Professor of Piano Monique Duphil and her master’s degree from the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University, where she studied with Boris Slutsky and Leon Fleischer. Chopin’s works, all 230 of which include piano, contain some of the most technically demanding yet haunting beautiful music in the standard repertoire. Although trained in the style of...

Sinfonietta Performs 20th-, 21st-Century Pieces

Colin Roshak, Staff Writer

May 8, 2015

Filed under ARTS, Music

After a year of memorable performances, the Conservatory’s Sinfonietta ensemble concluded with an inspiring and varied program directed by Timothy Weiss this past week. The concert began with a piece titled “Planos” by the Mexican composer Silvestre Revueltas which was scored for piano, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, violin, cello and bass. The piece began with strong chords and an energetic dotted rhythm motif on the piano. The piano’s moving lines contrasted sharply with the placid winds and walking bass line. Much of the piece worked within this contrast of precise rhythmic intensity above slower-moving, spacious soundscapes. As the music developed, different characters became more obvious:...

Students File Complaint After Conductor Uses Racial Epithet

Elizabeth Dobbins, News Editor

March 6, 2015

Filed under Community News, NEWS

Three students from the Oberlin Baroque Orchestra submitted a complaint to the Conservatory dean’s office after a rehearsal on Feb. 23, where guest conductor Jaap ter Linden told an anecdote in which he repeatedly used a racial slur. During the incident, Linden recited and joked about a children’s rhyme that includes a racial epithet in both the title and the text. He went on to suggest that those uncomfortable with this language should substitute the epithet with the word “frog.” An official complaint was filed with Meredith Raimondo, the special assistant to the president for equity, diversity and inclusion, and other instructors filled in for Linden for the remainder of the three-week cycle, ending March...

Co-op Provides Accessible Practice Area, Equipment

Laura Paddock

November 7, 2014

Filed under Campus News, NEWS

A single drumstick impales the scuffed ceiling of the windowless and empty Wilder 404. The room, however, will not be empty for long. Beginning this semester, room 404 will house the Gear Co-op, a cooperative dedicated to providing musical equipment and practice space for students who would otherwise not have access to these resources. “We hope to ... create a space that would promote musical growth and development among the student body, specifically to those who are disenfranchised by their inability to bring, [for example], their drum kit to the school,” said College sophomore and co-op member Julian Geltman. “It’s a really slow process. We’re still in our foundation, taking baby steps.” ...

Conservatory Council Promotes Student Wellness

Conservatory Council Promotes Student Wellness

September 19, 2014

The recently-revived Conservatory Council of Students will launch a number of initiatives this year, joining forces with the administration in an attempt to foster a more welcoming environment within the Conservatory. The Council, which was dormant for nearly a decade prior to its reinstatement in May, will focus on three different initiative programs that fall under the categories: health & wellness, community outreach and professional development. In collaboration with the Multicultural...

The Invincibility Fallacy: Balancing Musical Ability with Physical Agility

Nora Kipnis, Arts Editor

March 14, 2014

Filed under ARTS, Features

One Wednesday during senior double-degree student Eliza­beth Castro-Abrams’s second semester at Oberlin, she suddenly felt an excruciating pain in her wrist. She complained of the pain to her violin teachers, who told her to ice and stretch, but it didn’t stop. Student Health Services wasn’t much help either. Despite nu­merous visits to various doctors, all of whom had different ideas about the injury’s origin, the pain eventually forced Castro-Abrams to drop all of her musical engagements for the rest of the semester. Prior to her injury, she’d been practicing violin up to eight hours a day — not unusual for a Conservatory student, she said — but the injury was completely unexpected. “You think you’re...

Profile: John Cavanaugh on the Art of Piano Tech

Profile: John Cavanaugh on the Art of Piano Tech

March 7, 2014

The classic recording of “Christmas Time Is Here” from A Charlie Brown Christmas drives John Cavanaugh crazy. However, it’s an occupational hazard to which he’s accustomed. The Director of Piano Technology at the Conservatory, Cavanaugh has developed a highly trained ear over a lifetime of focused listening, so the off-key piano melody strikes him as particularly annoying. “The piano is so out of tune,” he says, though he concedes that the imperfection does lend something to the rendition....

Conservatory Students Display Talent, Creativity in Annual Honors Recital

Conservatory Students Display Talent, Creativity in Annual Honors Recital

February 21, 2014

It’s not easy to nab a spot in the Conservatory’s annual Danenberg Honors Recital. First, Conservatory faculty members recommend particular student musicians, and then those students must undergo a rigorous, competitive audition process before the best are selected to perform in the recital. The series is intended to acquaint the student body with the best of student performance, so the bar for performers is necessarily set extremely high. As a consequence of this selectivity, it was a coalition...

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