The Oberlin Review

Decatur and Stull Leave Administration

Rosemary Boeglin and Julia Herbst

April 5, 2013

In late March, the College announced that both Sean Decatur, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and David H. Stull, dean of the Conservatory of Music, will leave Oberlin to accept posts as president of Kenyon College and president of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music respectively. Joyce Babyak, current associate dean of Arts and Sciences and associate professor of Religion, will serve as interim Dean of Arts and Sciences while the national-level search for a new dean is underway. Current Associate Dean of the Conservatory Andrea Kalyn will act as an interim dean of the Conservatory. College President Marvin Krislov said that while the search for new deans is in its infancy, the search committee members...

Philip Cashian Visits, CME Performs His Compositions

Nicole Gutman, Staff Writer

March 15, 2013

From March 4–8, the Oberlin Conservatory was graced with the presence of guest composer Philip Cashian, chair of the composition department at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He has studied at Cardiff University and Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Also a Benjamin Britten fellow at Tanglewood, Cashian gave a presentation of his work, two master classes and an information session about studying at the Royal Academy. His visit ended with a performance of two of his pieces by the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble. On March 5, Cashian gave a presentation of his work to the combined composition studio classes. He showed two pieces: Chamber Concerto, originally commissioned by the Birmingham Contemporary Music...

Opera Laughs at Itself in Too Many Sopranos

Logan Buckley

February 8, 2013

Too Many Sopranos is a playful, comedic romp skewering classic tropes of opera. The show, directed by Sally Stunkel and musically directed by Daniel Michalak, focuses on the four eponymous sopranos: the melodramatic Dame Doleful (double-degree fifth-year Nikki Levesque), the catty Miss Titmouse (Conservatory junior Emily Peragine), the spear-wielding Wagnerian Madame Pompous (Conservatory first-year Elissa Pfaender) and naïve Just Jeanette (Conservatory junior Danielle Cheiken). The sopranos have died and must rescue male singers from hell in order to secure spots for themselves in the heavenly choir — there are simply too many sopranos as it is. In hell, the sopranos find rakish tenors, romantically frustrated basses...

Denk, Isserlis Explore Remembrance in Artist Recital

Daniel Hautzinger, Staff

February 8, 2013

Memory is an imperfect phenomenon, distorting events so that insignificant details are highlighted and hours are compressed into a single image. That mutability is famously explored by Marcel Proust in his landmark novel Remembrance of Things Past, and served as a unifying theme for the performance of pianist Jeremy Denk, OC ’90, and cellist Steven Isserlis, OC ’80, on Tuesday, the first installment of this semester’s Artist Recital Series. The theme of mutable memory emerged in the program. Denk and Isserlis presented a nostalgic concert of French chamber works from La Belle Époque, when, at the turn of the 19th century, Parisian salons showcased a flourishing arts scene. Proust matured in those salons and...

Fundraiser to Help Oberlin Community Services

Sophia Fast

December 14, 2012

The Oberlin Pottery Co-op is making over 500 mugs for the fourth annual Empty Mugs fundraiser this Monday, Dec. 17. Conservatory students will perform an hour-long brass and organ concert consisting of holiday songs before ending the concert with a sing-a-long. “This event is a really great stress-free environment to put on a concert,” said Caitlin Featherstone, a Conservatory senior who will be performing at the fundraiser. “ It’s just so much fun, especially the sing-along at the end.” Immediately following the music, the Oberlin Pottery Co-op sells handcrafted mugs for $10 each. Local businesses provide a free beverage with each purchased mug. Last year, Agave provided hot chocolate, Slow Train...

Oberlin Orchestra Renews Interest in Classical Music

Gabriel Kanengiser

September 28, 2012

A few years ago, I was listening to Los Angeles’s local classical music radio station, KUSC, with my grandfather and my brother on our way to lunch. After Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, followed by Mahler’s First Symphony, my grandfather began to ask us if we listened to any “new classical” music. At the time, I didn’t. My grandfather said that he was very confused about the status of classical music communicated by the radio station. There simply wasn’t enough diversity, and he made an interesting point: Why did the DJs play only the canonical composers? You know, Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn, Brahms, Bach, Tchaikovsky, Mahler, etc. That is not to say that listeners do not like these composers; their genius...

Percussion Group Showcases Diverse Range of Rich Harmonies

Katherine Hamilton

April 27, 2012

Successfully compelling the audience to rethink and reimagine the capabilities of percussion, the Oberlin Percussion Group showcased its diversity, range and musicality at Tuesday night’s concert in Warner Concert Hall. The group, composed of 16 Conservatory percussion majors, is conducted and directed by Director of Woodwinds, Brass and Percussion and Professor of Percussion Michael Rosen. The first piece, “Second Construction,” is a composition for four players by the avant-garde, essential American percussion composer John Cage. The piece was played by double-degree sophomore Ben Rempel, Conservatory sophomores Daniel King and Brandon Hall, Conservatory junior Sean Dowgray and Conservatory senior Jake...

Conservatory Must Abandon Euro-Centric Practices

Will Rubenstein, Opinions Editor

March 16, 2012

With so much going on this semester, many outside the Jazz Studies department have probably missed the explosion of renowned jazz musicians on campus over the last month and a half. After past semesters in which guest jazz performances were often few and far between, in this half-semester alone Oberlin has hosted artists such as Thundercat, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Dave Liebman, Robert Glasper and Rufus Reid, culminating in Herbie Hancock’s concert at Finney on March 14. All this of course follows the May 2010 opening of the Bertram and Judith Kohl Building, a $23 million facility providing a permanent home for a jazz department that had languished for decades in the dank, moldy confines of Hales Gymnasium. Amid all this...

Smaller Orchestras Still Dazzle with Rich Sound, Intimacy

Meghan Farnsworth, Staff Writer

March 16, 2012

Chamber orchestras are small. In fact, they are so small that in 1804, when Beethoven added an additional brass instrument to the traditional two for an orchestra setting in that era, audiences were outraged. Too much brass, they complained. Of course, times are different now: Professional orchestras are tremendous in size when compared to the ones of Beethoven’s day. Today, we call these symphony orchestras, and if 19th-century concertgoers were sitting in a performance of Howard Shore’s score for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, they would likely have cried in agony. Perhaps, though, the Oberlin Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Conductor Raphael Jiménez would be less offensive to their sensibilities. At l...

Robert Shannon Proves Model For Conservatory Pianists

Meghan Farnsworth, Staff Writer

February 10, 2012

Wednesday's recital at Warner Concert Hall featured the talented Robert Shannon, OC ’72, a man famous for being the head of Oberlin’s Keyboard Studies Division, founder of the Cooper International Piano Competition and a highly sought-after piano professor in the Conservatory. With such a reputation, expectations were high. Shannon walked across Warner’s stage as though he were emotionally wounded. His shoulders slumped and his arms swung to their own momentum. When he took his place at the piano, the music that ensued contrasted the reputation preceding him. The performance was very personal, reflective and emotional, rather than purely virtuosic. This effect was both strange and enlightening, especially give...

Contemporary Music Ensemble Attracts New Fans

Sonia Wurzel, Staff Writer

March 18, 2011

One of the best things about coming to Oberlin as an Arts and Sciences student is the opportunity to take advantage of the Conservatory. Not only does the Conservatory give students the chance to take secondary lessons, it also provides the opportunity to hear genres of music that they might not have the chance to experience elsewhere. I had such an experience Friday night in Warner Concert Hall, where the Contemporary Music Ensemble, conducted by Professor of Conducting Tim Weiss, performed three incredibly engaging pieces. The label “contemporary music” encompasses a diverse variety of music that can be applied to anything composed after 1945 that does not adhere to the classical ensemble tradition. The genre...

Review: Senior Voice Recital

Meghan Farnsworth

February 18, 2011

Senior Conservatory voice major and soprano Cree Alyse Carrico presented a final recital that showcased her vocal power and brilliance as well as her easy, carefree stage dynamic. Pianist Jenna Douglas acted as a tasteful adornment to Carrico’s commanding and powerful presence. The program featured contemporary works by composers Benjamin Britten, Joaquin Rodrigo and Jake Heggie. The first piece by Britten, “On This Island (Auden),” contained five movements in English. It was written shortly after his parents’ deaths and during a time spent among a group of artists studying the works of poet W.H. Auden. Auden’s complex words and obscure allusions define the lyrical basis for each piece. Within each movement,...

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