The Oberlin Review

Why Tear Down Our Heroes? We Need Them Now

Peter Takács, Professor of Piano

March 6, 2020

 Saturday night, I went to Finney Chapel to hear Beethoven’s first two symphonies. It was exhilarating — hearing fresh, committed performances of revolutionary music. The student performers were on the same wavelength with each other and with our wonderful conductor, Professor of Conducting Raphael Jiménez. The audience was listening in rapt attention, cheering at the end of each revelatory piece. What’s wrong with this picture? Well, this is old music, part of the “hegemonic institution of the canon,” written by a dead white male, Eurocentric, a remnant of pernicious 19th-century patriarchy, an oppressive… okay, stop (“Beethoven’s Dead — Can We Move on Now?” The Oberlin Review, Feb. 28, 2020)...

OSLAM team members bowing at the end of last year’s Grand Slam.

OHOP, OSLAM Center Black, POC Voices on Campus

November 22, 2019

While all students are invited to attend campus concerts and events, it is important to be mindful about taking up space at shows centering Black and Brown artists. Two groups on campus – The Oberlin Hip Hop Collective and Oberlin’s slam poetry team, OSLAM, not only center performers of color but seek to create a safe space for students of color in the audience. When attending these events, mindfulness of one’s positionality is crucial.  “OHOP serves to provide safe spaces and communit...

Esperanza Spalding performs for a sold-out house in Finney Chapel Wednesday night.

Spring Quartet Wows in Highly Anticipated Celebratory Performance

April 19, 2019

If you were on campus this week, chances are you heard the buzz about Esperanza Spalding’s Wednesday performance, which lasted over two hours in Finney Chapel. What you may not know, however, is that Spalding’s performance was part of a three-day festival marking the Conservatory Jazz Studies department’s 30th anniversary.  College junior George Hawk was ecstatic that a fellow member of the student acapella group ’Round Midnight ran into Spalding at the Hotel at Oberlin.  “’Round ...

A crowd of between 800 and 1,000 students packed Finney Chapel last Saturday, with the downstairs seating filled completely for Jaboukie Young-White’s free stand-up performance.

“Daily Show” Comic, Students Perform in Finney

March 8, 2019

Close to 800 students filled the pews of Finney Chapel last Saturday to watch a highly-anticipated stand-up comedy performance by comedian Jaboukie Young-White. The event also featured student comedians as openers for Young-White.  College senior and Program Board member Kira Felsenfeld, who pitched the idea to the Student Union and petitioned the Student Finance Committee for funds, organized the show as part of a drive to bring more well-known comics to campus. “[The SFC was] so generous...

Joyce DiDonato Performs Brave New Arrangements of Timeless Classics

Carson Dowhan, Senior Staff Writer

March 1, 2019

Musician Joyce DiDonato and company brought an eclectic fusion of jazz and classical music to Finney Chapel on Wednesday, Feb. 27, performing songs from their new experimental compilation album, Songplay. This show is part of the Oberlin Artist Recital Series, an initiative known for bringing renowned musicians to Oberlin’s campus, joining campus and community together in a shared love of music.  What makes Songplay unique is not only the lineup of project collaborators, but also the arrangement of the songs. Pianist Craig Terry did that arranging, which ranged from Baroque epics to American contemporary classics. Terry approached the tracks from a jazz perspective, which resulted in a strong juxtaposition between the ori...

Community Should Reflect Upon History of College Spaces

Kameron Dunbar, Columnist

March 9, 2018

Editor’s Note: This article contains mentions of sexual assault. I walk into North Hall every day. Most days, I forget that the official building name is “Langston Hall,” in honor of John Mercer Langston. That name may not be familiar to many, but this one may be: James Mercer Langston Hughes. Yes, that Langston Hughes. Langston Hughes was the grandson of Charles Henry Langston. Charles Henry Langston and his brother Gideon were the first two Black students admitted to Oberlin College. Charles and Gideon were John’s older brothers. John Mercer Langston was Langston Hughes’ great uncle. While John Mercer Langston’s name may not carry much global recognition, his life is a vital piece of Oberlin College’s ...

Organ Pump in Finney

Organ Pump in Finney

September 29, 2017

Students rush the stage at the first Organ Pump of the school year to feel the vibrations of the organ during the night’s final piece. Organ Pump traditionally involves a mix of great organ pieces and comedy performed in Finney Chapel at midnight once a month, and last Friday was no exception. Organ majors performed works by composers such as Jean Langlais, Camille Saint-Saëns, and Louis Vierne, and — along with some of their friends — sang the Review security report as an Anglican chant an...

Folk Fest Reaches Beyond Genre’s Traditional Boundaries

Sydney Allen, Production editor

April 28, 2017

Since its inception in 1999, community members and College students alike have flocked to Tappan Square for Folk Fest, an annual celebration of the genre featuring multiple live performances and events. Nineteen years ago, the inaugural concert featured a single headliner followed by student acts, but the series has since grown exponentially, drawing several touring acts each year and spreading to venues all over campus. Organized by the Oberlin College Folk Music Club, this year’s Folk Fest kicked off today with a panel discussion around Women in Folk Music, moderated by Professor of Ethnomusicology Jennifer Fraser and featuring members of Isle of Klezbos, an all-women klezmer band participating in the festival. ...

Yesterday evening marked the 21st annual Colors of Rhythm showcase, conceived in 1997
to highlight certain cultural modes of performance notably absent from curricula and mainstream
awareness. The event has persisted to this day as a platform for artists and performers
of color to explore and celebrate cultural art forms.

The primary objective for Colors of Rhythm is to provide “a forum for disenfranchised artists
and performers of color” to express themselves through forms historically omitted from
course offerings, and, in so doing, to “initiate constructive protest against issues of cultural
appropriation and uncritical cultural assimilation by and within dominant cultures,” according
to its mission statement.

Presenting a variety of performances from Taiko drumming and dance forms like step to
spoken word and vocal pieces, the showcase seeks to raise awareness about whitewashing
and appropriation, as well as challenge the dynamic of decontextualization that can occur
when such forms are coopted into dominant artistic movements.

Colors of Rhythm

March 31, 2017

Cole to Lead Oberlin Orchestra in Classical, Contemporary Show

Ivan Aidun, Staff writer

February 24, 2017

A thought-provoking mixture of contemporary and classical music awaits listeners at the Oberlin Orchestra concert tomorrow in Finney Chapel. The program includes two pieces written in the last 20 years — the 2003 Violin Concerto by Israeli-American composer Shulamit Ran, performed by Concerto Competition winner and Conservatory senior Christa Cole, and a 2000 piece titled Rapture by Oberlin alumnus Christopher Rouse, OC ’71. In between these two is Totenfeier, an 1888 piece by Gustav Mahler that was later reorchestrated to become the first movement of his Symphony No. 2 “Resurrection.” “It’s a challenging program,” said Director of Oberlin Orchestras Raphael Jiménez, who will conduct tomorrow evening. ...

Yo La Tengo performed with frontman Ira Kaplan in Finney Chapel Sunday. The famed indie
rock group played an understated acoustic set for an enthusiastic audience.

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...

Established 1874.