The Oberlin Review

Visiting Jazz Pianist and Composer Blurs Musical Categories

Matei Predescu

March 15, 2019

Last week, the Conservatory’s Performance & Improvisation program hosted Venezuelan-born jazz pianist and composer Luis Perdomo in a residency which brought his original compositions to the student-led PI ensembles as part of the Conservatory’s Artist Recital Series. The residency culminated in a performance Saturday night which featured six of Perdomo’s compositions performed by the student ensembles, alongside a solo set of his own.  Perdomo looks to salsa and other Latin American styles of music, as well as classical music, as sources of inspiration for his original compositions.  The New York-based jazz pianist has collaborated and performed with contemporary innovators like saxophonists Miguel ...

Young Jazz Visionary Performs Original Compositions

Matei Predescu

November 2, 2018

New York-based saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins attracted a sizeable audience Saturday, Oct. 13 for his performance at David H. Stull Recital Hall, kicking off Oberlin’s midterm week. Wilkins’ quartet — featuring Micah Thomas on piano, Daryl Johns on bass, and Kweku Sumbry on drums — performed a complete set of original compositions written by the saxophonist. Wilkins is currently a senior at The Juilliard School of Music, and his performances are in high demand. He’s a sideman to contemporary New York City jazz visionaries like Harish Raghavan, Gerald Clayton, Joel Ross, and David Weiss, and performs with his quartet of music school colleagues and other young innovators. Wilkins’ progressive, gospel-inspired...

Double-degree junior Marina Wright performs in the “Britney Showcase,” which featured Britney Spears songs with innovative arrangements and orchestration.

Student Musicians Deliver Original Take on Britney Spears

November 10, 2017

The phrase “It’s Britney, bitch!” — though iconic — seems out of place for the “Britney Showcase” performed at the Cat in the Cream Tuesday night. Directed and orchestrated by College junior and Musical Studies major Alex Ngo, the showcase took a musical theater, opera, and jazz framing to Britney’s music and covered her hits with hyperbolic elegance. Donning sexy vintage costumes and personas, double-degree sophomore Celine Opdycke and Conservatory first-year Georgia Heers, as we...

The Punch Brothers perform in Finney Chapel last night. The sold-out concert was the culmination of their fall residency.

Punch Brothers Infuse Bluegrass with Classical, Jazz Influences

September 29, 2017

The Punch Brothers — a bluegrass band consisting of mandolinist Chris Thile; fiddler and violinist Gabe Witcher; banjo player Noam Pikelny; guitarist Chris Eldridge, OC ’04; and bassist Paul Kowert — returned to Oberlin this week for their fall residency, which culminated with a sold-out concert in Finney Chapel last night. Known for their genre-bending music that incorporates elements of classical and jazz in a bluegrass aesthetic, the Punch Brothers gave a variety of talks and performanc...

Grammy-nominated jazz pianist Fabian Almazan played a show Thursday night at the Cat in the Cream with his band, Rhizome.

On the Record with Fabian Almazan

September 22, 2017

Grammy-nominated jazz pianist Fabian Almazan performed at the Cat in the Cream Thursday night with his band Rhizome, featuring Camila Meza on voice and guitar, Linda May Han Oh on bass, and Henry Cole on drums. Almazan, originally from Cuba and currently based in New York City, earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Manhattan School of Music, and was voted “#1 Rising Piano Star” by the Downbeat Magazine critics’ poll in 2014. Almazan has also composed several film scores for ...

Jazz pianist and composer Vijay Iyer visits Oberlin to attend a workshop performance of Trouble, his new violin concerto,
ahead of its world premiere in June.

On the Record with Pianist Vijay Iyer

April 14, 2017

Vijay Iyer is a world-renowned jazz pianist and composer who has also written music for various classical and electronic ensembles. Iyer visited Oberlin last weekend to attend a workshop performance of his new violin concerto, titled Trouble, by Oberlin Sinfonietta ahead of its worldwide premiere at Ojai Music Festival June 8. The piece featured violin soloist Jennifer Koh, OC ’97. Iyer and Koh also held a residency that included several master classes and discussions. Iyer graduated from Yale Universit...

Conservatory senior Jared Hochberg, double-degree sophomore Ari Smith and Conservatory senior Orion Krause perform at Jazz Night last Saturday.

Lorenzo’s Jazz Night Connects Conservatory, City

April 7, 2017

When Conservatory senior Jared Hochberg arrived in Oberlin from Chicago and realized there were few outlets in town for jazz jam sessions, he decided to create one. Jazz Night, now a monthly event at Lorenzo’s Pizzeria, was born. Hochberg plays a 90-minute set with double-degree sophomore Ari Smith and Conservatory sophomore Matthew Frerck to start each show, followed by an improv jam session open to musicians of all skill levels. Four years after establishing the series, Hochberg will perform ...

First Church, Family Promise Host 11th Annual Homelessness Benefit

Quentin Nguyen-Duy and Daniel Markus

March 31, 2017

Family Promise of Lorain County has partnered with the Conservatory for more than a decade to host annual classical music concerts to raise money for the county’s homeless population. This year, the series’ 11th installment, taking place this Sunday at the First Church in Oberlin, will feature a quartet of notable Oberlin jazz musicians instead of the typical classical ensemble. Lois Pozega, the organization’s executive director, said the shift was made as part of a concerted effort to revitalize the event. “Last year the attendance was down, so the [planning] committee got together [and] asked, ‘What can we do differently?’” The result was a decision to change the event’s typical program, which ha...

Fundraiser Jazzes Up First Church

Carol Longsworth, Nicki Memmott, Concert Planning Committee

March 31, 2017

To the Editors: Your readers will surely be interested in the Afternoon of Jazz event being offered on Sunday, April 2 at 3 p.m. at First Church in Oberlin, United Church of Christ, located at the corner of Main Street and Lorain Street in Oberlin. Jazz professionals Bobby Ferrazza, guitar; Dan Wall, piano; and Paul Samuels, drums; all members of the Oberlin Conservatory Jazz Department, will be joined by accomplished bassist Aidan Plank. All these musicians are highly regarded professionals, known throughout the Cleveland area and well beyond. Admission is free. Donations are strongly encouraged and needed for homeless families served by Family Promise of Lorain County. For more information, see familypromiselorai...

On the Record: Jennifer Hoock, OC ’83, Cat in the Cream Founder

May 6, 2016

Jennifer Hoock, OC ’83, aided in the re-establishment of the Cat in the Cream with roommates Charissa Smith, OC ’82, and Cheryl Serrone, OC ’83. She graduated from the Duke University School of Medicine and earned her MPH at the University of Washington. In addition to being associate director at Group Health Family Medicine Residency in Seattle, she is a founding member and director of development at Guatemala Village Health, a nonprofit organization that promotes education, better health car...

Feature Photo: A Mighty Good Time

Feature Photo: A Mighty Good Time

March 11, 2016

The High and Mighty Brass Band blasts a jazzy tune at a packed Cat in the Cream. Though the audience was sitting at the beginning of the nine-piece band’s set on Friday, nearly every attendee was standing and dancing by the end of the fun-filled performance. The HMBB boasts a sound that combines classical big band jazz with hip-hop and R&B. The band covered a number of popular, recognizable tracks in its performance, displaying the influence of contemporary musical genres on its style...

Feature Photo: Ambrose Akinmusire Quartet

Feature Photo: Ambrose Akinmusire Quartet

February 26, 2016

From left, pianist Sam Harris, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, bassist Harish Raghavan and drummer Justin Brown play compositional jazz at Joseph R. Clonick Recording Studio Sunday. Attendees filled the Studio past capacity, receiving the musicians — who performed as the Ambrose Akinmusire Quartet — fervently. Akinmusire, who has collaborated with jazz luminaries like Steve Coleman and appeared on rapper Kendrick Lamar’s critically acclaimed 2015 album To Pimp a Butterfly, was born in Oakland...

Established 1874.