Graduates Shine on Broadway in Baz Luhrmann's La Bohème
Fly away Home
Playing Outside the Bachs: Amy Guitry and Debra
Nagy Take First Prizes
Musicians Without Borders
Vieland '45, a pianist and scholarship student of former Conservatory
Dean Frank Shaw, produced her first solo compact disc recording, Julia's
Gift. A collection of classics from Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann,
Chopin, and others, the recording was spurred by Julia's desire to
create a musical keepsake for her five grandchildren. She has taught
piano from her home in Philadelphia for nearly 30 years and has given
concerts there and in New York. Julia's Gift sells on Amazon.com and
in Philadelphia at the Kimmel Center gift shop and Tower Records.
Baskin '48 majored in composition and piano at Oberlin, studying
with Arthur Dann, Herbert Ellwell, Frank Shaw, and former College
Presi-dent Emil Danenberg. An active pianist and composer in Las
Vegas, where he gave two concerts last year, Bernard is the First
Vice President of the city's Music Teachers Association. He can
be reached at vegas firstname.lastname@example.org
or at (702) 255-9850.
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Herbert Henke '53, Emeritus Professor of Eurhythmics and
Music Education at the Conservatory, was presented with Oberlin's
first Music Education Distinguished Alumnus Award in November. An
internationally respected lecturer and clinician, Herbert served
as a faculty member at the National Conference of the Dalcroze Society
of America in Minneapolis in June and at the 27th Summer Dalcroze
Eurhythmics Work-shops at Carnegie Mellon University in July. In
August he conducted a workshop for the Virginia Symphony Chorus
in Norfolk, and in October served as the eurhythmics presenter at
the International Conference of Music Education in Monterrey, Mexico.
Herbert rounded out the year as a guest instructor at Gettysburg
College at the invitation of Sharon Davis Gratto '66.
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Jones '65, Director of Music at Trinity Church in Copley Square,
Boston, directed the Trinity Choir in its most recent CD, A Choral
Christmas, on the Dorian label. Michael Kleinschmidt '87,
Associate Director of Music at Trinity, accompanied the choir on
the recording, which was among the top 25 best sellers on Amazon.com
in December 2001. In its review of the CD, Gramophone magazine wrote,
"we hear sweetness, purity, and serenity throughout this recording,
certainly an example of American choral music at its height."
recitalist Nanette Gomory Lunde '65 released a two-CD set,
Complete Seventeenth-Century French Unmeasured Preludes, available
at skylinestudio.com/CD.html. A pro-fessor of music at the University
of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, Nanette teaches harpsichord, piano, baroque
performance practices, basso continuo, and a course titled Women
in Music. She also coordinates the university's resident period
instrument ensemble, Les Favorites. Nanette has performed on harpsichords
in European museums, appeared as a soloist with orchestras in the
United States, and performed in live broadcast over Minnesota and
Wisconsin Public Radio. She is the past president and founder of
the Mid- western Historical Keyboard Society.
29 years of teaching, Lunetta Bennett Knowlton '69 retired
as district music coordinator of the Mamaroneck, N.Y., schools last
January. She says a wonderful surprise was planned to coincide with
her final winter concert: many former students, friends, and relatives
joined with her current students, parents, and colleagues to dedicate
the concert to her. Among those in attendance was Christie Seltzer
Fountain '69. Lunetta now spends more time with her granddaughter
("preschool music education has become very important in our house
again," she says), while husband Michael Knowlton '68 is
relieved that Lunetta no longer has such a long daily commute to
work - the family lives in Summit, N.J.
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Peter Marshall '77, Music Director of the Opera Theater
Workshop at Georgia State University in Atlanta, conducted the premiere
of The Bronze Mirror, an opera by Milton Granger, last April. In
attendance were Jeanne Larsen '71, author of the book that
inspired the opera, and Stuart Gerber '96, percussion coordinator
at Georgia State, who played in the pit. Peter, who serves also
as the principal keyboardist of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO)
under the direction of Robert Spano '83, spent a busy season
as piano soloist in Messiaen's Trois Petites Liturgies de la presence
divine, as celesta soloist in The Nutcracker, and as organist in
Vaughan Williams' Sea Symphony, which was recorded and released
by Telarc last summer and which won three Grammy Awards in February.
Peter also played harpsichordist with the ASO in all six Brandenburg
concerti. Peter's wife, Allison Vulgamore '80, a member of
the Oberlin Board of Trustees, is president of the ASO.
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Abelson Hickson '80 reports "a veritable confluence" of Oberlin-ians
at the University of Maryland's choral music department this year.
Rachel and her husband, David Hickson '82, are singing in
the Maryland Chorus, headed by former Oberlin Conservatory Associate
Pro-fessor of Choral Conducting Edward Maclary, while Bill Culverhouse
'94 is pursuing his master's degree in choral conducting. Rachel,
a College music major who sang with the Oberlin College Choir for
three years, is a social scientist evaluating instructional programs
for the Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland. David is head
of the upper school at Sandy Spring Friends School. The couple has
two musical daughters.
Kusmin '82 has worked in the management side of the music business
in New York City for the past 20 years. Her positions have included
artists manager (she served as the first manager for Michael
Morgan '79 and Robert Spano '83), operations manager
of both the New York Philharmonic and the Boston Symphony, and her
current post as personal manager to Maestro Andre Previn.
master's degrees in cello and theory/composition from Northern Illinois
University and a Ph.D. in composition from the University of Chicago,
Elizabeth (Betsy) Start '82 spent 10 years a freelance cellist,
composer, and music teacher in the Chicago area. As a performer,
she has premiered more than 60 works, and her composition work in
acoustic, electronic, and mixed media has led to many commissions
and performances worldwide. Betsy joined the Kalamazoo College faculty
and the Kalamazoo Symphony, and she con-tinues her activities with
the Elgin Symphony in Illinois, Symphony II, Ravinia Festival Orchestra,
and the CUBE Contemporary Ensemble. She is National Secretary for
the Regional Orchestra Players' Association, a conference of the
American Federation of Musicians. She returned to Oberlin in September
to give a guest recital.
David Stambler '85 has recently accepted a position as Assistant
Professor of Saxophone and Jazz Studies and Director of Jazz Studies
at Towson University in Baltimore. He continues to perform extensively
as a recital soloist with the Baltimore Symphony and with the Capitol
Quartet (CapitolQuartet.com). David's wife of 13 years, Margot
Bos Stambler '84, died of breast cancer in June 2000. In her
honor, David has created the Margot Music Fund, a 501-c-3 nonprofit
arts organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of
classical and jazz music through performance sponsorship, scholarships,
and commissions. Most recently the fund commissioned the 2001-02
Aaron Copland Composition award winner, James Grant. Fellow Oberlinians
Chuck Bos '62, Marilyn Whitney Bos '62, Bert Davis
'84, Jed Gaylin '85, and Lia Purpura '86 serve
on the Board of Directors. Inquiries about and donations for the
Margot Music Fund may be directed to: Margot Music Fund, 12 Sherwood
Avenue, Pikesville, MD 21208.
Phone: (410) 653-7757. An endowed vocal scholarship at Oberlin is
also in development.
Robert Sims '88 appeared on the Chicago classical music station
WFMT 98.7-FM in September in a live broadcast of the world premiere
of Robert Kritz's Lamentations for the 21st Century with the Orion
Ensemble and Tony Arnold '89. Hailed by critics for his "rich
luxuriant tone" and "energetic performances," Robert is noted for
his interpretations of African
spirituals. As the gold medal winner of the Enmark American Traditions
Competition and the recipient of the Friedrich Schorr Opera Award,
he has performed throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia,
and is featured on three CDs produced by Canti Classics: Soul of
a Singer, Sims Sings Copland and Spirituals, and Three Generations.
For more information, visit RobertSims.com.
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Carsillo '90 is a violinist with the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble,
which kicked off its season with a six-week summer music festival
in Pittsburgh and Toronto. Included was a commissioned piece by
Pierre Jalbert '89. Cellist Jakub Omsky '95 is also
a member of the group.
completing a freelance communications project in Washington, D.C.,
Chris Pinelo '94 joined the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
staff as the May Festival Marketing and Development Manager in October
2001. The May Festival is the oldest continuous choral festival
in the Western Hemisphere, and the May Festival Chorus performs
and records year-round with the Cincinnati Symphony and the Cincinnati
Pops orchestras. Also a freelance composer, arranger, keyboardist,
singer, and actor in the greater Cincinnati area, Chris appeared
in a series of humorous television commercials for Clear Channel
radio stations in 2001, sang with Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati
Pops in the summer of 2002, and performed in a children's Halloween
concert with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Associate Conductor
John Morris Russell. He serves on the Oberlin Alumni Association
Executive Board and chairs the Career Services Advisory Committee.
Chris is married to Christine Anne (Duque) Pinelo '01.
Justin Hines '95 says he continued his musical life in New
York City and Japan last year with performances at Carnegie's Weill
Recital Hall, the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center, Tokyo
Bunka-kaikan in Tokyo, and Salon Corrina in Kanagawa. He continues
his work as both a teaching artist for the Chamber Music Society
of Lincoln Center and a percussion instructor for Project Arts,
and he represented the New York Philharmonic as a percussion coach
at Long Island University. This year he plans to join the music
staff at the Rudolf Steiner School in New York City. Justin lives
in Manhattan with his roommate, Toyin Spellman '95, and can
be reached at Justinjayhines@hotmail.com.
Award-winning cellist Jakub Omsky '95 composed and performed
the musical score for The Prisoner, a play based on the diary of
Maria Koper, a young Jewish woman hidden by a Christian Polish family
during the Holocaust. The monodrama was staged in June 2002 at the
Mazer Theater in Manhattan and in October in Santa Barbara and Los
Angeles. The Santa Barbara News-Press wrote: "This haunting music,
inspired by Yiddish folk melodies, is such an integral part of The
Prisoner that one could call the piece a sonata for cello and actor."
Following a summer concert tour with the Pittsburgh New Musical
Ensemble and Chautauqua Symphony, Jakub
premiered his composition, Meditation on Compassion, on September
14, 2002, at the Unitarian Universalist Society in Santa Barbara.
Jacob wrote the piece immediately after the events of September
and classical guitarist Matthew Hinsley '96 is pursuing a
doctorate of musical arts at the University of Texas at Austin.
A recipient of numerous performance-based awards, including the
Gibson Collegiate Artist Guitar Competition of the Music Teacher's
National Association, which he won in 2000, he is an active performer,
giving concerts throughout the United States and Italy. He has premiered
many new works, including compositions by David Ludwig, Johann Othman,
and Jefferson Rabb. He has also received private support and many
grants to fund concert series of international performing artists
as well as extensive community outreach programs. In November 2002
he presented a guest recital at Oberlin, performing pieces by John
Dowland, Jonathan Kulp, Federico Moretti, and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco.
Matthew has two CDs available on Amazon.com: his solo CD Live, in
Austin, and a new CD, Two Muses, with flutist Jennifer Rhyne
acclaimed pianist Carmen Ka-Man Mak '98 gave a successful
New York solo recital debut at Carnegie Hall recently, and she performs
frequently throughout the United States, Canada, and China. Carmen,
who received her artist diploma from Oberlin, holds a master's of
music degree from Juilliard and is often invited to appear on radio
and television broadcasts. Her recent engagements have included
solo recitals at Lincoln Center in New York and at Steinway Hall
in Akron, Ohio. Carmen offered a guest recital at Oberlin in November
with cellist Timothy John Smith, performing selections by Beethoven,
Brahms, George Crumb, and Sergei Prokofiev.
Andrew Shapiro '98 re-leased his debut recording, Invisible
Days EP, in October 2002 on the Airbox Music label, which describes
the four-song collection as "synthy-electronic-pop using flutes
and vocals along with ambient streams and pulsations." The CD features
vocalist Keisha Hutchins '98 and flutist Peter Hess '97
and was recorded and mixed by Jacob Weber '99. Andrew's com-positions,
which draw from his training in classical music and his love of
popular music, have been featured in the SF Gate (the online San
Francisco Chronicle) and in 21st Century Music magazine. His full-length
follow-up to Invisible Days EP will be recorded and produced in
Los Angeles this year. Additional information about Andrew's projects
can be found at
trumpet major Kyle Lane '99 and French horn major Amber
J. Chisholm '00 were married last June at Fairchild Chapel in
Oberlin. Both received master's of music degrees from the Mannes
College of Music and are freelancing in the New York City area.
Kyle plays in several groups, including the Queens Festival Band,
the Princeton Symphony, the Norwalk Symphony, and the Ureuk Chamber
Symphony. Amber, who plays in many of the same ensembles, is the
assistant to the director of the Henry Street Music School.
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Ditlow '01, a piano performance and vocal accompanying major,
serves on the piano faculty at Settlement Music School in Philadelphia
and at the Community Music School in Trappe, Pa., where she performs
in its ensemble-in-residence, the Mühlenberg Piano Quartet.
A classical chamber ensemble, the group's current repertoire includes
works by Brahms, Fauré, Foote, Mozart, Schumann, and Turina.
Kristin can be reached at email@example.com
or at (215) 527-4237.
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Graduates Shine on Broadway in Baz Luhrmann's La Bohème
Viva, la vie bohème!
Baz Luhrmann's production of Puccini's La Bohème opened
on Broadway the first weekend in December to wide acclaim, and sharing
in the limelight are two recent Conservatory graduates.
The visage of David Miller '95, one of the three singers
performing the role of Rodolfo, has appeared not only in Vogue and
other publications, but also has been forever preserved in caricature
by the legendary Al Hirschfeld. His performance has captivated critics
from the Associated Press: "Miller heartbreakingly captures a boyish
fellow suddenly turned grown-up in grief."
Ben Brantley, writing in The New York Times, says that although
"the stars of this Bohème may be as pretty as Calvin Klein
models photographed by Avedon," there is no cause for concern: "their
voices, for the most part, match their faces." He later adds: "I
have never seen an opera in which movement seems so spontaneous
or so particular to each individual."
Okulitch '99 is Schaunard, one of the gang of bohemians whose
"bawdy, exuberant horseplay" also impressed Brantley.
photo: Sue Adler
Both Okulitch and Miller studied with Professor
of Singing Richard Miller (no relation). David Miller was his student
for five years as a voice performance major in the bachelor of music
program and as a master's of opera student, and he assisted Professor
Miller in the Otto B. Schoepfle Vocal Arts Center.
"David was a pleasure to teach," says Professor
Miller. "His growth during his Oberlin years brought me much personal
satisfaction. He has the essential parts of the professional performance
package: excellent voice, fine technique, interpretative and stage
abilities, and solid musicianship. He always has known how to take
full advantage of every learning experience, which has led to a
number of highly deserved, early performance successes. He will
certainly make a splendid Rodolfo in the Broadway La Bohème.
It is very gratifying to watch the continuance of his flourishing
Okulitch also logged time in the Vocal Arts Center.
"Dan is a wonderful young musician," says Professor Miller. "His
voice has developed into an impressive vocal instrument. He was
a marvelous student, fully committed and dedicated to his work."
Both keep in touch with their former professor:
they called him from California during the show's out-of-town run
and have invited him to see La Bohème on Broadway. "They
told me how wonderful it is to be working with such an imaginative
director" as Luhrmann, says Miller. "I am certain they and the production
will enjoy a long, successful run."
read more about La Bohème, visit www.bohemeonbroadway.com.
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The acclaimed contemporary-music ensemble eighth blackbird returned
to the nest in December 2001 to donate a performance in a benefit
presented by Classical Action Oberlin, a collegiate branch of the
New York-based organization Classical Action: Performing Arts Against
AIDS. Among the works the ensemble performed was Professor of Composition
and Music Theory Randolph Coleman's Portals . . . where birds fly
still, which it commissioned. Eighth blackbird flies home again
in 2004 to perform on the 125th anniversary season of the Artist
Recital Series; by then its first commercial CD, Thirteen Ways,
will have been released by Cedille Records. The disc will include
Variations, a piece by David Schober '97. All members of the ensemble,
which was formed at Oberlin in 1996, are Conservatory graduates.
For more news about the flock, visit eighthblackbird.com.
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Outside the Bachs:
Amy Guitry and Debra Nagy Take First Prizes
ABach's set of winners? Bach to the future? With three consecutive
top prizes for Oberlin-trained musicians at the American Bach
Soloists' (ABS) competition, the puns are irresistible.
Last June, baroque flutist Amy Guitry '98 and baroque oboist
Debra Nagy '00, MM '02, (below) shared the top prize at the
ABS' International Oboe and Flute competition. The competition is
held biennially at the Berkeley Festival and Exhibition in Berkeley,
"Having our students win the top prizes in this
competition each time it has been held is extremely exciting for
us," says Associate Dean of the Con-servatory and Professor of Recorder
and Baroque Flute Michael Lynn. "The fact that we have now won in
harpsichord, violin, flute, and oboe shows the breadth of our program
and the excellence of our students."
For those who have not been keeping score, here
is a brief history of Oberlin's participation: In 2000, Oberlin
violinists Simos Papanas '99, Heidi Powell MM '01,
and Emily Fowler '01, MM '02, won the three top prizes in
the ABS' International Violin Competition. Harpsichordist Michael
Sponseller '97, AD '00 won the top prize two years earlier.
Amy Guitry, one of the 2002 cowinners, studied
recorder with Pro-fessor Lynn and flute with professor of Flute
Michel Debost. A Fulbright Scholarship recipient, she is studying
baroque flute with Stephen Preston at London's Guildhall School
of Music and Drama this year.
Debra Nagy, who shares the 2002 prize, was a student
of Professor of Oboe James Caldwell. She began her studies of baroque
oboe at Oberlin's Baroque Performance Institute with Gonzalo Ruiz.
She received a Belgian American Educational Foundation Grant to
study shawm, recorder, and Renaissance performance practice in Brussels.
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by Mark Satola
It's a long
way from the subtropical paradise of Hainan Island off the southern
coast of China to the gray, wintry environs of New York City. But
26-year-old composer Huang Ruo '00 has taken the journey
easily in stride, and the rising young star has incorporated the
idea of crossing boundaries into the International Contemporary
Ensemble (ICE), the music group he cofounded with fellow Oberlin
graduate Claire Chase '00.
reason we call it the International Contemporary Ensemble is that
we bring fine musicians together, no matter where they are from,"
says Huang. "We are a collective of musicians and performers dedicated
to playing and promoting the music of our time."
One aspect of ICE that makes it different from
other ensembles is that it's not located in one city. Some ICE members
(or "icicles," as they whimsically call themselves) are based in
New York City, others are in Boston, still more are to be found
in Chicago, where cofounder Chase lives.
In November 2002, ICE was in Chicago to give the
United States premiere of Luciano Berio's 1985 dance score Naturale,
for viola, percussion, and tape, with choreography by Juliana F.
"Every seat was sold out," says Huang. "We had
a very good audience, and people liked what we did. We had the music
of Berio, stage design, light ing, and choreography." As a result
of the Chicago concert, ICE has been invited to be one of the guest
ensembles at the Chicago Cultural Center later this year.
ICE is different from other ensembles in another
aspect - its shifting lineup.
"There are two types of music groups," says Huang.
"Ones like eighth blackbird or Musica Pacifica have five or six
players in a lineup that doesn't change. Our group has 25 performers,
with more joining as we need them. It's a unique arrangement."
ICE's most recent concert, of four concertos by
Huang, took place this past February as part of the innovative Composer
Series at Columbia University's Miller Theatre, and represents something
of a crowning achievement for Huang, whose recent awards include
the 2002 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composers Award for
Three Pieces for Orchestra, and the 2002 Israel Prize. Huang is
the youngest composer on the Miller season's showcase of works by
Elliott Carter, Gerard Grisey, Lee Hyla, György Kurtág,
David Lang, Oberlin Assistant Professor of Composition Jeffrey Mumford,
Tristan Murail, Ezequiel Viñao, and Charles Wuorinen.
Huang's success at such an early age comes as no
surprise. He's just one member of an accomplished musical family.
"My father is a composer," Huang says. "When I
was little, I listened to his piano playing. He'd play his music
to the whole family."
Huang and his family moved from Hainan, where he
was born, to main land China when he was a year old. They settled
in Guangzhou in the Canton province, where his father, Huang Yingsen,
became a professor at the Guangzhou Conservatory of Music. "My father
has a unique style," Huang notes. "He wrote music for both western
orchestras and Chinese orchestras, and for film and television."
At the age of 12 Huang entered the Shanghai Conservatory
of Music, studying piano and composition. More than once, the composer
in Huang influenced the pianist in him.
"I would get nervous playing on stage, or for juries,"
he admits. "If I forgot where I was in a piece, I would improvise
in the style of the composer I was playing." Huang's improvisations
were so idiomatic that a competition juror once complimented him
on a performance and was more than a little surprised when Huang
confessed that he'd improvised to cover up a memory lapse.
The desire to expand his education beyond what
China offered brought Huang to the United States and Oberlin College.
"In China, we didn't have very good libraries where we could listen
to western music," he says. "Oberlin has a wonderful library of
recordings and scores. I got to know the music of John Cage, chance
music, avant-garde, hardcore European modernism, and American serialism.
It really challenged me.
"If I hadn't gone to Oberlin, maybe to someplace
where only one style was taught, I wouldn't have become the composer
I am, using many different styles."
That eclectic outlook is reflected in the programs
of ICE. "We dare to put different things on the same program," Huang
says. "You have to have variety. Even the best food, if you eat
it 10 hours a day, you'd get sick of it." At a Chicago ICE concert
in January 2002, for example, works by John Cage, Steve Reich, Huang
Ruo, and J.S. Bach inhabited a peaceable musical kingdom.
ICE set Chicago buzzing with its First Annual Chicago
ICE-Fest in June 2002. Over the course of three imaginatively themed
concerts, ICE presented works by George Crumb, Olivier Messiaen,
Sofia Gubaidulina, Aaron Copland, Jacob Druckman, and Steve Reich.
They also played works by Huang and fellow ICE composer, Boston-based
Du Yun '99, and gave world premieres of ICE commissions from
Erik Spangler and Rob Reich.
Huang returned to China over the holidays this
past December, giving a series of lectures at Guangzhou Conservatory.
One of them, aimed at a general audience, outlined new music trends
around the world. Another discussed the use of new and often organic
forms in new music. A third lecture focused on the Renaissance Mass
and the rendering of early-music scoring into modern notation, a
skill not generally taught, Huang says, in Chinese conservatories.
As for the future, Huang hopes to extend the inter-city
model established by ICE. "We hope to have different chapters around
the country," he says, "maybe even expand across the world."
But however far Huang and his "icicles" spread
their unique purpose, his years at Oberlin will continue to resonate
for him. "Being at Oberlin really opened up my personal tastes,"
he says. "It was good preparation for being
a composer, conductor, artist, and director.
"Oberlin has always been a special place, and still
is, even after coming to New York. I liked the commitment and passion
of the students there. We had the freedom to write what we dream
Mark Satola is an announcer
and producer with WCLV-FM, Cleveland's classical music radio station.
He frequently writes about classical music for Cleveland-area publications.
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