Conservatory Dedicates Hannan Hamburg Steinway
Organist James David Christie and Conductor Steven
Smith Join Faculty
Oberlin Celebrates a Century of Music Education
Lofty Pursuits: Organ Inspires Symposium, Hymn Festival,
and Radio Shows
The Lawrence McDonald Conservatory Scholarship Fund
OCEAn New Music Festival Makes Waves in Oberlin and
Everything Old is New Again
Conservatory Hosts From The Top and Bobby
Live from Oberlin: Piano Competition Finals
Legendary Brubeck Album Jazz at Oberlin Marks
Dedicates Hannan Hamburg Steinway
The Conservatory received a significant and stunning addition to
its collection of 1,700 period and modern musical instruments last
July: the Hannan Hamburg Steinway, a gift from the family of William
J. Hannan Jr. '64, who died in September 2001.
parents, W. Jay and Yrsa E. Hannan, say their gift commemorates
the love that Bill had for Oberlin throughout his life.
many years, Bill served as alumni class president and spent much
time fund raising; his letters soliciting donations from his fellow
alumni were known for their wit and charm. He was also an active
member of the Alumni Council. Bill remained elated with news of
Oberlin - the accomplishments of its graduates and the performances
from its Conservatory - throughout his life, and he cherished the
friends he made here.
years Bill played a Steinway grand piano. He wanted his estate to
provide the means for Oberlin to receive a superb piano. He specified
that the instrument be a Hamburg Steinway, and his parents have
honored his wish. They and other members of the Hannan family were
the guests of honor at a concert dedicating the piano last October
in Warner Concert Hall.
faculty members Angela Cheng, Alvin Chow, Monique Duphil, Lydia
Frumkin, Sedmara Rutstein, Robert Shannon, Haewon Song, and Peter
Takács performed works by Brahms, Debussy, Chopin, Ravel,
Bach, Liszt, and Beethoven, respectively.
Hannan Hamburg Steinway is a Model "D" Hamburg. Nearly nine feet
long and weighing nearly 1,000 pounds, it is encased in ebonized
walnut and birch with solid brass hardware. More information on
the Hamburg Steinway's specifications can be found at steinway.com.
Steinway & Sons celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2003.
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James David Christie and Conductor Steven Smith Join Faculty
Renowned organist James David Christie '75 and Steven Smith, Assistant
Conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra, joined the Conservatory faculty
in July as Professor of Organ and Associate Professor of Conduct-ing
and Music Director of the Oberlin Conservatory Orchestras, respectively.
has been organist for the Boston Symphony Orchestra since 1978 and
until last year chaired the organ and harpsichord department at
the Boston Conservatory of Music.
is an important performer and pedagogue, and we are delighted to
welcome him home," says Dean of the Conservatory Robert K. Dodson.
continues to serve as Distinguished Artist-in-Residence and College
Organist at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.
He has also held positions at Wellesley College and Boston University
and was artistic consultant and principal keyboardist of Boston's
Handel & Haydn Society for 10 years.
has performed throughout the world in solo concerts and with major
symphony and period orchestras, and his repertoire includes numerous
dedicated compositions, commissions, and first performances.
Oberlin, Christie studied with Professor of Organ David Boe and
Professor of Harpsichord Lisa Goode Crawford, as well as Fenner
Douglass and Doris Ornstein. He earned the master of music degree
in organ performance and an artist's diploma from the New England
Conservatory of Music in 1978.
1979 he became the first person to win both first prize and the
prize of the audience at the International Organ Competition in
Bruges, Belgium. Other awards include the 1995 Preis der deutschen
Schallplatten Kritik for his Naxos recording of the organ work of
Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, and the 2001 Coup de Coeur by Magazine
del'Orgue (Brussels, Belgium) for a recital disc of diverse baroque
organ compositions on JAV Recordings.
Smith, who is also Music Director of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth
Orchestra, is Music Director of the Santa Fe Symphony. Last summer
he conducted the Aspen Concert Orchestra at the Aspen Music Festival
as well as two Cleveland Orchestra concerts at Blossom Music Center.
experience with professional musicians, as well as with emerging
musicians, has prepared him wonderfully for leading the Conservatory's
orchestral program, and we are delighted to welcome him," says Dodson.
has held previous positions with the Kansas City Symphony (KSO),
the San Juan Symphony, the Colorado Springs Symphony, and Epicycle:
An Ensemble for New Music, and he is also in frequent demand as
a guest conductor.
his tenure with the KSO, he was the sole recipient of the Conductor
Career Development Grant and was named Foundation Artist by the
Geraldine C. and Emory M. Ford Foundation.
is also a composer. In 1991, the Cleveland Orchestra commissioned
and performed the world premiere of his Shake, Rattle & Roar,
an interactive piece for orchestra and audience. The work was featured
on National Public Radio and has since been performed by the Los
Angeles Philharmonic, the National and Columbus symphonies, and
earned master's degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the
Cleveland Institute of Music.
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Celebrates a Century of Music Education
for every child, every child for music."
music teachers are familiar with this sentiment, made famous in
the early 1920s by Karl Wilson Gehrkens, a 1905 Oberlin College
graduate and president of the Music Supervisors' National Conference
(known today as MENC, the National Association for Music Education).
Building from the first course in music education taught at the
Conservatory - in 1902 - Gehrkens established at Oberlin, in 1921,
the first four-year, college-degree program in music education in
the United States.
Conservatory celebrated its century of music education November
9, 2002, with a daylong series of lectures and workshops sponsored
by the music education department and featuring alumni. Among those
who returned to campus were Carolyn Foulkes '75, Music Coordinator
at the Baltimore School of the Arts; Sharon Davis Gratto '66, Director
of Music Education at Gettysburg University; Jonathan Handman '96,
Director of Stringendo, a community string program in Poughkeepsie,
New York; and Penelope Cruz '91, Music Department Coordinator at
the Poly-Tech Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn.
other music education news, Associate Professor and Director of
Music Education Joanne Erwin, Associate Pro-fessor of Music Education
Jody Kerchner, and Professor of Music Education John Knight, along
with former music education faculty member Kay Edwards, have
coauthored Prelude to Music Education, a textbook designed for use
in college-level introduc-tory music education courses and published
last fall by Prentice-Hall. Each chapter begins with a classroom
scenario based on the authors' combined 50 years of public school
and Professor of Music Education Peggy Bennett wrote an article
titled "Karl Gehrkens: Ohio Son, Music Education Pioneer, Comprehensive
Musician" for TRIAD, a publication of the Ohio Music Educators Association.
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Pursuits: Organ Inspires Symposium, Hymn Festival, and Radio Shows
Cavaillé-Coll in Oberlin, an inter-national symposium on
French Romantic organ music held on campus last June, convened leading
organists, organ builders, and scholars for recitals, lectures,
demonstrations, and panel discussions.
four-day event featured a series of concerts on the Kay Africa Memorial
Organ by Oberlin professors David Boe and Haskell Thomson. Jean
Boyer, Martin Jean, Hans-Ola Ericsson, Susan Ferré, and Christa
Rakich '74 also performed.
Near, Paul Peeters, and William Peterson '70 presented papers on
Cavaillé-Coll, his place in history, and his influence on
contemporary organ building and performance. These lectures were
the basis for panel discussions that included Thomson, Steven Dieck
(President of C.B. Fisk, Inc., builders of the Africa organ), Fenner
Douglass '42, William Porter '68, and Rakich.
The Conservatory presented the symposium in association with the
Westfield Center, an organization that promotes classical keyboard
music. Roger Sherman '72 is the center's executive director.
lovers convened on campus last September for Songs for the Journey,
a hymn festival that brought 50 church and community choirs from
throughout northern Ohio to Finney Chapel. The festival was conceived
and conducted by John Ferguson '63, organ professor and choral conductor
at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.
event also featured the Oberlin College Choir and Oberlin Musical
Union, prepared by Assistant Profes-sor of Choral Conducting Hugh
Floyd. More than 1,000 people attended, and all raised their voices
Conservatory sponsored the event along with the Office of Chaplains
and the Alumni Association.
were honored that John Ferguson - whose name is almost synonymous
with the words hymn festival - returned to his alma mater to
conduct this event," says Protestant Chaplain Manfred Lassen. "He
is a respected and expert teacher, performer, improviser, and leader
of congregational song."
festival was recorded and edited for broadcast, and the program,
hosted by WCLV radio's President Robert Conrad, aired in northeast
Ohio on the station and on its web site on Thanksgiving Day. WCLV/Seaway
Productions also syndicated the program for national broadcast on
more than 115 radio stations.
Africa organ also was featured on two other recent radio programs.
Last April, excerpts from the dedication concerts were showcased
on Pipedreams, the nationally distributed Minnesota Public Radio
program hosted by Michael Barone '68. And in July, orchestral and
solo performances from the dedication concerts were featured in
a two-part series on The Organ Loft, broadcast in the Pacific North-west
on radio station KING-FM and hosted by alumnus Roger Sherman.
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Lawrence McDonald Conservatory Scholarship Fund
If Béla Schwartz and David Ballon have anything to say about
it, Professor Lawrence McDonald's name will remain a part of the
Conservatory for generations to come.
who retired in 2000, was a professor of clarinet at the Con-servatory
for 30 years. Upon learning about their former teacher's plans to
leave Oberlin, Schwartz and Ballon, both '79, mailed letters to
many alumni, asking them to contribute to a scholarship that would
serve as a tribute to McDonald and a gift to future clarinet students.
months of hard work - and after Schwartz and Ballon had made several
significant gifts of their own - the Lawrence McDonald Conservatory
Scholarship Fund was officially en-dowed in July 2001, surpassing
its goal of $25,000. Last year, the merit-based scholarship had
its first recipient, Andrew McCollum '05, a clarinet and composition
major from Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
encourage any former student of Larry's to contribute to the fund,"
says Ballon, managing director of a London-based money management
a testimony to Larry," says Schwartz, a double-degree graduate who
is chief financial officer for a private equity firm. "As students,
we all became aware that Larry was not only teaching us to play
technically, but showing us how to make music."
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New Music Festival Makes Waves in Oberlin and Cleveland
Nearly 40 academic, freelance, and student composers converged on
Oberlin and the Here Here Gallery (the College's downtown Cleveland
performance and gallery space) last November to perform in a sonic
extravaganza of contemporary electronic works. What brought them
all together was the 2002 biennial festival of new music OCEAn (Ohio
Com-munity of Electro-Acoustic n, where n is a variable).
festival concerts were broadcast live on WOBC, the student-run college
radio station, and simulcast on www.wobc.org. The festival received
outside media attention when Assis-tant Professor of Computer Music
and Digital Arts Tom Lopez '88 and Teacher of Wind Chamber Music
and Flute Kathleen Chastain were interviewed in conjunction with
the two-day event on WCPN, Cleveland's public radio station.
festival gave aficionados and newcomers to electronic music a chance
to see and hear a wide range of works that demonstrate the impact
of technology on music," says Lopez, the event's founder. New works
presented at the festival included video and dance collaborations,
music composed in real-time on a laptop computer, and interaction
between computers and traditional performers on flute, violin, saxophone,
percussion, and other instruments.
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Old is New again
Wouldn't Smetana be pleased? - When the premiere
curtain rose on Oberlin Opera Theater in May 1952, his beloved
opera The Bartered Bride was the first production to be unveiled.
Fifty years later, the Bohemian revelers were at it again as
Oberlin marked a half century of bringing thwarted love, mistaken
identities, and love regained to northeast Ohio opera fans -
launching some impressive international careers along the way.
Hosts From The Top and Bobby McFerrin
not among the more than 1,000 enthusiastic classical music lovers
who turned out for a taping of From the Top, with special guest
Bobby McFerrin, did not have to worry. The Public Radio International
program, recorded in Finney Chapel in January, aired in April on
nearly 250 radio stations throughout the United States.
by pianist Christopher O'Riley, the program has been called "the
best thing to happen to classical music since Leonard Bernstein's
Young People's Concerts."
the performers showcased on the Oberlin program were Oberlin Conservatory
composition and music theory major John Levey '03, who conducted
McFerrin and members of a wind nonet from the Cleveland Orches-
tra Youth Orchestra, string players from the Juilliard School of
Music's Pre-College, and a 16-year-old soprano from Appleton, Wisconsin.
of From the Top is Scott Schillin '68. Sara Stackhouse '91 is the
show's guest artist coordinator and education director.
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from Oberlin: Piano Competition Finals
For the first time in its eight-year-history, the finals of Oberlin's
Interna-tional Piano Competition were broadcast live to Cleveland-area
listeners on WCLV and simulcast on wclv.com. The competition was
held last July in Warner Concert Hall at the end of the annual week-long
Lim Kim, a 17-year-old student at the Seoul Art High School in Korea,
was the first-prize winner of the competition for pianists age 13
through 18. Second prize went to Jeannette Fang, 17, of Bridgewater,
New Jersey, a student at Juilliard's Pre-College Division. Martin
Leung, 15, of Irvine, California, won third prize.
radio coverage ensued when The McGraw Hill Young Artists Showcase
on WQXR, the classical radio station of The New York Times, featured
finals performances by the prizewinners in a program that aired
in November and also included excerpts from Oberlin's production
of Le Pouvoir de l'Amour.
for the finals round were Joseph Schwartz, Emeritus Professor of
Piano; Monique Duphil, Professor of Pianoforte; John Weems; Antonio
Pompa-Baldi; and Li MingQiang. Oberlin Professor of Pianoforte Robert
Shannon '71 is director of the competition and festival.
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Brubeck Album Jazz at Oberlin Marks 50 Years
The phrase "jazz at Oberlin" has been part of the Oberlin Conservatory
of Music's official lexicon since 1972, when jazz studies was incorporated
into the curriculum. It is shorthand reference to the Conservatory's
renowned department and the many jazz concerts presented annually
by its acclaimed faculty and outstanding young student musicians.
But the phrase became known worldwide nearly two decades earlier,
when, on March 2, 1953, the legendary Dave Brubeck Quartet recorded
the landmark album Jazz at Oberlin live in Finney Chapel.
will celebrate this auspicious anniversary on Saturday, October
4, 2003, when it welcomes Brubeck and his quartet back to campus
for a concert in Finney Chapel, the venue where it all began. After
the concert, Oberlin will present Brubeck with an honorary doctor
of music degree.
are pleased to have played a part in the history of the Dave Brubeck
Quartet, and we are proud to acknowledge its role in our own history,"
says Dean of the Conservatory Robert K. Dodson.
at Oberlin was an extremely popular record for Brubeck's quartet
and a smashing success in the Oberlin community. The concert and
album presented an audience largely uneducated in jazz with some
of the genre's finest players performing at the top of their game.
And while a successful jazz concert at Oberlin these days is a regular
occurrence, such was not the case in 1953, when the concert halls
at Oberlin - like those at most conservatories of music -
were filled with Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, and occasionally Bartôk,
but not with Basie or Baker.
definitely was no jazz department in the Conservatory, and no interest
in having a jazz department at the time," recalls James Newman '55,
who was instrumental in bringing the Dave Brubeck Quartet to Oberlin
"We used to get records and play them on a jukebox in the student
rec center. There were a few interested people, some students and
some townspeople. We would just hang out and listen," he says.
the climate on campus, the aspirations of Newman and a few forward-looking
students gave way to what would become an important historical event.
was very exciting, and as you can tell from the recording, the response
was extraordinary," Newman says.
cheers from the crowd are well documented on the album. On all tracks
the group swings effortlessly. Paul Desmond's airy alto sound floats,
and Brubeck remains firmly locked in with bassist Ron Crotty and
drummer Lloyd Davis. Jazz critic Gary Giddins has written that the
album would "make many short lists of the decade's outstanding albums."
from WOBC, the College's radio station, recorded the concert, and
Brubeck's label, Fantasy, obtained the tapes and produced the album,
which is considered by many to have been a catalyst for an extraordinarily
successful and lasting career.
Wendell Logan, Professor of African American Music and Chair of
Oberlin's Jazz Studies Department, calls Brubeck's Oberlin concert
"the watershed event that signaled the change of performance space
for jazz from the nightclub to the concert hall."
known jazz bands had come to Oberlin before, but mainly to play
at dances. The trend of going to a jazz concert simply to listen
was a novel idea, and the Brubeck concert was a major factor in
starting that trend," he says.
always considered Jazz at Oberlin a breakthrough album for the quartet,"
says Brubeck. "It caught Desmond and me in the early days when we
were beginning the concept of 'jazz goes to college' as a concert
Jonah Berman '03
Note: Brubeck's upcoming performance is part of the 125th anniversary
season of Oberlin's Artist Recital Series. The Conser-vatory's web
will post further concert information as it becomes available.
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