We have had a magnificent year, and I am pleased to report that the Conservatory of Music continues to flourish as a result of the tremendous work by its students, faculty, staff, and supporters.
June marked a historic occasion: the groundbreaking for the Phyllis Litoff Building. After decades of dedicated teaching and tremendous accomplishments, the members of our jazz studies faculty will have a new home. The building will house a world-class recording studio, the departments of music history and theory, and the Neumann Collection, one of the most comprehensive collections of jazz recordings, iconography, and research material in the world. On behalf of all of us at the Conservatory, I am pleased to extend my gratitude to everyone who has made this endeavor possible. Please know that many opportunities to assist Oberlin with the funding of this building remain, and we continue to need your support. The Phyllis Litoff Building will open in the fall of 2009.
In a feature article in this issue, you will read about the extraordinary Frederick R. Selch Collection. The collection alone is certainly cause for celebration, but it is accompanied by an incredibly generous gift from Patricia Selch in the amount of $2.1 million. This donation will support a new professorship in the department of musicology with a focus on American music. Mrs. Selch’s remarkable investment will also allow for the formation of the Selch Center for American Music, an unparalleled resource for students and faculty engaged in this area of study. The arrival of the Selch Collection in conjunction with the Neumann Collection will provide Oberlin with a wealth of research material that will serve generations of scholars.
Looking ahead, I encourage you to attend a concert by the Oberlin Conservatory Symphony Orchestra (OCSO) in January at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. The LA Phil is presenting the OCSO as part of its season, and this is a tremendous opportunity for our students. The concert will be preceded by a panel discussion featuring David Lang, our new Pulitzer Prize-winning Composer-in-Residence. There will also be concerts in January in San Francisco and Seattle featuring eighth blackbird, the Prima Trio, and members of Oberlin’s Contemporary Music Ensemble. I encourage you to attend as many of these events as possible; details can be found in this magazine.
Although we are in the midst of tumultuous financial markets, I would assert that the performance, engagement, and transmission of great music remains critical to our world and must not be lost during periods of constrained resources. I urge you to support your local arts organizations, and certainly those programs you value at Oberlin. We are a very strong institution, but in the coming years we will be relying on external support to an extraordinary degree to maintain our mission of excellence, and we will need your assistance.
I wish you the very best for the year. It remains a privilege and honor to serve as Dean of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
David H. Stull
Dean of the Conservatory
Editor's Note - Effective April 22, 2010: Since this article originally appeared, the Litoff Building has been renamed. Oberlin's new home for jazz studies, music history, and music theory is now the Bertram and Judith Kohl Building.