Faculty Notes


Darrett Adkins ’91, Assistant Professor of Cello, presented a number of concerts in New York City in 2007—three of them at Carnegie Hall. In January 2007, as part of the Pro Musicis Concert Series, he gave a recital of French and American music with pianist J.Y. Song and violinist Tanja Becker-Bender. He celebrated Edvard Grieg’s centenary in September with a performance of cello music from Norway with pianist Ann Schein and violinist Earl Carlyss, and in December as part of a Gala Concert, where he presented the U.S. premiere of Rolf Wallin’s Ground for cello and string orchestra with the Grieg Festival Orchestra, conducted by Per Brevig. At Miller Theatre in October 2007, he played Esa-Pekka Salonen’s concerto Mania. The following month he premiered Richard Wernick’s Double Duo for two cellists and two pianists (with Joel Krosnick, Gilbert Kalish, and Christina Dahl), at the Juilliard School. Outside of Manhattan, in April 2007, Adkins gave the first performance of Jay Greenberg’s String Quintet with the Chiara Quartet at the Holland Performing Arts Center in Omaha. In February 2008, he was joined by Assistant Professor of Violin David Bowlin, Professor of Violin Marilyn McDonald, Associate Professor of Viola Karen Ritscher, Professor of Piano Peter Takács, and Assistant Professor of Cello Amir Eldan in a performance for the 2008 Chagrin Arts Series, presenting Schubert’s String Quintet in C Major, Beethoven’s Sonata No. 1 in C Major, Op. 102, for Cello and Piano, and Six Pieces for Solo Cello by Roger Sessions. In March 2008, he premiered a new cello concerto dedicated to him by Jeffrey Mumford, with Steven Smith conducting the Cleveland Chamber Symphony.

Brian Alegant, Professor of Music Theory, taught a first-year seminar entitled “Sonic Revolutions, Sonic Revelations” for the first time in 2007. Designed to teach students to listen critically to and write about new music, the course featured the use of iPods, blogging, and conversations with contemporary composers such as John Luther Adams and Gavin Bryars. Alegant also published three articles, including “Listen Up! Thoughts on iPods, Sonata Form, and Analysis without Score”
in the Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy; “Octatonicism in Dallapiccola’s Twelve-tone Music,” co-authored with John Levey ’03 in Music Analysis; and “On the Nature of Structural Framing,” co-authored with Don McLean in Nineteenth-Century Music Review. He led a faculty workshop at the 2007 Mannes Institute for Advanced Studies in Music Theory and gave talks at Oberlin’s Summer Piano Festival in 2007. Alegant also was elected to the executive board of the Society for Music Theory.

In 2007, Stephen Aron, Teacher of Classical Guitar, performed at numerous festivals, including the Austin Peay Guitar Festival (Clarksville, Tenn.), the Rantucci International Guitar Festival & Competition (Buffalo), the “Classical Minds” Guitar Festival (Houston), the Alexandria Guitar Festival (Va.), the National Guitar Workshop (New Milford, Conn.), the Music Association of North Carolina Competition (Greensboro), and the Rosario Guitar Festival & Competition (Mansfield, Ohio). He also was a soloist with the University of Akron Symphony Orchestra. Aron released Brazilian Masterworks for Guitar (Clear Note), a new solo CD of Brazilian music, featuring the world premiere recording of the complete guitar works of Walter Burle Marx. Two new publications complemented the release—the Burle Marx guitar scores and an original composition, Rockport Stomp, about which Classical Guitar stated, “this wonderful piece is imaginative, adventurous, effortlessly entertaining and a great deal of fun to play.” In addition, the Guitar Foundation of America elected Aron as the organization’s new Director of Archives.

Peggy D. Bennett, Professor of Music Education, presented two sessions on “Classic Fun! Engaging Imagination for Children’s Listening” at the Ohio Music Education Association conference in February 2007, and another at the international Music EdVentures, Inc. conference held in Bloomington, Minn., in March. Also that month, she was the keynote speaker on “Ouch! Hurting in Professional Settings” at the regional conference of the American Music Therapy Association in Independence, Ohio. In April, Bennett was the featured guest for a video teleconference on “How to Be More Concrete Than ‘Good Job’” for SUNY-Albany. Bennett also participated as the keynote clinician for staff development in the “Education Through Music” program, presenting “SongWorks from Sound to Symbol” in September in New York City. With Associate Professor of Music Education Jody Kerchner, Bennett presented a session on music mapping at the “New Directions in Music Education” conference at Michigan State University in October 2007. Because she was the first recipient of the Cole Porter Scholarship during her senior year of high school in Peru, Ind., Bennett was invited to join Porter’s cousin for the presentation of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in May 2008.

A member of the American Music Center’s Board of Directors since 2002, Conservatory Librarian Deborah Campana currently is serving a term as secretary. The Center is a national service organization and information center dedicated to building a community for new American music.

In summer 2007, Salvatore Champagne ’85, Associate Professor of Singing, taught a master class at the Interlochen Center for the Arts Summer Music Camp, and appeared with the Racine Symphony Orchestra and at the Akron Summer Music Festival. For 10 days in July 2007, he co-directed Oberlin’s Vocal Academy for High School Students with Professor of Singing Daune Mahy.

For two weeks in January 2007, Kathleen Chastain, Clinical Assistant Professor of Flute, Chamber Music and Professional Development for the Freelance Artist, took part in the FEMUS Festival in Jaragua do Sul, Brazil, with Professor of Oboe Alex Klein. In February she gave a flute master class and lectured on “How to Survive in the Music Business” at Rice University. In addition to performing a recital, she repeated the lecture and gave a master class at Florida State University in March. At the “Flautissimo” Flute Convention (Milan) in May 2007, she gave a recital and master class. She conducted recital master classes at the Oberlin Flute Institute in June. July found Chastain in Portugal giving master classes and a recital at Castelo de Paiva and in Les Voivres, France, at the Flutissimo Flute Institute, where she also lectured on “Le Côté Business de la Musique.” In October 2007, Chastain participated in a forum, “Careers in Music Performance: Convening Student Perspectives and Creating New Models for the 21st Century,” at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University and gave a solo performance of works by David Felder with the Slee Sinfonietta in Buffalo, N.Y. With Professor of Flute and Performance Michel Debost and Professor of Piano Monique Duphil, she gave a flute recital and master class for the Greater Cleveland Flute Society in November. Chastain introduced a new class at Oberlin on “Professional Development for the Freelance Artist” in February 2008. In May 2008, she gave a solo performance of David Felder’s Dionysiacs with the Slee Sinfonietta in Cleveland. Her article, “Setting Career Goals,” was published in Flute Talk in the July/August 2007 issue.

In 2007, Angela Cheng, Associate Professor of Piano, performed with the symphonies of Montreal, San Diego, Saskatoon (Saskatchewan), and Flint and Midland (Mich.); the National Arts Centre Orchestra (Ottawa); the Erie Philharmonic; and the Louisiana Philharmonic. She also participated in a tour of Israel with the Israel Camerata. She was a recitalist at the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center in New York City and at venues in Toronto, Calgary, and Edmonton, and she played two tours of Alberta and the Atlantic provinces of Canada. She appeared as the convention artist for the Illinois and Colorado state music teachers associations, and served on the juries of the Cleveland International Piano Competition, the Rolf and Brigitte Gardey International Piano Competition (Daytona Beach, Fla.), the Dranoff International Two Piano Competition (Miami, Fla.), and the Shean Piano Competition (Edmonton, Alberta).

Associate Professor of Piano Alvin Chow performed with Angela Cheng in two-piano concerts that included performances with the Midland Symphony Orchestra (Mich.), at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and the Banff Summer Arts Festival. He was invited to serve on the juries of the Iowa Piano Competition (Sioux City), the Rolf and Brigitte Gardey International Piano Competition (Daytona Beach, Fla.), and the Starr Young Artist Piano Competition at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. He was once again on the faculty for the International Piano Master Class at the Banff Centre in Canada, and was appointed chair of the Department of Piano at the Conservatory.

In January 2007, James David Christie ’75, Professor of Organ, fulfilled several engagements as orchestral organist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and then accompanied them on tour in Europe, with James Levine conducting, in August 2007 and again in February 2008. He performed with the Cape Cod Symphony in April 2007 and with the Boston Soloists Orchestra at the Nantucket Arts Festival in July. He gave recitals and master classes at Arizona State, East Carolina, Harvard, Trinity, and Wichita State universities; at Wellesley College; at the University of Calgary; and at Corpus Christi Church in New York City. For the American Guild of Organists (AGO), he performed at regional conventions in Baltimore; Columbus, Ohio; and Lincoln, Neb. He presented recitals and master classes under the sponsorship of AGO chapters in New York City; Kansas City; Seattle; and Richmond, Va. On tour in Europe in summer 2007, he gave solo recitals and master classes in Estonia, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland. Christie performed the complete works of Dietrich Buxtehude twice in a series of eight concerts in observance of the tercentenary of the composer’s death, first at the College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, Mass.), and then on the historic Flentrop organ at the Busch-Reisinger Museum at Harvard University. He served on juries for the L. Cameron Johnson Memorial Competition for High School Organists in Storrs, Conn.; the American Round of the Mikael Tariverdiev International Organ Competition (Kaliningrad, Russia) in Worcester, Mass.; the First International Dietrich Buxtehude Organ Competition in Lübeck, Germany; the International Organ Competition Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck in Amsterdam, Holland; the André Marchal International Organ Competition in Biarritz, France; and the North American Round of the International Organ Competition Musashino-Tokyo (Japan) in Boston, Mass.

Assistant Professor of Voice Kendra Colton ’83 gave numerous performances in 2007, including the title role in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with the Mark Morris Dance Group in Boston and the title role in Handel’s Acis and Galatea on an East Coast tour with the Aulos Ensemble that began in Miami and continued to San Juan, Puerto Rico; Annapolis; Gettysburg; and New York City. She appeared in Poulenc’s Gloria with the Rhode Island Philharmonic; Fauré’s Requiem with the St. Petersburg Symphony; and Beethoven’s Mass in C in Honolulu. Colton performed in various works by Bach, including the St. Matthew Passion in Boston, Carmel, and Spokane; the St. John Passion in Boston; the Mass in B Minor in Boston, Washington D.C., and Spokane; and solo cantatas BWV 51 and 202 with the Pacific Symphony. She also performed in Mozart’s Mass in C Minor in Louisville and Handel’s Messiah in Durham and Columbus. In 2007 Colton celebrated her 10th season as a soloist with the Carmel Bach Festival in California.

In November 2007, Professor of Music Theory Warren Darcy ’68 and James Hepokoski, Professor of Music at Yale University, presented a three-hour graduate student workshop on sonata theory at the annual meeting of the Society for Music Theory, held in Baltimore. Darcy and Hepokoski structured this workshop around their book, Elements of Sonata Theory: Norms, Types, and Deformations in the Late-Eighteenth-Century Sonata (Oxford, 2006), which presents a new paradigm for analyzing sonata-based movements and is already garnering accolades on both sides of the Atlantic. Darcy contributed a chapter titled “In Search of C Major: Tonal Structure and Formal Design in Act III of Die Meistersinger” to Richard Wagner for the New Millennium: Essays in Music and Culture (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007). Darcy used his fall 2007 sabbatical to complete a draft of his first novel, the story of an American college professor who travels to Edinburgh and becomes the prey of a vicious serial killer. He spent two weeks in the Scottish capital researching the locales of his novel.

Joanne Erwin, Professor of Music Education, co-authored New Directions for Strings, a detailed pedagogy for beginning string players that has already become highly regarded and used in the field. Published by FJH Music, this method for violin, viola, cello, and bass, with an extensive teacher manual, was written over a six-year period in collaboration with Robert McCashin, Brenda Mitchell, and Kathleen Horvath. Erwin also conducted workshops and orchestras in Minnesota, Alaska, Texas, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. During winter term 2007, she led a group of students who performed and taught at the Asociacion Nacional de Conciertos Music Camp in Panama. In winter term 2008, Erwin accompanied a piano quintet to Ecuador. The Oberlin musicians performed and coached participants in the third International Chamber Music Festival, organized by Jordan Price ’05 at the Liszt Conservatory, which was founded by Sophia Izurieta ’95. In February 2008, Erwin conducted the Georgia All-State Middle School Orchestra in Savannah. In March, she spoke about string pedagogy at the North Dakota Music Educators Conference.

Robin Eubanks and EB3 – Live Vol.1, a DVD/CD package released by Robin Eubanks, Associate Professor of Jazz Trombone, made several “Best of 2007” lists. A reviewer for the Philadelphia Inquirer noted the “overwhelming sonic wave” created by Eubanks’ masterful playing. In January 2007, he was named 2006 Jazz Trombonist of the Year by JazzTimes magazine. Eubanks performed with Dave Holland’s bands at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.; in Ann Arbor, San Francisco, and Mexico City; and on tour in Europe, Asia, and Australia, where they appeared at the Sydney Opera House. With his own band he toured five cities in Europe in April. In June the band performed at the Cambridge Music Festival and the Rochester International Jazz Festival and in Brazil at the Amazonas Jazz Festival. He was invited to join the San Francisco Jazz Collective, an all-star ensemble of jazz performers and composers that includes Joe Lovano, Dave Douglas, Miguel Zenón, Stefon Harris, Renee Rosnes, Eric Harland, and Matt Penman, and performed with them at the Montreal Jazz Festival. Eubanks completed his first tour with the band, with more than a dozen stops in Europe and the United States, in spring 2008. In May, Eubanks was elected to serve on the Board of Advisors of the International Trombone Association (ITA). An association of trombonists with 4,500 members from 65 countries, the ITA promotes the trombone and all trombone-related activities across the world.

Jamey Haddad, Visiting Associate Professor of Percussion, is a hand percussion specialist who has played with many world-renowned musicians. In December 2007, he performed with cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Miguel Harth-Bedoya, at Boston’s Symphony Hall. Ma and Haddad collaborated on Azul, a cello concerto composed by Argentine-born American Osvaldo Golijov. The program was streamed live by WGBH; the radio announcer introduced Haddad as an “iconic” percussionist who is Golijov’s “percussionist of choice.” At the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in April 2008, Haddad joined an all-star line-up, including David Byrne, Milton Nascimento, and Luciana Souza, for two weeks of performances with Paul Simon as a member of his band. In late April, he appeared with the Paul Winter Consort in Japan. In May, he performed in an evening of boundary-breaking music with Panamanian pianist Danilo Pérez, flamenco guitarist Gerardo Núñez, and bassist John Patitucci, accompanied by a flamenco dancer, at the Perelman Theater (Kimmel Center) in Philadelphia. Later that month, he joined Simon Shaheen for performances in Cairo, Egypt, and Beirut, Lebanon.

In 2007 and 2008, Jody Kerchner, Associate Professor of Music Education, presented at various conferences. She served as co-clinician with Professor of Music Education Peggy Bennett on “Mining for Meaning: The Alchemy of Music Mapping” at the New Directions in Music Education Conference at Michigan State and “Praxising Listening” at the Eastern Division Music Educators’ National Conference in Hartford, Conn.; and, with Peggy Bennett and Professor of Music Education Joanne Erwin, on “Teaching Music: A Vision Revisited” at the Music Educators’ National Conference in Milwaukee, Wis. She was a panelist on “Evolving with General Music Approaches in Methods Classes” at the Mountain Lake Colloquium for Teachers of General Music Methods. As keynote speaker at the 2008 Music EdVentures, Inc. conference in Portland, Ore., she addressed “Mapping for Meaning” and “Leading with Empathy: Giving and Sharing ‘Voice.’” Following research presentations at the Hong Kong Institute of Education in 2006, Kerchner was invited to host a two-week cultural exchange in Oberlin, sponsored by the Chinese government for 17 pre-service music educators and three faculty members in April 2007. The Hong Kong students participated in music education courses taught by members of Oberlin’s faculty, including a 15-hour course, Music and Lifelong Learning. They also visited local public schools and institutions and performed “This We Know” in English and Chinese as part of the Women’s Chorale concert. Kerchner is founder and director of the ensemble.

John Knight, Professor of Conducting and Ensembles and Music Education, contributed two articles to Instrumentalist magazine: “A Pro Goes to School,” which describes Sir Simon Rattle’s Oberlin visit, and “The Long Journey Home.” During his spring 2007 sabbatical, Knight traveled to Japan, where he conducted Grainger’s Lincolnshire Posy with outstanding wind ensembles in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka; conducted the Senri International School Wind Bands; and attended the Japanese Band Directors NEMU Band Convention in Hamamatsu. In China, he taught master classes in conducting and music education at the Shanghai Conservatory, Shenyang Conservatory, and the Central Conservatory of Music and Forren School of Music in Beijing. In May 2007, he served as guest conductor for the Lake Erie Music Festival of Bands at Cleveland State University. He conducted Teacher of Tuba Ronald Bishop and the Oberlin College Community Winds in a December 2007 concert that included Clarence Barber’s Concerto for Tuba, which was dedicated to Bishop for his years with the Cleveland Orchestra. Knight serves as resident conductor of the Ludwig Music Company.

The 2007–08 concert season found Yolanda Kondonassis, Assistant Professor of Harp, performing in recitals with the Rossetti String Quartet at the Orange County Performing Arts Center (Costa Mesa, Calif.) in November; the Wisconsin Union Theater (Madison, Wis.) in December; and in the Peoples’ Symphony Concerts series (New York City) in April. She also presented solo recitals of music by Debussy, Handel, Salzedo, Grandjany, and Scarlatti at Lyon & Healy Hall (Chicago) and Rowan University (Glassboro, N.J.) in February 2007, and at Benaroya Hall (Seattle) in March 2008. She finished the season in May with a 10-concert tour of New Zealand under the auspices of Chamber Music New Zealand.

In October 2007, the renowned Apollo’s Fire, the Cleveland Baroque Orchestra, performed a program titled “The Competition: Bach vs. The Others” at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland Heights. Founding member Michael Lynn, Professor of Recorder and Baroque Flute, presented pre-concert lectures detailing how Bach obtained his position as music director in Leipzig. The Cleveland Plain Dealer praised Lynn and Kathie Stewart, Teacher of Baroque Flute, as “vital soloists” in an evening of music played with “invigorating and haunting virtuosity.” In December, Apollo’s Fire released a well-received CD titled Christmas Vespers: Music of Michael Praetorius. In addition to regular concert appearances with Apollo’s Fire, broadcast on WKSU and WCPN, Lynn performed numerous concerts in spring 2007 with Tafelmusik in Toronto, Bach and the Baroque in Pittsburgh, and Mercury Baroque in Houston. During summer 2007, he appeared at the Cincinnati May Festival, the Colorado Music Festival in Boulder, and in concert with Performers and Artists for Nuclear Disarmament (PAND) in Cleveland. Of his performance in October 2007 with Mercury Baroque, the Houston Chronicle noted the “fine playing, including the flute work of Michael Lynn.” Lynn contributes a regular column to Flute Talk magazine.

Andrea McAlister, Assistant Professor of Piano Pedagogy, was a featured presenter at the Eighth Annual Piano Wellness Seminar in Arlington, Texas, in July 2007. Her presentation focused on the benefits of exercise and Pilates training to physical wellness on and off the piano bench. She also published an article titled “Time Out” in the March/ April 2007 issue of American Music Teacher and contributed to the Technique section of the winter issue of Keyboard Companion.

Professor of Violin Marilyn McDonald gave master classes in Columbus, Ohio; Denver, Colo.; and Baton Rouge, La. She continued performing with the Axelrod String Quartet in the regular concert series at the Smithsonian Institution, in addition to appearances with the Castle Trio in Seattle; Door County, Wis.; The Plains and Little Washington, Va.; and Washington, D.C. She led the Boston Baroque in its Jordan Hall series, and appeared at the Baroque Performance Institute in Oberlin and the Peninsula Music Festival in Wisconsin.

Under the baton of Professor of Conducting Robert Spano ’83, Associate Professor of Viola da Gamba and Cello Catharina Meints participated in a performance of the St. John Passion with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in March 2007. She performed with Apollo’s Fire, the Cleveland Baroque Orchestra, for three weeks of concerts that included a tour to Pennsylvania and New York. In summer 2007, she returned to the Cleveland Orchestra, from which she retired in 2006 after 35 years, as a substitute cellist for four weeks; her performances with them included Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier. She gave a master class and played Bach sonatas for viola da gamba with Associate Professor of Harpsichord Webb Wiggins at the July Pan-Pacific Gamba Gathering of the Viola da Gamba Society of America in Honolulu. At Oberlin, she performed with Professor of Bassoon George Sakakeeny and Friends at the Allen Art Museum and at Oberlin’s Baroque Performance Institute. In November, Meints appeared with Professor of Violin Marilyn McDonald and Webb Wiggins as the Oberlin Baroque Trio in Seattle.

Alison Melville, Assistant Professor of Recorder, played numerous concerts with the Toronto Consort for their Toronto subscription series and on tour in Quebec, Ontario, and Western Canada in summer 2007 and February 2008. She also appears on the Consort’s 2007 CD release, The Da Vinci Collection, for the Marquis label. Melville was artistic director for The Bird Project, a multi-media concert project with appearances in Oberlin and Toronto. She played a solo version of the program as part of Toronto’s “Nuit Blanche” in September 2007. Melville served on the jury for the second Montreal International Recorder Competition in September 2007. As a member of Tafelmusik, Melville performed with the ensemble in presentations that included Glück’s Orfeo ed Euridice, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and Magnificat, and Mozart’s Idomeneo. She can be heard on Tafelmusik’s Gloria in Excelsis Deo, a CD of music by Bach, Mondonville, and Vivaldi for Analekta, released in 2007. In March 2008, Naxos released a CD of Purcell’s theatre music with the Aradia Ensemble, featuring Melville. Also that month, she was a guest in regular and educational programs of Scottish and Irish Baroque music with Pittsburgh’s Chatham Baroque. With Ensemble Polaris, she participated in numerous performances of a new Nordic-inspired repertoire in spring 2008.

In October 2007, Steven Plank, Professor of Musicology and Director of the Collegium Musicum, was named the Alumni Fellow for the School of Music at the University of Louisville. He presented a lecture, “Reshaping the Image: a Look at the Diachronic Bach,” addressed the School of Music Convocation, and gave master classes to both the University Early Music Singers and the trumpet studio. Further, he performed on baroque trumpet and organ in a Festival of Bach Cantatas honoring the legacy of the eminent Bach scholar, Gerhard Herz. In August 2007, Plank accompanied trumpeter Barry Baugess on harpsichord and piano in his concert for the Historic Brass Society at a meeting held in Spartanburg, S.C. In February 2008, he presented a paper, “Sounds Amid the Shadows: Couperin and the Lessons of Tenebrae” at the symposium “Lamentation: Music, Text, and Interpretation” at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati; a developed version of this paper has been published as “A Serene Despair: François Couperin, the Repentant Magdalene, and the Lessons of Tenebrae” in the June 2008 issue of Goldberg.

Simón Bolívar University has appointed Professor of Bassoon George Sakakeeny to teach the first-ever master’s degree in bassoon in Venezuela. Since May 2007, he has led seminars for bassoon teachers and taught master classes to orchestra members of the National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras of Venezuela, commonly known as El Sistema, and he performed a solo recital with piano
in Caracas as part of El Sistema’s first Festival of Winds. In 2007, he taught in the first annual Advanced Bassoon Institute at Interlochen and was appointed to a faculty position at Interlochen Arts Camp, teaching bassoon and coaching the wind sections of the two high school orchestras. Also in 2007, under the partial sponsorship of Oberlin Shansi, Sakakeeny and the Oberlin Bassoon Quartet (OBQ) performed concerts at the Central Conservatory of Music (Beijing), the Shanghai Conservatory of Music (Changsha, Hunan province), and the Xinghai Conservatory of Music (Guangzhou). Sakakeeny also taught master classes at each location. With the OBQ, he visited the Interlochen Arts Academy for a similar residency in October. In November, they participated in a special tribute concert for Sakakeeny’s former teacher, K. David Van Hoesen, at the Eastman School of Music.

Professor of Viola Peter Slowik contributed a chapter to The String Teacher’s Cookbook: Creative Recipes for a Successful Program (Meredith Music). The book is described as a “stimulating collection of unique concepts on becoming a successful teacher/performer by 57 of today’s most outstanding string professionals.” In July 2007, he taught master classes and participated as a faculty member in a chamber music performance at the Heifetz International Music Institute in New Hampshire. Slowik also taught master classes at the Lynn University Conservatory of Music in fall 2007.

Teacher of Baroque Flute Kathie Stewart played in several dozen performances with Apollo’s Fire, the Cleveland Baroque Orchestra, including Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks; Bach’s St. John Passion; “Scarborough Fayre: Traditional Tunes from England, Scotland and the New World”; “The Competition: Bach vs. The Others”; “Lovers and Lyres: the Worlds of Monteverdi”; and “A Christmas Vespers: Music of Michael Praetorius.” She played on two Apollo’s Fire recordings released in 2007, Don Quixote: Concertos and Suites by Telemann and Christmas Vespers: Music of Michael Praetorius. In July 2007, the Conservatory named Stewart Curator of Harpsichords; during winter term 2008, with Piano Technician and Curator of Fortepianos Robert Murphy and four students, she restored the Conservatory’s 1965 Dowd Italian Harpsichord.

Peter Takács, Professor of Piano, lectured on “Wrestling with the Score” at the Music Teachers National Association National Conference in Toronto in March 2007, and on “Where They Live” at the World Piano Pedagogy Conference in Las Vegas in November. In August 2007, he was a faculty member at Tel-Hai International Piano Master Classes and performed at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in Israel. He presented an all-Beethoven solo recital at the University of California, Irvine in November. Takács was a member of the classical music panel at the youngARTS Week meeting of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts in Miami, Fla., in January 2008, and served as a member of the jury at the 2008 Hilton Head International Piano Competition. He appeared as guest pianist at the Charleston Music Fest in January 2008 and as artist-in-residence at the University of Wisconsin – Madison in March. This summer he was a member of the faculty at the ARIA International Summer Academy at Williams College in June; the Montecito Summer Music Festival at Santa Barbara, Calif., in July; and the Helsingborg Piano Festival in Helsingborg, Sweden, in August.

Milan Vitek, Professor of Violin, taught three one-week master classes in February 2008 at the University of Gothenburg (Sweden); the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen, Denmark; and the Carl Nielsen Academy of Music in Odense, Denmark. In 2007, Vitek was appointed Honorary Professor at the Carl Nielsen Academy of Music and President of the Jury of the Carl Nielsen International Violin Competition, held in May 2008.

Michael Rosen’s Rhythm Nation

Michael Rosen

Michael Rosen (photo by Roger Mastroianni)

Professor of Percussion Michael Rosen, Director of the Woodwinds, Brass and Percussion Division, occasionally looks far afield to satisfy his musical tastes. Shortly after arriving at Oberlin in 1972, following nine seasons as principal percussion with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, he developed a passion for solo marimba music. Aside from a few works by Japanese composers, there wasn’t much out there.

Undaunted, he contacted one of his favorite marimba players in Japan, Keiko Abe, to ask about new works for the instrument; he liked what he had heard on one of her albums—music written for her by Akira Miyoshi, Maki Ishii, and Minoru Miki. From his Oberlin studio, he phoned the composers in Japan and asked for the music. He subsequently presented their U.S. premieres and, in 1976, the European premieres as well.

Marimba music has since blossomed, globally and in Rosen’s studio. “It’s important for my students and me to be on the front lines of new music,” he says, “and to help provide composers with a forum for their ideas.”

His students, he finds, are increasingly interested in 20th- and 21st-century music. Unlike those in earlier decades, he says, first-years arrive in his studio “thinking more like eighth blackbird”—the Grammy-winning sextet formed at Oberlin—and they’ve got the chops to match. “When I first started teaching at Oberlin, all of the pieces on Oberlin Percussion Group concerts were conducted, even the trios! Now we’ll play the most complex piece without a conductor. The kids show up better prepared and more knowledgeable about contemporary music.”

Rosen is always on the lookout for unknown works by major European composers such as Berio, Levinas, Ligeti, Nono, Birtwistle, and Xenakis, some of whom he’s worked with directly, in many cases presenting U.S. premieres. He’s also game for collaborating with composers at Oberlin.

For 36 years, Rosen has been grooming young musicians at Oberlin—and holding picnics for them at the home he shares with his wife, Professor of Singing Marlene Ralis Rosen. (His culinary expertise is legendary.)

Because technical precision is a given for Oberlin musicians and his studio is relatively small, he has time to give each student personal attention, focusing on their artistic development and understanding. “I teach my students specifics about music and show them how to generalize these ideas, and I also teach generalizations that they can use in specific situations,” he says. “It’s more than just ‘is everybody together?’ It’s deeper and more profound. It’s about the piece and how they learn to understand the music, to answer the questions that the music asks. I try to teach them how to learn, to figure things out for themselves. That’s an integral part of the experience. The teaching goes on in the studio. The learning goes on in the practice room.”

This mantra applies no matter whom he is teaching. Many of Rosen’s pupils also earn degrees in other subjects through Oberlin’s double-degree program; some of them end up pursuing the nonmusical career. That’s fine by him. Whether a student intends to perform professionally or become an economist, “The things they learn about life and practicing here in the percussion studio are useful,” he says. “Music will be an important part of their lives. I’m fortunate to be involved in the process of helping students develop personally as well as musically.”

The Song of Roland

Roland Pandolfi

Roland Pandolfi (photo by Roger Mastroianni).

Professor of Horn Roland Pandolfi is never far from home. Thats true on three accounts. First, he lives in Oberlin, so as to be readily accessible to the 13 to 15 students in his studio. Im not the kind of teacher who avoids a personal connection, he says. And there are times when humor is important. I am very demanding of my students but I try to be humane about it.

Second, he and his wife, Sara Mattson Pandolfi ’60, a violist, return occasionally to his fathers homeland in the province of Pesaro, Italy, to sample cooking and perfect their favorite dishes.

Third, and perhaps most important, after more than 40 years of teaching and performing, he has never strayed from his beloved instrument. The first horn sound he ever heard was his own; an event that took place when he was 14 years old would change his life. But more about that in a moment.

Since coming to Oberlin in 2001, Pandolfi has been more passionate about music than ever. Im still really into the horn, he says. I cant imagine the day when I close up the case and say Thats it. The journey is never over.

Decades of close collaboration with students here and elsewhere have confirmed for Pandolfi what works and what doesnt. One example of something that works is training young players to think vocally. After students sing a solo or tude, they usually realize how it should sound on the horn, Pandolfi explains.

After 39 years with the Milwaukee and St. Louis symphonies, all of them as principal, Pandolfi is a master of flexibility, especially when it comes to repertoire. Like many horn players, he has a penchant for Mozart concertos, Beethoven symphonies, and Romantic-period scoresand he loves Mahler, the Fifth Symphony in particular: You can really get into this music. The horn parts are not so sketchy and you get to be more involved. He says that hes played most traditional orchestral music; indeed, hes had to play all kinds of music, and when Im playing it, I enjoy it. Hes also open-minded about matters of style. You can play with a lot of personality without destroying what the composer had in mind, he says. You dont want to be outside the parameters of good taste, but you can be distinctive.

As it happens, the allure of being distinctive is what led Pandolfi to the horn in the first placeand kept him there. He was a piano-playing teenager when, one day, his brother, Nedo, 11 years his senior, brought home a horn from a fellow student at the New England Conservatory of Music. Like a scene from the great French epic poem come to life, his brother handed him the horn. Play this, he said. Not many people do, and youll probably get a job. Hes followed that advice ever since.