Wins Top Chamber Music Prize
It started as a chamber music assignment.
In 1998, junior cellist Yoonie Choi and artist-diploma students Debbie
Mun, a pianist, and Hristo Popov, a violinist, were assigned to perform
together at the suggestion of Popov's teacher, Professor of Violin
Taras Gabora at the Oberlin-at-Casalmaggiore Festival. By the end
of the festival, the trio's love of chamber music inspired them to
create their own ensemble, taking their name from the Italian city
where it all began.
The members of the trio were rewarded for their efforts with a first
prize in the Ohio Orchestra and String Teachers Association's Third
Biennial Chamber Music Competition, held in February at Bowling Green
"Playing in this trio is amazing," says Choi, who studies
with Professor of Violoncello Peter Rejto. "Piano trios require
a special technique, combining strong solo playing and a balanced
ensemble. It's really incredible."
The group has performed concerts in the United States, including two
Steinway Hall concerts in Dallas, and in Europe, including Popov's
native Bulgaria, and plans to continue performing together after Mun
and Choi, both natives of Korea, graduate. Their playing was described
by the Bulgarian magazine Musical Horizons as "a full-blooded
mixture of sounds with perfectly synchronized ensemble."
The group has been named trio-in-residence at the Park City International
Music Festival in Utah this summer, and their debut CD will be released
later in 2001.
-Charity Lofthouse '99
Rogue Squadron Sweeps Jazz Fest
Referring to Rogue Squadron by name seems premature, since juniors
Jason Brown, J.Q. Whitcomb, Adam Faulk, Calvin Barnes, and sophomore
Steve Wood have played together only a few times. Yet their presence,
spontaneity, and cohesion even without instruments displaces
any doubt regarding their legitimacy as a jazz ensemble.
One member's account flows into the next as they describe winning
the Elmhurst College Jazz Festival in February.
Just three weeks before the event, Brown, a drummer from New Rochelle,
New York, had learned about the competition from Professor of Jazz
Studies and Double Bass Peter Dominguez. Flirting with time, he contacted
the other students only days before they were to perform. "It
was against all odds," Brown says, admitting they had never played
By performance time, they had two rehearsels under their belt. Yet,
despite its beginnings, Rogue Squadron prevailed over 34 college jazz
ensembles assembled at the Chicago-area festival, performing Oberlin
faculty member Don Walden's Sowetto-Detroit, Bud Powell's Oblivion,
John Coltrane's Just for the Love, and Tad Demeron's On
a Misty Night.
"Our goal for the competition was to play well, and we did,"
says Whitcomb, a trumpet player from Santa Fe, New Mexico. Winning
also garnered the group an invitation to open for Clark Terry, who
performed the festival's final act.
The musicians attribute their success to the Oberlin jazz faculty's
value on playing with each other. "The Oberlin faculty tries
hard to make the jazz department one big family," says pianist
Faulk, who is from Oberlin. "And that's what we were out there."
"We expect our students to bring their individual talents to
the table and contribute to an outcome larger than the sum of its
parts," says Dominguez.
-Liz Fox '00
Obies Receive Awards in Sorantin Competition
Three Oberlin students took awards in the annual Sorantin Young Artist
Competition, held November 17 through 19 in San Angelo, Texas.
Percussionist Adam Sliwinski, a senior from Hudson, Ohio, was alternate
winner in the competition's final round and winner of the instrumental
division. In the voice division, second-year artist-diploma student
Zara Barrett of Chelmer, Australia, was alternate winner, and senior
Michael Preacely, of Chicago, Illinois, received an honorable mention.
Sliwinski studies with Professor of Percussion Michael Rosen. Barrett
and Preacely study with Wheeler Professor of Music Richard Miller.
Nine Oberlin students competed in the event, which is sponsored by
the San Angelo Symphony Association.
"I was humbled and overwhelmed to do as well as I did,"
The experience was also a chance to connect with other Oberlin students,
Sliwinski says. "There was a real sense of fellowship and goodwill
in the Oberlin group, and we created a bond. The relaxed atmosphere
was less competitive and more supportive."
Barrett agrees. "Everyone was friendly and encouraging, and this
was a wonderful part of the competition."
The competition's locale added to the experience, says Sliwinski.
"There is a thriving arts community in San Angelo; the people
of the community were definitely enthusiastic about the event and
excited to hear the performances."
-Charity Lofthouse '99
Concerto Competition Winners
Six seniors are winners in Oberlin's 2000-01 Concerto Competition.
Pianist Angelina Gadeliya, from the Republic of Georgia, Russia; violist
Maiya Papach, from LaGrange, Illinois; pianist Fan Yang, from Huainan,
in China's Anhui province; and, from Seoul, South Korea, pianist Sungha
Lee, violinist Hee-Guen Song, and violinist Sungmin Yoo were chosen
from a field of 19 finalists.
"Each finalist performed with high technical achievement and
a distinctive individual personality and flair," says Professor
of Viola Peter Slowik, one of the jurors. "It was obvious to
me why they had advanced from their rigorous competition in division
overall performance quality was "fantastic," says fellow
juror Paul Polivnick, music director of Oberlin's orchestras. "The
preparation level and talent were extraordinary. The performances
were consistently wonderful this year."
The jury included one faculty member from each performance division,
one faculty member from a non-performance division, and an outside
adjudicator. Aside from Slowik and Polivnick, this year's judges included
Lorraine Manz, associate professor of singing; Lydia Frumkin, professor
of pianoforte; Claudia Macdonald, associate professor of musicology;
and James Caldwell, professor of oboe. William Hebert, recently retired
piccoloist with the Cleveland Orchestra, served as outside adjudicator.
Polivnick was scheduled to conduct all but one of the concerts for
the winners' featured performances.
-Marci Janas '91
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