Ensemble 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 State University.

"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 together.

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," says Sliwinski.

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

Oberlin 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 preliminaries."

The 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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