David Breitman Called 'Most Sensitive of Fortepianist;'
J. Reilly Lewis' Work Is 'Lovingly Detailed' in D.C. Concert

Associate Professor of Historical Performance David Breitman's February Kennedy Center performance of Beethoven's Choral Fantasy, with J. Reilly Lewis '67 conducting the Washington Bach Consort, inspired a Washington Post reviewer to write: "Breitman proved the most sensitive of ortepianists, drawing a supple singing line from his unusually even, full-bodied instrument."

Aside from being smitten with Breitman's fortepiano playing, the Post's Joe Banno questioned, with more than a twinge of longing, why Lewis' "taut, red-blooded, and lovingly detailed work" with the Consort doesn't appear at the Kennedy Center more often.

Breitman's instrument is a fortepiano similar to one owned by Beethoven toward the end of his life, and to one given by Conrad Graf, builder of Beethoven's piano, to Robert and Clara Schumann for their wedding.

Roger J. Regier of Freeport, Maine, built the instrument for Breitman in 1995 after having spent several years working on the restoration and maintenance of the instrument collection at the Finchcocks Living Museum of Music in Kent, England – a collection that includes two Graf pianos. Referring to Graf as likely the most famous builder in Vienna between 1820 and 1850, Breitman says, "My piano has a range of six and a half octaves, and four pedals – damper, una corda, moderator, and double moderator."

Although acquainted with a number of the players in the orchestra, the concert marked the first time Breitman had performed with Lewis and the Consort. "I was amazed at how many orchestra members are Oberlin graduates," he says. "I enjoyed working with Reilly Lewis, who was enthusiastic and supportive."

Lewis is recognized internationally as an accomplished conductor and keyboard artist, as well as a leading specialist of baroque music, particularly the music of J.S. Bach. He founded the Washington Bach Consort in 1977 and is the group's music director.

Breitman, director of Oberlin's Historical Performance Program, is as comfortable with the modern piano as he is with the fortepiano and his growing discography reflects his versatility. He recently recorded a major new song cycle by the Cuban-American composer Jorge Martin with baritone Sanford Sylvan, after giving the 65-minute work its New York premiere at Carnegie Hall last May. This was his fourth recital recording with Sylvan, following Beloved that Pilgrimage (20th-century American song cycles), Schubert's Die schöne Müllerin, and an all-Fauré disc, L'horizon chimerique, in 1996. Pilgrimage and the Fauré were nominated for Grammy awards.

Also in 2000, Breitman released a four-CD set on the Amberola label of Mozart's fortepiano-violin sonatas with Jean François Rivest.

Breitman has also been involved in another large and unusual project: a Beethoven piano sonata cycle on original instruments, shared among seven fortepianists. This series, originally presented in eight concerts at New York's Merkin Concert Hall in 1994 and recorded for CLAVES, was repeated in
2000 at the Accademia Bartolomeo Cristofori in Florence.

Highlights of Breitman's current season include performances of Mozart and Beethoven quintets with members of Tafelmusik in Toronto and an all-Beethoven recital with cellist Antonio Lysy for the CBC in Montreal.

Lewis and the Consort have made several recordings. In 1989, they recorded a compact disc, featuring the complete motets of J.S. Bach on the Pro Organo label. The group released their newest compact disc, the Magnificats of J.S. Bach and His Son, C.P.E. Bach, in February 1999 on the Newport Classic label. «

Composer Jeffrey Mumford Premieres Works in Cleveland and Washington, D.C.
Jeffrey Mumford's composition a still radiance within dark air was at first a work for solo piano and four instruments. Mumford, Oberlin's newly appointed assistant professor of composition, expanded the orchestral boundaries of the 1995 piece at the request of Edwin London '52, artistic director and principal conductor of the Cleveland Chamber Symphony. It premiered in November 2000 under the baton of Andrew Rindfleisch. Robert Shannon '71, professor of pianoforte, was guest soloist.

Cleveland Plain Dealer music critic Donald Rosenberg wrote that the work "claims a coloristic glow created by the leisurely unfolding of layered lines . . . with gleaming touches evoking poetic sonic imagery."

In December Mumford returned to his hometown Washington, D.C., where his neighborhood paper, The Washington Post, hailed him as "one of the country's finest young composers," for the premiere of as a spray of reflected meadowlight informs the air. Presented at the Corcoran Gallery of Art by the Contemporary Music Forum, Joseph McLellan, writing in The Post, called the composition for alto saxophone, violin, and percussion "a highlight of the evening."

In January at the Chamber Music America (CMA) Conference, held in New York City, Mumford was invited to join in a discussion of the participation and success of blacks in the field of chamber music in general, and their participation in CMA in particular.

In February Wendy Richman '01, a viola performance major, performed Mumford's revisiting variazioni elegiaci, which he had arranged for her, in a chamber music program presented by the Cleveland Composers Guild. His filaments was offered in a March MusicNOW concert at Chicago's Symphony Center, with Cliff Colnot conducting musicians from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The program also featured George Walker's '41 Wind Set.

Also in March, Mumford served on the Illinois Arts Council's Artists Fellowship Program in Music Composition and in April on the Massachusetts Cultural Council's composer panel.

Cloud imagery inspires Mumford's compositions, he says. "I am fascinated by the layers that result by the differing rates of speed at which clouds move," he explains. "I am interested in setting up layers of simultaneous activity in which musical lines often develop independently of each other."

Mumford has received several new commissions in 2001, including those from the National Symphony Orchestra; the Nancy Ruyle Dodge Charitable Trust (for the Corigliano Quartet); the Empyrean Ensemble, in residence at the University of California, Davis; violist Wendy Richman; and a consortium of St. Paul, innesota's Schubert Club, New York's Miller Theater, and the Phillips Collection in ashington, D.C. (for pianist Margaret Kampmeier).

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