Priscilla Smith, Professor Emerita of Music Education
Priscilla Smith, professor emerita of music education, died
March 10 at her home in Florida. She was 74.
Smith joined the Oberlin faculty in 1973 after teaching for
14 years at other institutions. She was chair of the Music Education
division at the Oberlin Conservatory for nine years. An associate
conductor of the Northern Ohio Youth Orchestra, from 1976 until
1981, she became music director in 1982-83. She served widely
on faculty committees and councils.
After retiring from Oberlin in 1991, she spent a year teaching
at the Punahou School in Hawaii. Later, in Florida, she played
the cello, taught at Edison College, and conducted string workshops
for high-school students.
Smith was a graduate of Indiana University and received her
Bachelor and Master of Science degrees there. She studied cello
with Luigi Silva and Fritz Magg and played in the Indianapolis
Philharmonic as well as the Fort Lauderdale, Miami Beach, and
Two sisters and 19 nieces and nephews survive her.
A scholarship fund has been established in her memory at Oberlin.
Contributions can be sent in care of the fund to Oberlin Conservatory
Development, Bosworth Hall, 50 W. Lorain St., Oberlin, OH 44074-1089.
In March Professor of Electronic and Computer Music Gary Lee
Nelson and his wife, Christine Gorbach, a painter and video artist,
presented a program at Oberlin featuring the world premieres of four
films: Hierarchy, Charitoo, Death and Transfiguration, and
Light Song. Nelson says the works represent "a substantially
new direction in our creative work."
Accepted at several U.S. and international festivals, Hierarchy was
on view in the spring at the Cleveland Institute of Art, the Florida
Electroacoustic Music Festival, and the Peabody Conservatory. It can
be viewed online at www.wigged.net.
Professor of Musicology Steven Plank wrote an article on Hildegard
of Bingen that is included in Women in World History: A Biographical
Encyclopedia (Yorkin Publications, 1999). In October Plank conducted
a performance at the Cleveland Museum of Art of Carissimi's oratorio
Jephte with the soloists and choir of St. Paul's Episcopal
Church of Cleveland Heights, Ohio. In November he chaired a session
on brass historiography at the meeting of the Historic Brass Society
in Toronto where he presented a paper, "Old Ways and New: Brass Historiography
for the Coming Age."
The December 27, 2000, issue of the Louisville (Kentucky) Courier
Journal featured a profile of Plank that included a large photo
of him holding a "natural trumpet ‚ a valveless instrument at its
height in the eighteenth-century."
Professor of Violoncello Peter Rejto gave the United States
premiere of Gerard Schurmann's cello concerto, The Gardens of Exile,
November 2000 in Oberlin, with the composer in attendance. Rejto gave
the world premiere of the work with the Bournemouth Symphony in 1991
and has recorded it for Equilibrium Records. Rejto also gave a recital
in Detroit at the Henry Ford Estate, and played concerts with the
Los Angeles Piano Quartet in Orlando, Florida, Toronto, Canada, St.
Paul, Minnesota, and Amherst, Massachusetts. His 1975 performance
of Dvorak's String Quintet, op. 77, was included on the 50th anniversary
Marlboro Festival CD, which was released in 2000 on Sony Classical.
The CD received the Deutsche Schallplatten Preis in Germany and is
reviewed in the January 2000 issue of Gramophone.
Assistant Professor of Composition Anna Rubin, a recipient
of an Ohio Arts Council's Individual Artist Grant in 2000, served
on the Council's 2001 award-selection panel. She also participated
in two other selection panels ‚ the music-performances' panel at the
Society for Electro-Acoustic Music's U.S. Conference and the paper-selection
panel for the International Computer Music Conference in Beijing.
Recent performances of Rubin's compositions include Seachanges
for amplified gamba and digital audio, performed at the Society for
Electro-Acoustic Music's conference; Landmine for MIDI flute,
live electronics, and digital audio, commissioned by Fiona Wilkinson
for the Music from the Forefront series at Bowling Green State University;
Viola a Tre, for three violas, in a Cleveland Composers Guild
concert; Two for Baroque Flute Duo, performed at Princeton
University; and Stolen for amplified baroque oboe, live processing,
and digital audio, performed at Oberlin's OCEAN Festival.
In October Rubin's Family Stories: Sophie, Sally ‚ a computer-generated
text/sound work ‚ was performed at the University of Louisiana, Baton
Rouge and as part of a lecture by Bonnie Mikisch at Luther College
in Decorah, Iowa. Rubin has also written reviews of new CDs featuring
computer music by Ned Boulhallasa and Jacques Tremblay for recent
issues of Computer Music Journal. Rubin earned a Ph.D. in December
from Princeton University.
In November, Cleveland Plain Dealer music critic Donald
Rosenberg quoted Associate Professor of Bassoon George Sakakeeny and
Associate Professor of Singing Marlene Ralis Rosen in an article about
faculty members performing where they teach. The "genesis" of the
Oberlin Faculty Chamber Music Series, Sakakeeny said, was "the idea
that we could mix together and get to know one another as artists,
as musicians, as performers." Rosen said performing reminded faculty
members of their students' "struggles, of their problems with nerves,
the memory, the attempts at communication . . . (Performing) helps
me find new strategies for them and myself."
Professor of Viola Peter Slowik presented master classes in
November 2000 for the Ohio Viola Society at Baldwin-Wallace College
in Cleveland and for the Seattle Viola Society at the University of
Washington. He also performed a benefit concert that month for CREDO
Chamber Music Association in Chicago.
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