PROF'S PICS: What the profs are listening to and reading

Anna Rubin, assistant professor of composition

(IMG: Anna Rubin)My listening montage in any given month usually includes samples of any and all of the following: electro-acoustic, contemporary from the last 20 years, Klezmer, Renaissance/ Baroque, Brazilian and Andean. My favorite in the listening category this month is Fort Profonde by French-Canadian composer Francis Dhomont. This hour long piece, which he describes as an acousmatic melodrama, is a brilliant weave of gorgeous music, fairy tales, psychology commentary and brutal reporting from Holocaust victims. Dhomont manages to draw the listener through a variety of listening landscapes, with just enough variety to keep the ear engaged, and enough repetition to maintain a sinuous web of acoustic and semantic links.

When it comes to reading, I am blessed with a reading buddy. We read to each other every day: in the kitchen, in the car, at the dining table, at bedtime, and in venues that shouldn't be mentioned in polite company. This month we've knocked off four Hardy Boy mysteries and Ronald Dahl's Charlie and the Glass Elevator (which turns out to have some delightful political satire). We are also patiently plowing through Tolkien's Twin Towers at the rate of about 40 pages a week. Old Mad magazines discovered at the barbershop (and hurriedly edited) were a hoot for both of us. This communal reading is a refreshing delight and one I hope won't vanish as my buddy grows up.

Almita Vamos, professor of violin

(IMG: Almita Vamos)I'm listening to the Mahler symphonies. Why? Because my husband put the CD in car tape deck. I'm trying to familiarize myself with some of the symphonies that I do not know. I'm also always listening to music played by current and older famous violinists. I like to keep in touch with modern trends in performance practice and to compare them to the traditional approaches of the past.

Whenever I have a spare moment, such as before going to bed, I love to read. After listening briefly to the news on television about lunatics in our government, it's a welcome reprieve to bury myself in fiction that takes me far from the realities of the present world. I recently finished reading The Secret Garden by Donna Tartt, a compelling mystery. I am now engrossed in a true story, Turbulent Souls by Stephen Dubner, a recounting of a Catholic son's return to his Jewish family. I am also reading Bound Feet and Western Dress by Pang Mei Natasha Change, a story that reconciles Chinese tradition and modern Western ideas. I particularly like to read books that deal with people and their life struggles.

Michel Debost, professor of flute

(IMG: DeBost)I'm listening to voices (leider, opera), particularly the Beethoven quartets and Bruckner symphonies, which are a world into themselves. The voice - the most expressive medium - is a natural complement to playing and teaching wind instruments.

I'm reading a lot of news and stock market magazines. I'm reading the novels of Paul Auster, William Styron and Jim Harrison in English. And I'm reading the work of Baudelaire, Victor Hugo, Brassens, Paul Eluard, Aragon and Ch. Aznavour in French.

Neal Creque, teacher of jazz piano

A series celebrating the genius of Duke Ellington from January through August 1999, is the agenda for the coming months in Cleveland. Therefore I'm preparing myself for my performances by listening to Ellington, including his Jungle Band Music from the '20s and '30s.

Most of my reading concerns cancer cures and natural medicines. As a concerned patient, I feel it is important to enhance the body's natural ability to maintain and heal itself. Presently, I am reading a book by Andrew Weil, M.D., titled Spontaneous Healing.


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