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Conservatory Faculty, Students and the St. Petersburg Quartet to Perform Works by Richard Hoffmann and His Former Students in Hoffmann Tribute Concert, Wednesday, December 8, 8 p.m., in Finney Chapel

Story by Claire Chase

  

"It gives me great pleasure to invite you to a special concert honoring Richard Hoffmann's forty-five years of service to the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music," says Conservatory Dean Robert Dodson. "Wednesday's concert will feature works by Professor Hoffmann and two of his former students, Walter Winslow and Fred Chance. I hope you will be able to join us as we celebrate Professor Hoffmann's extraordinary continuing commitment to the Conservatory and its students." The tribute to Richard Hoffmann, who was appointed to Oberlin in 1954, is entitled "Ever More Returning..." It will be presented on Wednesday, December 8, at 8 p.m., in Finney Chapel. It is free and open to the public.

The program will feature the following pieces:

  • Walter Winslow's Conversations with the Muse at Pele'ilia Creek, performed by members of the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble including:

    Eric Lamb, alto flute

    Laura Barbieri, clarinet

    JiSun Yang, violin

    Joshua Aerie, cello

    Emily Manzo, piano

    Walter (Hudie) Broughton, percussion

    Mitchell Arnold, conductor

  • Fred Chance's bloom for Piano Trio and Soprano, with:

    Antoinette Arnold (OC '92), soprano

    Erica Decker, violin

    Kivie Cahn-Lipman, cello

    Mark Barden, piano

    Paul Polivnick, conductor

  • Richard Hoffman's String Quartet No. 3 ("On revient toujours") performed by Oberlin's quartet-in-residency, St. Petersburg String Quartet:

    Alla Aranovskaya, violin

    Ilya Teplyakov, violin

    Aleksey, viola

    Leonid Ashukayev, cello


  • Hoffmann's Die Heimkehr for Voice, Orchestra and Double Chorus, performed by:
    Gerald Crawford, bass-baritone
    The Oberlin Chamber Orchestra
    The Oberlin College Choir
    Hugh Ferguson Floyd, conductor

Scored for sextet and prepared for performance by two of the composer's colleagues, Winslow's Conversations with the Muse at Pele'ilia Creek (1998) is described by Mitchell Arnold, Visiting Assistant Professor of Conducting, in this way: "The piece is a 'posthumous fragment,' as we finish before the piece should have ended, and don't know whether Winslow died before the last note, or whether he just ceased composing. Winslow pays careful attention to color and phrase shapes, while two chorale-like passages alternate with more rapid, aggressive episodes. The fragment, despite its incomplete nature, stands alone artistically, and is a kinetically-charged work."

Tony Arnold, soprano
Fred Chance's bloom (1985), based on a text from James Joyce's Ulysses, is scored for soprano, violin, cello and piano. Soprano Tony Arnold, who graduated from Oberlin in 1992 and has since gone on to establish herself as a leading artist in the field of contemporary repertoire, explains that "Joyce's text, which is a classic example of the author's rhythmic use of nonsense language, depicts a wonderfully coloristic scene expounding upon, among many other things, the sounds of horses's hooves. Chance then further expands on Joyce's rhythmic coloration of the text, and what results is a delightfully bizarre rhythmic playground."

The St. Petersburg Quartet
Richard Hoffmann's String Quartet No. 3 "On revient toujours" was written in 1972 and is comprised of four movements, two of which are to be played before intermission while the remaining two will be played after intermission. St. Petersburg Quartet violinist Ilya Teplyakov, says that the Quartet No. 3 is "a piece about always returning, always coming back, as suggested by the title 'On Revient Toujours.' Hoffmann wrote this piece in many different places, in Vienna, then in New Zealand, and America. We've had a very interesting and pleasant experience learning it, and evolving our understanding and interpretation of the piece. We have tremendous respect for Richard, and we have very much enjoyed working with him on this piece."

Hoffmann's Die Heimkehr for Voice, Orchestra and Double Chorus (1997) is based on a text by Georg Trakl, and is divided into five movements of contrasting instrumentation. Movement I is scored for winds, brass, harp, chorus and baritone; movement II is for piano, harp and baritone; movement III is written for string quartet and baritone; movement IV for woodwind quintet; and the final movement V is scored for full orchestra and baritone. Professor of Singing and Director of Division of Vocal Studies Gerald Crawford will be the featured bass-baritone soloist in this performance with the Oberlin Chamber Orchestra and Oberlin College Choir.

About Richard Hoffmann

Professor of Composition and Music Theory Richard Hoffmann, appointed at Oberlin in 1954, served as Arnold Schoenberg's secretary-amenuensis from 1947-1951. Hoffmann received the National Institute of Arts and Letters Award in 1966, Guggenheim Fellowships in 1970-1 and 1977-8, and National Endowment for the Arts grants in 1976-77, 1978 and 1979. Hoffmann also co-edited the Schoenberg Gesamtausgabe. He was a Visiting Professor at the University of California at Berkeley from 1955-6, and has taught at the University of New Zealand, Harvard University, University of Iowa and Vienna University. Hoffmann served as the director of the Schonberg Seminar, and was the director of the Internationale Shoenberg Institute in Vienna.

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