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Oberlin College Choir to Perform With
the Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall

By Jennifer Spitulnik '01




The Oberlin College Choir, a select ensemble of College and Conservatory students, will perform Bach’s Cantata No. 56, "Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen," with The Cleveland Orchestra and bass-baritone soloist Thomas Quasthoff at Severance Hall on March 1, 2 and 3. All performances are at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $26 to $61 and are available by calling The Cleveland Orchestra ticket office at (216) 231-1111 or 1-800-686-1141, or by ordering online at www.clevelandorchestra.com.

Special Announcement: Oberlin College students may purchase half-price tickets to these concerts by bringing valid student identification to the box office. The Severance Hall Box Office is open from 9am to 6pm weekdays, and through intermission on concert evenings.

Franz Welser-Möst will conduct The Cleveland Orchestra for the program, which also includes Shostakovich's Symphony No. 14. Welser-Möst has served as the Zürich Opera's music director since 1995; beginning with the 2002-03 concert season, he will assume leadership of The Cleveland Orchestra. Quasthoff recently received a Grammy nomination in the "Best Classical Vocal Performance" category for his recording of Brahms and Liszt lieder.

The Oberlin College Choir has a history of performing with The Cleveland Orchestra. Each chance to do so, says Michael Slon, visiting instructor of choral conducting, "presents a tremendous experience for Oberlin's young musicians. The Cleveland Orchestra is perhaps the best in the country. To hear an ensemble of this caliber, let alone perform with it, is one of the greatest opportunities possible for these students."

Slon is preparing the choir for its Cleveland performances. He believes that the experience will be a formative one for this group, and will strengthen its sense of ensemble. He has no doubt that the choir will acquit itself well.

"The particular stylistic demands of singing Bach might be new for some of these singers, but I think they are perfectly up to it," he says. In fact, he has been extremely pleased with the ensemble's work this year. "These are very talented, intelligent and inspired singers with a tremendous work ethic. The challenge is to keep them growing musically so they have a sense of the high-level ensemble music making that is possible here at Oberlin. My goal is usually the same: to lead and inspire a group to reach its potential and to keep the process engaging by exposing singers to new repertory and performance opportunities."

In this respect, the Oberlin College Choir is in the midst of an adventurous semester. Besides the Severance Hall concerts, members of the group worked with Moses Hogan during his recent visit to campus. The ensemble will also perform, under Slon's direction, a program of Baroque music in Finney Chapel with the Oberlin Baroque Orchestra in April, and 20th century works with the Musical Union in May.

Founded in 1929 by Olaf C. Christiansen as the Oberlin A Cappella Choir, the Oberlin College Choir performs a wide variety of a capella and accompanied choral literature. In 1964, under the direction of Robert Fountain, the ensemble sang 39 concerts in the former Soviet Union and in Romania as part of the Cultural Exchange Program of the U. S. State Department. Since 1997, the choir has been conducted by Assistant Professor of Choral Conducting Hugh Floyd, who is on sabbatical this year.

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