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Oberlin Dedicates New C.B. Fisk Organ
With Live Broadcasts of Concerts on WCLV 104.9 FM

Musicians Dedicate Concert Performance to Victims of September 11 Terrorist Attacks

By Marci Janas '91



Schedule of Events for the Inaugural Weekend


On Friday, September 28, Finney Chapel will resonate with the sounds of Oberlin College’s new, 4,014 pipe organ, played in concert for the first time. The dedication of The Kay Africa Memorial organ, built by C. B. Fisk, Inc., of Gloucester, Mass., is the centerpiece of a weekend of concerts and events.

An orchestral concert Friday, September 28, at 8:30 p.m., features the Oberlin Orchestra, conducted by Paul Polivnick, Music Director of the Oberlin Conservatory Orchestras. Soloists are Oberlin faculty members Haskell Thomson, Professor of Organ and Director of Keyboard Studies, and David Boe, Professor of Organ and Harpsichord, and Dean of the Conservatory of Music from 1976 to 1990. The musicians are dedicating this performance to the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

The Friday program includes works by Saint-Saëns, Jongen, and the American composer Robert Sirota, a 1971 graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Sirota is Director of the Peabody Institute of Music at Johns Hopkins University.

On Saturday evening, at 8:00 p.m., Professors Thomson and Boe will offer a program of solo organ literature, featuring the works of 19th- and 20th-century French composers.

Both concerts are sold out; however, there are several ways to experience the events. Oberlin students, faculty and staff are invited to attend an open rehearsal of the Friday program Wednesday, September 26, from 2:30 p.m. to 4:20 p.m. in Finney Chapel. The Friday and Saturday concerts will also be broadcast live on WCLV, 104.9 FM., Cleveland’s internationally respected classical music station. Robert Conrad, president of WCLV, will serve as on-air host for the events. Others who would like to experience the Finney concerts with their friends and colleagues can do so from Warner Concert Hall, where the WCLV broadcast will be available by means of a high-quality sound system.

The live Oberlin broadcasts on WCLV can also be enjoyed from the station’s website, www.wclv.com, by means of either an MPEG 1 Layer 3 stream (MP3) using the AudioActive system from Cleveland-based Telos, or via Windows Media from Microsoft, accessed with 28.8 modems and faster connections.

Listeners of the Friday broadcast will hear, during intermission, a prerecorded feature created by Michael Barone, a 1968 graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Barone is host and producer of Minnesota Public Radio’s nationally distributed Pipedreams program. Saturday evening’s intermission feature will be conducted live, and hosted by Roger Sherman, a 1972 graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Sherman, president of Loft Recordings and host of The Organ Loft, a popular Pacific Northwest radio program broadcast from Seattle’s KING-FM 98.1, will interview Professors Thomson and Boe and representatives from C. B. Fisk, Inc., builders of the Kay Africa Memorial Organ.

The renowned Fisk firm designed the Kay Africa Memorial organ, the Opus 116, in the best of the late-Romantic tradition, based upon the symphonic style of the great French organ builder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. Ideally suited for the performance of 19th- and 20th-century music, the organ completes a triad of Oberlin period concert instruments. An organ designed and built in 1974 by D. A. Flentrop in the northern European style of the 18th century is located in the Conservatory’s Warner Concert Hall. In 1981 John Brombaugh built an organ for Fairchild Chapel that was modeled on the late Renaissance and early Baroque style of North Germany. The educational value of these three organs in different historic and national styles is of inestimable value to generations of Oberlin Conservatory students.

A 1991 bequest by Fort Lauderdale resident Kay Africa provided the initial impetus for Oberlin’s organ project. Her bequest has been augmented by grants from the Kulas Foundation, the Phoebe Haas Foundation, and the William Penn Foundation, as well as by gifts from Oberlin alumni Richard Connelly, Richard and Mary Oertel, and Karen Flint. Moreover, many individuals have contributed to the project by endowing one or more of the organ’s 4,014 pipes.

The Oberlin Conservatory of Music at Oberlin College, founded in 1865, is the nation's oldest continuously operating conservatory, and the only major music school in the country linked with a preeminent college of arts and sciences.

For more information, please call the College’s Central Ticket Service box office at 440-775-8169. For general event information, please call the Office of Donor Relations and Public Programs at 440-775-6785.

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