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ACCLAIMED OBERLIN CONTEMPORARY MUSIC ENSEMBLE TO PERFORM WITH VIOLINIST JENNIFER KOH AT NEW YORK CITY'S MILLER THEATRE

October 17, 2005—The award-winning Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble (CME), under the direction of Gardner Professor of Music Timothy Weiss and featuring violinist Jennifer Koh '97, will present an all-Ligeti program at New York City's Miller Theatre on Saturday, November 12, at 8 p.m.

The program, which is also being presented in Oberlin on Thursday, November 10, at 8 p.m. in Warner Concert Hall, includes performances by the Oberlin Percussion Group, conducted by Professor of Percussion Michael Rosen, mezzo-soprano Lorraine Manz, associate professor of singing, and trumpeter Peter Evans '03.

Tickets for the Miller Theatre concert are $20 and are available by calling the Miller Theatre box office at 212-854-7799. The Miller Theatre is located on the campus of Columbia University, 2960 Broadway (at 116 th Street), in Manhattan.

The Oberlin concert is free and open to the public, and free parking is available throughout the campus. Warner Concert Hall is located at the corner of Professor and West College streets. For more information about concerts and recitals at Oberlin, please call the 24-hour Concert Hotline: 440-775-6933.

One of the world's best-known living composers, György Ligeti is widely acknowledged as a musical pioneer of the late-20th century, forging his own musical alternative to a general stylistic crisis in the mid-century avant-garde. That alternative, based on texture and sound density, has become one of the major influences on contemporary music. The Oberlin and New York programs will include Ramifications; Mysteries of the Macabre from the opera Le Grand Macabre, with Evans as trumpet soloist; Sippal, Dobbal, Nádihegedüvel, with the Oberlin Percussion Group and Manz as soloist; and Violin Concerto with Koh as soloist.

"I cannot wait to work with Tim Weiss and the CME," says Koh. "And I believe that the Ligeti Concerto is one of the great masterpieces written in my lifetime. I am honored to be playing this piece."

This concert at the Miller Theatre is the CME's third New York appearance within the last 18 months. In March 2004, Weiss led the ensemble in a program of composer Lewis Nielson's works at Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall (Nielson is Professor of Composition at Oberlin). Music critic Anthony Aibel, writing for the New York Concert Review, called those performances "unbelievably polished, superb ... [and] impeccable." His enthusiasm was unwavering when the CME performed at Merkin Hall last January: "One hopes [the CME] will continue performing annually in New York, a city that deserves great performances such as these."

Winner of an award for adventurous programming by the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) and the American Symphony Orchestra League (ASOL) in 2002, the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble is considered one of the premiere new music ensembles in higher education in the United States. The CME performs music of all styles and genres, with a repertoire that is as broad as the entirety of contemporary music. In addition to premiering works by student, faculty, and alumni composers, the CME has given first performances of new works by prominent composers, including James Dillon's The Soadie Waste and an upcoming work by Jason Eckhart. The CME also offers students the chance to perform with such famous exponents of modern music as Steven Schick, Marilyn Nonken, and Ursula Oppens, among many others. In May 2005, the CME, under the baton of Timothy Weiss, performed two concerts of works by Sir Harrison Birtwistle, who was in residence at Oberlin.

Timothy Weiss holds diplomas from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels and degrees from Northwestern University and the University of Michigan. In his 13 years as music director of the CME, he has brought the ensemble to a level of professionalism in performance that rivals the finest new music groups in the United States. His repertoire in contemporary music is vast and fearless, and includes masterworks, very recent compositions, and an impressive number of premieres. A much sought-after guest conductor in the U.S., he is the chair of the division of conducting and ensembles at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he holds the Ruth Strickland Gardner chair in music.

Violinist Jennifer Koh, a 1997 Oberlin graduate, won the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, the Concert Artists Guild Competition, and the Avery Fisher Career Grant, all in the 1994 - 1995 season. She has been heard with leading orchestras and conductors around the world, including the Chicago Symphony, the Cincinnati Symphony (under Yakov Kreizberg), the National Symphony, the Detroit Symphony, the New World Symphony, and many other leading ensembles. A prolific recitalist, Koh appears frequently at major music centers and festivals, including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Mostly Mozart, Marlboro, and Wolf Trap, and with Christoph Eschenbach at Ravinia and Schleswig-Holstein. She is heard annually at the Spoleto Festival in Italy, where she recorded Menotti's Violin Concerto live in concert with the Spoleto Festival Orchestra, conducted by Richard Hickox. A committed educator, she has also won high praise for her innovative Music Messenger outreach program, which takes her to perform in classrooms throughout the country. After graduation from Oberlin, she worked extensively with Jaime Laredo at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and counts Felix Galimir, also of the Curtis Institute, as an important mentor. An active recording artist, she has recorded to date a program of chaconnes by Bach, Barth, and Reger for Cedille Records, and recordings of the violin concertos of Menotti (for Chandos), Nielsen (for Kontrapunkt), and Klami (for BIS). Her latest recording on the Cedille label -- featuring fantasies by Schubert, Schumann, Schoenberg, and Ornette Coleman -- has garnered wide critical praise. Koh is grateful to her private sponsor for the generous loan of the 1727 Ex Grumiaux Ex General DuPont Stradivari she uses in performance.

The Oberlin Percussion Group [OPG], an ensemble of student percussion majors at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, is conducted by Professor of Percussion Michael Rosen and was founded by him in 1972. Premiering new works is a major objective of the group; they have commissioned more than 12 compositions by composers such as Ed Miller, Richard Hoffman, Dary John Mizelle, Randy Coleman, Evan Hause, and Michael Daugherty. The OPG has also performed the American premieres of several works by Japanese and European composers, including the first American performance of Pleides, Zythos, and IDEM by Iannis Xenakis, For o for o the hobby horse is forgot By Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Prelude by Riccardo Malipiero, Con Luigi Dallapiccola by Luigi Nono, and Voûtes by Michaël Levinas. An extensive collection of fine exotic and conventional Western percussion instruments helps make such performances possible. The group rehearses a minimum of four hours per week, during which members develop skills in finding the right sound, apply techniques learned in lessons, and nurture a keen sense of ensemble playing while, at the same time, gain valuable performing experience. In 1984 the OPG won the Percussive Arts Percussion Ensemble Contest, performing Persephassa by Xenakis at the Percussive Arts Society Convention [PASIC] in Washington, D.C. The group performs outside of Oberlin often and played at the PASIC convention again in 1990 and 1996. The OPG has made several recordings for the Opus One, Lumina and CRI labels. Michael Rosen welcomes and encourages composers to send scores for performance in future concerts.

Michael Rosen is professor of percussion at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he teaches, conducts the Oberlin Percussion Group, and directs the Oberlin Percussion Institute. He is as at home with symphonic literature as he is with contemporary music, having served as principal percussionist with the Milwaukee Symphony from 1966 to 1972. He has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra and the Concertgebouw Orchestra as well as at the Grand Teton Music Festival. Rosen has concertized and taught extensively in Europe, at the Jeunesses Musicales Internationale Summerkurse in Weikersheim, Germany, at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam, Holland, and at the Arturo Toscanini Foundation in Parma, Italy. Other engagements have included concerts and clinics at conservatories and music courses in Italy, France, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Spain, Hong Kong and Beijing, China. He maintains a continuing column in Percussive Notes Magazine dealing with percussion terms in foreign languages and is editor of the Focus on Performance section of the magazine. He has also served as clinician for many state chapters of the Percussive Arts Society as well as the International Convention several times. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the PAS for many years and is a clinician and endorser for the Zildjian Cymbal Company. He has served as panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts and has recorded for the Bayerische Rundfunk, Opus One, Furious Artisans, Albany, Lumina and CRI labels. A native of Philadelphia, Rosen was a student of Charles Owen and earned his master's of music degree from the University of Illinois, where he studied with Jack McKenzie. He has also studied with Cloyd Duff and Fred Hinger.

Lorraine Manz, mezzo-soprano, has been featured as soloist throughout the United States in orchestral, oratorio, recital, and chamber music settings. She has performed as soloist with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Aspen Music Festival Orchestra, Blossom Music Festival, New Hampshire Music Festival, Round Top Festival in Texas, Bach Festival Society, Shreveport Summer Music Festival, Jefferson Performing Arts Society (New Orleans), and the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, and with such conductors as Leonard Slatkin, Robert Spano, Marin Alsop, Garreth Morrell, and Heichiro Oyama. She has been heard on artist series in recital and contemporary chamber music ensembles including performances at the Lincoln Center, Contemporary Directions of the Aspen Music Festival, Music Academy of the West, the Walker Arts Center (Minneapolis), and the New Music Festival (California). Her most recent operatic performance was as Cecelia in Lyric Opera Cleveland's production of Little Women , under the direction of the composer, Mark Adamo. She has premiered works of several American composers and has toured Japan and the West Coast performing a variety of chamber music works. Manz is an associate professor of singing at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where she has been a member of the faculty since 1993 and where she serves as director of the Otto B. Schoepfle Vocal Arts Center.

Peter Evans '03 is a trumpeter, improviser, and composer living in New York City. Born in 1981, Peter grew up near Boston, and moved to New York after graduating from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music with a bachelor of music degree in classical trumpet performance. While at Oberlin, he was able to collaborate and perform with many musicians, including James Dillon, George Lewis, Francis Marie-Uitti, and Ursula Oppens. In New York, Evans works primarily in the fields of improvised and creative music, jazz, and contemporary classical music. He co-leads the New York Trumpet Ensemble with Mark Gould, plays in the improvisation groups Imaginary Folk and Effects on Man and Animals, and leads a maximalist jazz quartet with Mary Halvorson, Moppa Elliott, and Kevin Shea. Other collaborators have included Guillermo Brown, Perry Robinson, Taylor Ho Bynum, Brian Chase, Stefan Tcherepnin, David Taylor, Marcus Rojas, Butch Morris, and Dave Douglas.  Recent projects have included American premieres of music by Brian Ferneyhough, the premiere of  Composition 103 for 7 trumpets by Anthony Braxton, the 10th Annual Vision Festival, several performances at the 3rd Annual Festival of New Trumpet Music, a collaboration at the Bowery Ballroom with the math-metal band Hella, and performances with Moppa Eliott's terrorist bebop band Mostly Other People Do the Killing. Peter also plays with contemporary music groups Alarm Will Sound, the International Contemporary Ensemble, and Ensemble 21.  Peter has presented his music in various New York City venues, including dancespace at St. Mark's Church, Tonic, and The Stone. 

The Oberlin Conservatory of Music, founded in 1865 and situated within the intellectual vitality of Oberlin College since 1867, is the oldest continuously operating conservatory in the United States. Renowned internationally as a professional music school of the highest caliber and pronounced a "national treasure" by the Washington Post, Oberlin has long been an undergraduate haven for many nationally acclaimed new music soloists, chamber musicians and ensembles, including soprano Tony Arnold '90, and all of the members of eighth blackbird and the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE). These represent a small sample of Oberlin alumni who have gone on to achieve illustrious careers in all aspects of the serious music world.

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Media Contact: Marci Janas

   

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