Oberlin Blogs

Musical Moments

January 23, 2011

Patrick Doherty ’11

Faculty piano lessons

Since my first semester I have been lucky enough to be taking lessons from Professor of Piano Lydia Frumkin. I have a half hour lesson once a week. Taking lessons from Lydia has been an incredible experience, to say the least. Not only have I improved my technique, but I have also improved as a musician. Lessons have often been intense - Lydia grew up in the Soviet Union and was trained at the Leningrad Conservatory - but for every negative moment, there have been at least twice as many positive ones. As the video below reveals, Lydia emphasizes bringing the music out of the music. The notes are one thing, but creating music with them is something else entirely. This has been a wonderful experience that I wouldn't give up for anything.

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College-Community Winds

College-Community Winds is a wind ensemble made up of a combination of college students, conservatory students, and community members. The only auditions are for seating placement, so it's a fairly relaxed group. I played with this group for 5 semesters. I met some wonderful people through this group and was reunited with a friend from high school, Sarah Knowles.

The author posing for a photo with Nick. Both are wearing matching tuxedos and holding trumpets

This is Nick. We both play the trumpet. He is awesome.


The author has his hand around a womans shoulder. He is holding a trumpet and both are smiling for the photo

This is Sarah. She plays the clarinet (it goes doodle, doodle, doodle, doodle det - if anyone gets this reference, please comment. It will totally make my day.) We went to high school together!


Winter Term Recital

I have blogged about this previously here. Being reunited with Sarah led to us doing a Winter Term recital together during my first year.

College Orchestra

Founded by Anna Ernst (who would later go on to found Active Minds at Oberlin), college orchestra (now officially dubbed the "Oberlin College Arts and Sciences Orchestra," or OCASO), was designed to be a full orchestral experience for college students. I saw the flyer for a general interest meeting and went. BEST DECISION EVER. ALWAYS READ POSTERS. The orchestra started with a small, but dedicated group of us and has grown to a decently-sized chamber orchestra, mostly due to the work of Anna and Jeff, who founded the organization. Tiffany (our conductor for the 09-10 school year) helped push the group to realize its potential. Read more about OCASO here and here.

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Shortly after my second year, I returned home and performed a recital with one of my friends from home. We were both spending a lot of time working on musical things, so we thought it would be great to combine our efforts in a recital format. Here are some pictures! Enjoy!

The author playing trumpet on stage wearing a black tuxedo and white dress shoes. An older man is playing the piano behind him

Please excuse my terrible shoulder tension. And can anyone figure out why I'm wearing white dress shoes?


The author playing the piano with a serious look on his face

Apparently I have entertaining faces when I play the piano. You can't see one here, but I have been told that my faces are quite entertaining.


Reunited in a recital

My third year, Jennifer Ellis - a senior harpist in the conservatory, fellow graduate of Las Lomas High School, and who took me to her senior ball in high school - asked me to accompany her for the conservatory's senior concerto competition. The piece? William Grant Still's Ennanga. Fun fact: William Grant Still attended Oberlin! Yay! This was my first (and so far my only) experience accompanying a conservatory student in a performance at Oberlin. Later that spring, she asked me to perform the piece with her as the closing of her senior recital. I was terribly, terribly nervous, but rehearsal upon rehearsal and coaching upon coaching led to a performance that I will always love and cherish. For whatever reason, I don't have any pictures from the recital, but here's one of Jennifer!

A professional photo of a student with her arms crossed looking at the camera. Behind her is a harp

Celebration Bells

My most recent musical endeavor has been joining First Church's handbell choir. More on this soon! But, for now, here's a picture as a teaser.

White gloved hands ringing bells in front of sheet music

Photo courtesy of the lovely Ma'ayan Plaut.


Music has been an integral part of my Oberlin experience. It's one of the reasons I chose to come to Oberlin and I have not been disappointed.

Fun fact! The title of my post was inspired by both pieces entitled "Musical Moments" by both Rachmaninoff and Schubert. The Schubert pieces were one of my assignments for piano in the spring of my second year. I thought the title fit well with the idea of vignettes about music. (P.S. Both of those pieces are INCREDIBLE. Please check them out if you aren't familiar with them.)

Quote time!

"Without music life would be a mistake." - Friedrich Nietzsche

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