We have collected hundreds of personal narratives from students, alumni, faculty, and staff that explain the merits and strengths of Oberlin through the eyes of those who have experienced it firsthand.
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On playing Poppea

Lillie Chilen ’08
“It’s still hard to believe that as a lowly undergrad, I got the chance to play Poppea - opera’s earliest gold digger - and find the music that truly fits my voice.”

On being a college violinist

Mariko Meyer ’11
“I never made it out of the back of the orchestra, but even so, my growth as a musician was immediately noticeable once I went to play in any other ensemble.”

On singing with Collegium Musicum

Martha Cargo ’07
“Monday and Wednesday afternoons, beginning promptly at 4:30 in Fairchild Chapel, were brief windows of respite from our otherwise whirlwind college lives.”

On musical training and non-musical careers

Matt Rivers ’04
“I hadn’t been in law enforcement for long before I realized that many of the same characteristics of police work are similar to playing in a jazz group.”

On conducting a youth orchestra

Maurice Cohn ’17
“Music is a living art, not to be kept in the glass cases of history museums...I can help foster that kind of energy and excitement about performing in another generation of musicians.”

On joining OSteel

Alicia Dudziak ’13
“I loved that I began to feel like a good musician even though my musical experience had been limited since age 10, when I quit piano.”

On skills learned in the Conservatory

Michael Vito ’04
“In [performance], we must take all of the experience and ability we have attained through our own development and integrate it with that of others... an exercise in fluid, nonhierarchical leadership...

On founding Violin for Vasculitis

Allison Lint ’09
“I am more often labeled an “activist” than a “touring violin virtuoso,” [but] that doesn’t alter my goal. I am musically fulfilled through this project more than I ever could be as a healthy...

On living the double-degree life

Nancy Chapple ’83
“There was no holding me back, and I plunged into both areas of study. My weekday schedule was intense ... the discipline to practice and study, the drive to learn came from inside.”

On Oberlin’s Contemporary Music Ensemble

Avery Waite ’10
“In this new music, I heard nothing, only an ugly idiom that my ear could not, would not grasp... Then something happened that I’ll never forget.”

On working with composer Helmut Lachenmann

Nathan Heidelberger ’10
“Working with him was an opportunity of a lifetime, and I don’t think it could have happened anywhere else, at least not for a non-pianist like me.”

On choosing an Oberlin path

Brenna Larson ’14
“My Oberlin career, like many, has been far from linear, and I am glad that I have strayed from my plan. A planner at heart, changing gears, changing life goals, was a rocky and emotional process,...

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