The haunting sound of the Great Highland bagpipe has been echoing around Wilder Bowl this week. The music is a sure sign that the Ohio Scottish Arts School, an annual summer visitor here in Oberlin, is underway.
Music of all kinds is such an important and integral part of Oberlin’s exceptionally abundant cultural life throughout the year. Even during summer break, we enjoy great, live music thanks to the Baroque Performance Institute, the Credo Chamber Music Festival, the Scottish Arts School, and the Friday night concerts by local groups at the Clark Bandstand in Tappan Square.
In July, we’ll have the pleasure of hosting the fourth annual Thomas and Evon Cooper International Competition for young musicians ages 13 to 18. It will be held from July 18 to 26. This year’s instrument is the violin. The competition includes a top prize of $10,000 and the opportunity for a concerto performance with the Cleveland Orchestra.
But Oberlin’s musical life really takes off when classes begin in the fall. The centerpiece is, of course, our fabulous Artist Recital Series (ARS). The upcoming season will be the 135th in Oberlin history. Through the years, many of the world’s finest musicians have performed in Finney Chapel as part of the series. I know from personal experience, and from talking with our faculty, staff, and alumni, that attending a performance by the likes of Mstislav Rostropovich, Denyce Graves, Juan Diego Florez, Herbie Hancock, or the Cleveland Orchestra can be an exhilarating and memorable experience. Which Artist Recital Series performances rank as your favorites?
The 2013-14 lineup looks terrific, and, as always, some of the performers are Oberlin alumni or faculty. On November 5, the Jupiter String Quartet will be joined by soloists Ellie Dehn ’02, soprano; Richard Hawkins, clarinet; Yolanda Kondonassis, harp; Spencer Myer ’00, piano; and flutist Alexa Still for an evening of music by Ravel—Ravel: Intimate Masterpieces. Later that month, cellist Yo-Yo Ma will perform with pianist Kathryn Stott. The Cleveland Orchestra will return to Oberlin in December with conductor Marin Alsop and pianist David Fray.
Spring semester kicks off with Imani Winds and pianist Gilbert Kalish, followed by Marilyn Horne’s master classes, the Punch Brothers, Cooper Competition piano laureate George Li, mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, Chick Corea and Bela Fleck, and theTakács String Quartet.
Details on dates, times, and tickets for all ARS concerts will be published soon.
While I’m thinking about culture, a quick reminder—the Oberlin Summer Theater Festival begins this Friday with The Diary of Anne Frank at 7 p.m. in Hall Auditorium. Wonderful, live theater in Oberlin, family friendly and free of charge.
Enjoy the summer, and I look forward to seeing you at the Artist Recital series in the fall.
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