Oberlin Conservatory Celebrates 150 Years With Series of Events

September 4, 2015

Cathy Partlow Strauss

Conservatory's 150th year graphic

The 2015-16 academic year marks the 150th anniversary of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, a milestone that will be commemorated with events throughout the year and in venues on campus and beyond.

Among the highlights are a Midwest tour and outreach program during winter term, a world premiere, and a series of piano concerts in New York City.

The inaugural season of Key Pianists, a new recital series at Carnegie Hall, will feature Oberlin piano professor Peter Takács in three concerts in Weill Recital Hall. Titled “The Beethoven Experience: Early, Middle, Late,” the series is the creation of pianist Terry Eder-Kaufman ’79. It opens October 18, when Takács will be joined by clarinetist Boris Allakhverdyan ’06 and cellist Carter Brey. Additional concerts follow on November 12 and January 14.

From November 27 through 29 at Severance Hall, the Cleveland Orchestra will present the world premiere of Bernard Rands’ Concerto for English Horn, commissioned by Oberlin to commemorate its anniversary. The piece will feature Cleveland Orchestra English horn player Robert Walters, who is also a professor at Oberlin.

In January, the Contemporary Music Ensemble (CME) and Oberlin Orchestra will perform at premier venues in Chicago and in outreach concerts for schools and youth orchestra programs in Chicago. Featured faculty will include cello professor Darrett Adkins ’91 and composition chair Stephen Hartke. CME director Tim Weiss will lead the group in Hartke’s Grammy-winning work Meanwhile, and Adkins will perform as soloist in Augusta Read Thomas’ Passion Prayers. Also in January, the Oberlin Orchestra will perform a program anchored by Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring at Chicago’s Symphony Center, under the direction of Raphael Jiménez.

On campus, the celebration starts with one of Oberlin’s richest traditions: the 138th season of the Artist Recital Series. This showcase of the world’s most accomplished artists continues to be a staple of every season at Oberlin. Violinist Christian Tetzlaff, the Oberlin-founded Miró Quartet, and pianist Andras Schiff are among the renowned musicians slated to appear in historic Finney Chapel. The series opens September 27 with pianists from the International Piano Academy Lake Como.

Collegium Musicum Oberliniense joins in the anniversary festivities on November 7 with an alumni concert and reunion of the ensemble’s 25th anniversary season under the direction of Steven Plank. Collegium alumni include members or former members of major choirs in the U.S. and U.K., including York Minster, Trinity Church in New York, the National Cathedral and St. John’s Church at Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., and the ensembles Uncloistered, Les Canards Chantants, and Grammy-winner Roomful of Teeth.

The celebration culminates during Commencement/Reunion Weekend 2016 with a reunion devoted to conservatory alumni in recognition of the 150th anniversary. Additional performances that weekend honoring Oberlin traditions will be announced in the coming months.

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