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Oberlin Ensembles to Perform in Chicago January 29-30

December 1, 2015

Erich Burnett

The Oberlin Orchestra
Photo credit: Chris Lee

Oberlin Conservatory 2016 Chicago Tour

Student ensembles from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music will make their Chicago debuts in January 2016 as part of the conservatory's yearlong 150th anniversary celebration.

The Chicago tour features more than 100 conservatory students in three performances: two by the Contemporary Music Ensemble at Roosevelt University’s Ganz Hall on January 29, followed by the Oberlin Orchestra at Symphony Center on January 30. Complete tour information is available at

Chicago audiences are already familiar with Oberlin’s extensive network of alumni, including the Grammy Award-winning sextet eighth blackbird, which formed at Oberlin, and members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and International Contemporary Ensemble.

“The tour represents an important professional moment for our students, as they step out of the practice room and onto the stage of one of the world’s great concert halls,” says Andrea Kalyn, dean of the Oberlin Conservatory. “But it is also an opportunity for us to share the artistry and work of our students and faculty, and to bring alumni and friends together in celebration of music.”

The Contemporary Music Ensemble will kick off the tour with a pair of performances at Ganz Hall on the campus of Roosevelt University at 7 and 9 p.m. Friday, January 29. (The 7 p.m. show is sold out; limited availability remains for the 9 p.m. show.) The program will open with the North American premiere of One Bright Morning by Jesse Jones, featuring Oberlin student Olivia Boen ’17, a soprano from River Forest, Illinois. Also on the program is Passion Prayers by University of Chicago Professor Augusta Read Thomas, featuring cello soloist and Oberlin faculty member Darrett Adkins ’91; and the Grammy Award-winning piece Meanwhile, written by Oberlin Professor of Composition Stephen Hartke. The performances will be led by Oberlin Professor of Conducting Timothy Weiss.

The Oberlin Orchestra will follow with a performance at Symphony Center at 8 p.m. Saturday, January 30, under the direction of Associate Professor of Conducting Raphael Jiménez. The program includes soprano Marcy Stonikas ’02 in Strauss’ Four Last Songs, in addition to Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and Berlioz’s Roman Carnival Overture. The performance will be preceded by a lecture featuring Harvard University musicologist and author Thomas Kelly, beginning at 7 p.m.

In addition to the main stage performances, Oberlin students will visit area schools and community music programs in the Chicago area, sharing their experiences, presenting brief concerts, and fueling inspiration for future generations of musicians.

“It is worth noting the fact than an undergraduate orchestra can play The Rite of Spring with ease nowadays,” says Jiménez. “This is a piece that, for its premiere, took a professional orchestra 22 rehearsals to prepare. It speaks of the evolution of orchestral playing in the world and loudly speaks of the sophisticated training that our conservatory students are receiving.

"There is no room for error in this kind of repertoire,” Jiménez continues. “But nothing motivates Oberlin students more than a challenge, and to have the opportunity to perform it in Symphony Center makes it even more exciting for us.”

Admission to all performances is free, but tickets are required. Reserve seats for the Oberlin Orchestra by calling the Symphony Center Box Office (312-294-3000) or visiting

Contemporary Music Ensemble tickets can be reserved by calling 440-775-8200 or visiting


DATE: Friday, January 29, 2016 (7 p.m.)
Ganz Hall of Roosevelt University, 430 S. Michigan Ave, Chicago IL 60605

FEATURING: Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble
Timothy Weiss, conductor


Jesse Jones
One Bright Morning (2015) 10' [North American Premiere]
Olivia Boen, soprano

Andrew Norman
Gran Turismo (2007) 8'

Stephen Hartke
Meanwhile (2007) 18'

Augusta Read Thomas
Passion Prayers (1999) 10'
Darrett Adkins, cello

Marc-André Dalbavie
Melodia (2009) 14'

Julian Anderson
Alhambra Fantasy (2000) 11'

DATE: Saturday, January 30, 2016 (8 p.m.)
Chicago Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60604

FEATURING: Oberlin Orchestra
Raphael Jiménez, conductor


Hector Berlioz
Roman Carnival Overture

Richard Strauss
Four Last Songs
Marcy Stonikas, soprano

Igor Stravinsky
The Rite of Spring

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