July 2, 2015
Erich Burnett

The Technology in Music and Related Arts (TIMARA) department at Oberlin traces its roots to the first electronic- and computer-music courses taught on campus in the 1960s, a time when composing with technology could be a painstakingly slow endeavor. By 1969, Oberlin came to be viewed as a pioneer in the creation of electronic music, and its reputation as a hotbed of composition—electronic and otherwise—has flourished in the years since.

Out of this fertile environment comes Toward the Curve, a celebration of the richness and expanse of new music created by Oberlin's TIMARA and composition alumni, the artistry of pianist Thomas Rosenkranz ’99, and the astounding collaborative power between them. The first-ever surround-sound recording produced by Oberlin Music, Toward the Curve is a collection of pieces for piano with electronics composed by eight Oberlin alumni.

The project is the result of a quintessentially Oberlin collaboration between TIMARA faculty members Peter Swendsen ’99 and Tom Lopez ’89 and Rosenkranz, a champion of new music whose repertoire extends from the works of J.S. Bach to premieres of works written exclusively for him.

“All the composers are so different, and I think that is what shows their connection to Oberlin,” says Rosenkranz, who wrote four interludes for the album. “They all have a unique and distinctive concept of sound, so every piece on the album is a different kind of world. Although all these composers went through the TIMARA or composition department at Oberlin, you don’t hear a stamp or an aesthetic sameness.”

The recording's title is an English translation of Vers la courbe, the title of a composition by Michael Klingbeil ’96. Also included are pieces by Swendsen, Lopez, Peter Flint ’92, Aurie Hsu ’96, Pierre Jalbert ’89, and Alex Christie ’09.

Toward the Curve is packaged with two discs: a traditional audio CD as well as a 5.0 Pure Audio Blu-ray disc that includes additional interludes by Rosenkranz. Distributed by Naxos of America, Toward the Curve is available through select retailers and digital music channels worldwide.

Oberlin Music is the official record label of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Learn more at oberlin.edu/oberlinmusic.

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