Pianist Garrick Ohlsson Leads a Spectacular February

February 4, 2015
Josie Davis
Garrick Ohlsson
Photo credit: Paul Body

Oberlin’s Artist Recital Series continues in February with three diverse programs featuring the magnificent solo piano playing of Garrick Ohlsson, the bold and imaginative St. Lawrence String Quartet, and the jazz, rock, and classical fusion Bang on a Can All-Stars. All performances will take place in Finney Chapel.

On Tuesday, February 10, at 8 p.m., Ohlsson will present a program of Beethoven, Schubert, and Scriabin. Regarded by the Boston Globe as “one of the most versatile of America’s important pianists,” Ohlsson has established himself worldwide as a musician of magisterial interpretive and technical prowess. He commands an enormous repertoire that spans the entire piano literature. The New York Times has commended Ohlsson’s “passionate and probing approach” to the music of the Russian expressionist Scriabin, whose music will be featured prominently on the February 10 program. Additional works include Beethoven’s late opus Piano Sonata No. 30 in E Major and Schubert’s devilishly difficult, angst-infused “Der Wanderer” Fantasy.

The St. Lawrence String Quartet performs on Friday, February 20, at 8 p.m. The Stanford University-based ensemble is celebrating 25 years together this season. With a demanding schedule of 120 concerts each year, the quartet boasts a reputation for imaginative and spontaneous music through an energetic commitment to great established quartet literature, as well as the championing of new works. The quartet’s recordings have earned the coveted German Critics’ Award, Canada’s Juno Award—for its release of Schumann’s first and third quartets—and two Grammy nominations for its recording of Osvaldo Golijov’s Yiddishbbuk. The program at Oberlin will feature quartets by Haydn, Dvorak, and John Adams' new String Quartet No. 2, written for the St. Lawrence Quartet.

The composer-founded Bang on a Can All-Stars will bring an eclectic and energetic performance to Finney Chapel on Saturday, February 28, at 8 p.m. Formed in 1992, the six-piece ensemble is recognized worldwide for its ultra-dynamic live performances and recordings of today’s most innovative music. Freely crossing the boundaries of classical, jazz, rock, world, and experimental music, the group has consistently forged a distinct category-defying identity, taking music into uncharted territories. Performing each year throughout the United States and internationally, the All-Stars have shattered the definition of what concert music is today. Music for the concert includes David Lang’s Pulitzer Prizer-winning composition sunray; Julia Wolfe’s Believing—inspired by a John Lennon song; for Madeline by Michael Gordon; Ridgeway by Kate Moore; the jazz-funk influenced Horses of Instruction by Steve Martland; and Philip Glass’ Closing, which is the last movement of his piece Glassworks. Lang, Gordon, and Wolfe will join the All-Stars on this visit to Ohio.

An Oberlin tradition since 1878, the Artist Recital Series welcomes a wide range of incomparable talent in its 136th season. The February performances will be followed by bass-baritone John Relyea and pianist Warren Jones on April 2, violinist Jennifer Koh ’97 on April 12, and the Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by Susanna Mälkki and featuring pianist Jeremy Denk ’90, on April 24.

For tickets—including prorated season-ticket packages for this season's six remaining performances—call 800-371-0178 or visit oberlin.edu/artsguide/ticket-information. For more information about all of Oberlin’s arts offerings, visit oberlin.edu/artsguide.

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