Recital Talk with Carl Mitchell '15

Jazz sax major recounts his performance experience.

April 12, 2015

Conservatory Communications Staff

Carl Mitchell.

Senior recital is a crowning achievement for all conservatory students. We talked to jazz saxophone major Carl Mitchell '15 about his experience.

Could you describe your recital?

The recital took place on Tuesday, March 31, in Clonick recording studio, and was performed in two separate sets: first, a long-form original composition, and then a collection of some arrangements of South American music that I’ve prepared.

What’s the most challenging decision you had to make in planning your recital?

Deciding what material to play. There is tons of music out there that would be wonderful to have on the bill, but I also felt strongly that the recital would be most effective if it focused my energy on the music that feels most personally relevant. Although the two halves of my recital are stylistically quite divergent, they both represent musical influences that have been integral to my evolution as a musician during my time at Oberlin.

What or who inspires you?

My greatest source of inspiration is, without a doubt, my primary teacher, Gary Bartz. The opportunity to study with him was the single largest factor in my decision to come to Oberlin, and his mentorship continues to have an inexpressibly deep impact on me. The musicians that I’m performing with (Daniel Spearman, Lawrence Galloway, Nate Mendelssohn, Dan Pappalardo, Caylen Bryant, Nathan Swedlow, Stephen Becker, Ben Rempel, and Patrick Graney) are my other main source of inspiration, and I’m intensely grateful to all of them for the hard work and dedication that they’ve given to this music.

What strategies do you use to prepare for a big performance?

I wrote the music and arrangements far in advance and kept a steady schedule of rehearsals leading up to the recital. My hope is that this will allow for everyone involved to feel confident in the technical aspects of the performance and also cultivate a meaningful platform for individual and collective creativity.

What do you hope to be doing 10 years from now?

My other major is in biochemistry, and my plan after graduation is to work in the biochemical field and eventually go to graduate school, while still pursuing music seriously. No matter where life takes me, 10 years down the line I definitely hope to be producing the music I love with the people I love, and to be located in a place where I can experience lots of live music.

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