[:en]Author Archive[:fr]Archive Par Auteur

6
May

Darrett Adkins, Hypersuite 2: Music for Solo Cello on Oberlin Music

oberlin-music-logoDarrett Adkins belongs to that rare breed of musicians who possess both the chops to do just about anything on their instruments, and the fierce intellect to create a solo concert experience that goes beyond the all too familiar format of “look what I can do.” His most recent album, “Hypersuite 2,” which seamlessly pairs J. S. Bach’s Suite No. 2 in D Minor with contemporary counterparts by Eliot Carter, Osvaldo Golijov, Arne Nordheim, Adriana Verdié, and Roger Sessions, approaches the form of a solo album from a fresh and thoughtful perspective.

Darrett Adkins

Darrett Adkins

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24
Sep

“I want to blow you all… a kiss”: Anna Nicole by the New York City Opera at BAM

New York City Opera LogoTo be fair I’ll admit that as I sat voyeuristically at BAM’s Next Wave Festival last Thursday, September 19 2013, there wasn’t a single moment that I felt bored. Anna Nicole, the overblown 21st century opera by composer Mark-Anthony Turnage and librettist Richard Thomas, can be praised if nothing else than for its over-the-top, crude, and always engaging content. Thomas, who is best known for his work on Jerry Springer: the Opera, provided a quippy and thoroughly trashy libretto to accompany Turnage’s jazzy, bipolar score. The sets were quite impressive as well, with highlights including a fried chicken joint, a gentleman’s club (complete with pole dancers – but I’ll get to that aria later), and a gigantic mattress that was so big it curled up the wall (this was the nuptial bed that our heroine shared with J. Howard Marshall II, her 90-year-old billionaire second husband).

Sarah Coomes, Robert Brubaker, Sarah Joy Miller - Photo Credit Stephanie Berger

Sarah Coomes, Robert Brubaker, Sarah Joy Miller – Photo Credit Stephanie Berger

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20
Jun

Mystery Variations on Giuseppe Colombi’s Chiacona, on Toccata Classics

Toccata ClassicsFor Anssi Karttunen’s 50th birthday in 2010, his wife, Muriel von Braun, and his dear friend, acclaimed composer Kaija Saariaho, decided to give him an unconventional present. They gathered a group of composers who Karttunen had worked with and admires, and commissioned them each to write a short piece based on Giuseppe Colombi’s “chiacona” for solo cello. The composers featured on the album have an age range of 50 years from oldest (Betsy Jolas) to youngest (Ryan Wigglesworth), and hail from eleven countries across four continents. They represent a wide range of styles, but their work on this album is held together by inspiration, instrumentation, and of course, Anssi Karttunen’s distinctive playing style.

Anssi Karttunen

Anssi Karttunen

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29
Jan

Oberlin Orchestra Plays Christopher Rouse NY Premiere at Carnegie Hall

Carnegie Hall LogoOne night after an impressive performance by the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble at DiMenna Center, the Oberlin Orchestra delivered a knockout punch with a Carnegie Hall concert on Saturday, January 19, 2013. With many American orchestras in steady decline, we have to ask: why people just don’t seem to like orchestras as much as they used to? It’s easy to conjure images of a 106 year old audience member noisily opening a cough drop, a vast array of empty seats, the jaded face of a long-tenured violist shaping into a yawning “O.” Orchestra is a dying art form, and we might as well pull the plug, right? Well, maybe not. Anyone who was lucky enough to get a ticket to the Oberlin Orchestra’s sold-out performance at Carnegie Hall would have a hard time maintaining this view. The vitality of the Oberlin students, led by enthusiastic maestro Raphael Jimenez, earned them a standing ovation from an audience that didn’t know quite what had hit them.

Composer Christopher Rouse (photo credit: christopherrouse.com)

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24
Jan

Present Meets Past: Oberlin CME and ICE at DiMenna Center

I don’t think there is any other place in the world quite like the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Its unique atmosphere of collaboration, support, and experimentation sparks innovation that creates space for all kinds of eccentrics to gather and make great music. As an Oberlin grad, I had some anxiety about writing a review of the Oberlin  Contemporary Music Ensemble (CME) with International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) concert on January 18, 2013 at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music. What if my memory of playing in CME was too idealized, tainted by nostalgia? What if I was expecting too much? After seeing the concert, my conclusion is that you can take the ensemble out of Oberlin, but you can’t take the Oberlin magic out of the ensemble. The DiMenna Center was flooded with the spirit of Obies past and present, and their performance was sublime.

Violin soloist David Bowlin (photo credit: Will Roane)

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