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:: The Many Worlds of Jonathon Field
:: Marilyn McDonald's Smithsonian Rhapsodies


In summer 2003, Assistant Professor of Cello Darrett Adkins joined the Aspen Music Festival Music School, where he participated in a concert in honor of Chamber Music America’s 25th anniversary and featuring the music of Elliott Carter, and he performed in chamber music concerts at the Appalachian Summer Festival in Boone, N.C. In October 2003, Adkins performed with the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble in a concert of music by Joan Tower for cello and piano at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Adkins also was in Tarpon Springs, Fla., for an October concert with the Oberlin Trio. He gave the New York premiere of the late Luciano Berio’s Sequenza XIV Nov. 8, 2003, at Rosenberg+Kaufman Fine Art in New York’s SoHo district. The following day, he performed the piece again, along with Elliott Carter’s Figment, also for solo cello, for the Cleveland Cello Society’s annual fund-raiser “I Cellisti.” Adkins presented Berio’s final Sequenza as part of the Sound/Image Event series launched by David Schotzko ’00, a founding member of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE). Heartily populated with Oberlin alumni, ICE is the first ensemble ever to perform Berio’s virtuoso pieces for solo instruments in their entirety. Adkins also taught a master class for cellists in the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra in Bangkok, Thailand, in November.

Professor of Music Theory Brian Alegant presented two papers at the 2002 annual joint meeting of the American Musicological Society and the Society for Music Theory, held in Columbus, Ohio, in November. The first, “Dallapiccola’s Serial Odyssey,” was a solo effort; the second, co-presented with Gordon Sly of Michigan State University, was titled “Toward a Strategy for the Analysis of Post-Tonal Music.” Alegant also delivered “Six of One and Half a Dozen of the Other: Octatonicism in Dallapiccola’s Twelve-Tone Music” at the Third Biennial Conference on 20th-Century Music, held in June 2003 in Nottingham, UK. At the 2003 Society for Music Theory National Conference, held in Madison, Wis., in November, Alegant presented “Dallapiccola’s Array Experiments.” This past year he published three articles. “On the Nature of Enlargement,” co-authored with Don McLean of McGill University, appeared in the Journal of Music Theory; “Having Your Cake and Eating It, Too: The Property of Reflection in Twelve-Tone Rows,” co-written with Marcus Lofthouse ’01, appeared in Perspectives of New Music; and “Counting Treasures: The Enumeration and Analysis of Musical Collections” appeared in Computers for Music Research. In winter 2003, Alegant was appointed to a three-year term as editor of Music Theory Spectrum, the journal of the Society for Music Theory.

Professor of Music Education Peggy D. Bennett was an invited clinician for a number of conference presentations in 2003. At the Ohio Music Education Association state conference, Bennett presented a session for elementary teachers that focused on teaching melody to children, and she was a collaborator in a session for higher education faculty members titled “Singing across the Curriculum.” As keynote speaker for the Early Childhood Day and headliner clinician for two sessions at the Minnesota Music Educators Association conference, Bennett spoke on “Musical Touchstones: Finding the Precious in Children.” At the Minneapolis conference of Music Ed Ventures, Bennett offered two sessions: one about music for preschool children and the other on “SongWorks in Education,” the approach described in her books. In June, Bennett was guest lecturer for a graduate music education class at Montana State University-Bozeman on how teachers’ behaviors affect students. The National Association of Schools of Music invited Bennett to its annual conference in Seattle in November to participate in a panel discussion titled “Starting and Building a Preschool Music Program.” In addition to college classes in Oberlin, Bennett taught sections of MusicPlay for preschool children; founded the PlayParty Project, a free, monthly intergenerational gathering for singing and playing; and adopted a first-grade music class at Eastwood Elementary School to teach weekly lessons.

Assistant Professor of Music Theory Stephen Brown delivered a paper on late Shostakovich at the Music Theory Midwest 2003 annual meeting. In addition, his article “Dual Interval Space in Twentieth-Century Music” appeared in the 25th anniversary volume of Music Theory Spectrum.

Teacher of Flute and Chamber Music Kathleen Chastain was a member of the Fulbright Committee in New York in 2002 and 2003. In February 2003, she performed a recital with French pianist Laurent Boukobza at the Cleveland Museum of Art; the pair also released a CD of works by Schumann, Schubert, Hummel, and Beethoven. The November/December 2003 issue of American Record Guide praised the CD, stating that Chastain “sounds characteristically warm and charismatic” and that “her rich, full tone and boisterous phrasing reach into all corners of these pieces.” In June 2003, she performed J.S. Bach’s Concerto in Budapest with the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra, and she taught at the Oberlin Flute Institute on campus. In August, she taught a master class for Korean flutists in France, and in October she gave a recital and taught master classes in Seoul, Korea. She performed the flute concerto Terrestre by Finnish composer Saija Saariaho with Oberlin’s Contemporary Music Ensemble in November; the concert was part of the AKI Contemporary Music Festival at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Her November 2003 schedule also included a recital and master class at Indiana State University.

The distinguished Swiss composer Lionel Rogg dedicated a new publication of 35 chorale preludes for organ to Professor of Organ James David Christie. The score is published by ECS Publishing in Boston. Christie gave master classes during winter term 2003 on Dieterich Buxtehude (1637-1707) for organ students at the Paris Conservatory; he also performed an all-Buxtehude recital on the Grenzing organ in the Salle Olivier Alain. In February, he was guest recitalist at the Northwest Bach Festival in Spokane, Wash., and for the New York City chapter of the American Guild of Organists (AGO), and he played on the dedication series of the new Paul Fritts organ at Vassar College, where he also gave master classes in November. June activities included performing as harpsichord soloist under conductor David Atherton at the Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego and playing the premiere of In dulci jubilo, a solo organ composition by Eleanor Whitstead, during the closing recital of the San Antonio Chapter of the AGO regional convention. Christie also was a jury member for the AGO Young Artist Organ Competition, held in June on Cape Cod. During July, he taught and gave recitals at the McGill University Summer Organ Academy in Montreal and at the Mount Royal Conservatory of Music Summer Organ Institute in Calgary, Alberta. Also during July and August, Christie performed recitals in Germany, France, Belgium, and Switzerland, and he gave master classes in Geneva. In September he played the rededication concert of the historic organ built in 1704 at the Church of the Holy Cross in Krakow, Poland, and he gave master classes for the Krakow Academy of Music. In November, he was a guest recitalist for the International Organ Festival in Aarhus, Denmark.

Teacher of Saxophone Paul Cohen was named a permanent tenured member of the Goldman Memorial Band, for which he plays baritone saxophone. He acted and performed the solo baritone saxophone part of the Monster in “Space, An Opera in Capsule Form,” during the Fringe Festival in New York. He performed with the Goldman Memorial Band, the Garden State Symphonic Band, the Riverside Symphony (Alice Tully Hall), and Continuum (Lincoln Center). He was a soloist with the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra (Merkin Hall) and was guest solo artist on two concerts at the Cape May Festival in New Jersey. His saxophone quartet, the New Hudson, performed the Concerto Sinfonico for saxophone quartet and orchestra with the North Shore Symphony. With the Cleveland-based Red {an orchestra}, he performed a newly discovered film score by Aaron Copland as well as music by Frank Zappa. With the New Hudson Saxophone Quartet, he performed the New York premiere of David Sampson’s Breathing Lessons; the concert was part of New York University’s Distinguished Artist Ensemble Series. With Metropolitan Opera soprano Deborah F. Saverance, he performed the U.S. premiere of Andrew Downes’ Dreamland. Cohen also performed in the premiere performance of Eric Ewazen’s Sonata for Heckelphone and Piano at the national Heckelphone Convention in New York. An avid collector of saxophones, Cohen contributed the preface and much research to a new Italian book on the history of the saxophone; 75 percent of the photos of historical saxophones are of instruments in his private collection.

Apparitions, a piece by Professor of Composition and Music Theory Randolph E. Coleman, was premiered by the Cleveland Chamber Symphony in March 2003 at Cleveland State University’s Drinko Recital Hall. In his March 26 review of the concert, Cleveland Plain Dealer music critic Donald Rosenberg predicted that the piece will appear on programs of new music in the future. “The title is evoked in the juxtaposition of terrifying and shadowy musical events, which include bows tapped on strings, harmonics held on suspenseful tones, and fidgety figures that break through icy atmospheres,” Rosenberg wrote. “Coleman achieves a fine balance between the clamor and stillness, using various string techniques and inside-the-piano colors to paint his expressive, ultimately songful canvas.”

In November 2002, at the annual meeting of the Society for Music Theory, Professor of Music Theory Warren Darcy spoke on “‘Die Zeit ist da’: Rotational Form and Hexatonic Magic in Act II, Scene 1 of Parsifal.” The paper attempted to synthesize the concept of rotational form developed by Darcy and James Hepokoski with neo-Riemannian or transformational theory, especially its hexatonic subset. The paper will be published in a book of essays on Wagner’s opera Parsifal, edited by William Kinderman and Katherine Syer. At the symposium Lingering Dissonances, held at the University of Minnesota in February 2003, he delivered a lecture titled “The Abandoned Hero: Wagner’s Changing Attitude toward Siegfried.” Darcy spoke again at the November 2003 annual meeting of the Society for Music Theory, in Madison, Wis., where his topic was “‘Sie blieben wie Allen’: Rotational Form and the Thematization of Failure in Mahler’s Fish Sermon.” The paper, an outgrowth of a large-scale study of rotational form in the Mahler symphonies, began with a formal/tonal analysis of Mahler’s song Anthony of Padua’s Sermon to the Fish. It then related the structure of this song to the Scherzo of the Second Symphony. Darcy was recently elected to the executive board of the Society for Music Theory.

Assistant Professor of Jazz Trombone Robin Eubanks had an award-winning year. He shared a 2003 Grammy Award with the 14 other members of the Michael Brecker Quindectet for Wide Angles. As a member of the Dave Holland Big Band, he and his fellow band members shared a 2002 Grammy Award for their release What Goes Around. Eubanks was awarded a 2002 ASCAP/ International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE) commission to compose a piece that was premiered at the January 2003 IAJE conference in Toronto. Also in 2002, Eubanks received a Chamber Music America New Works Grant to compose a piece that was premiered at Kansas State University in February 2003. In performance, Eubanks was the featured soloist for Rimsky-Korsakov’s rarely heard trombone concerto in a May 2003 concert with the Bakersfield (Calif.) Symphony Orchestra. He also performed the world premiere of his piece Cause and Effect with the orchestra.

Professor of Violin Gregory Fulkerson and Professor of Piano and Director of the Division of Keyboard Studies Robert Shannon appear together on the sixth volume of Bridge Records’ ongoing Complete Crumb Edition, released in February 2003. In his review on ClassicsToday.com, David Hurwitz praised their work. “Robert Shannon turns in a brilliant performance of the texturally fascinating Gnomic Variations. He’s joined by the no less masterful Gregory Fulkerson in Four Nocturnes for violin and piano, a work which despite its brevity remains one of Crumb’s very richest creations in terms of sheer color and sonic variety.”

Visiting Professor of Singing Jeffrey Gall was a panelist at the November 2002 Symposium of Singing, Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, in Basel, Switzerland, where he also presented a paper on Handel’s ornamentation. An article based on his talk will appear in a forthcoming edition of the Basler Jahrbuch für historische Musikpraxis. In March 2003 Gall gave a recital of baroque and 19th-century Russian music at the Sviatoslav Richter House in Moscow, Russia, and he was docent for singing at the International Handel Academy in Karlsruhe, Germany. He sang the title role in a semi-staging of Handel’s Amadigi at Monadnock Music in N.H. in August 2002. Gall appears on a new Centaur Records disc of Handel’s cantatas for alto and continuo, as well as on Centaur’s disc of J.S. Bach’s Cantata 53, Widerstehe doch der Sünde, for alto and orchestra, to be released in spring 2004.

In February 2003, Teacher of Double Bass Scott Haigh gave a master class at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. He later performed with the Cleveland Orchestra in Kimmel Center, home of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Assistant Professor of Jazz Percussion Billy Hart shared his insights about drummer Roy Haynes in a Sam Stephenson article for the December 2003 issue of Smithsonian. Hart’s own drumming virtuosity was praised in several media outlets. In the September 2003 issue of Downbeat, pianist Uri Caine included Hart in a shortlist of drummers and other musicians he would book at Zankel Hall if he were the impresario. The New York Times wrote that Hart’s set with Sonny Fortune, Vincent Herring, Visiting Professor of Jazz Saxophone Gary Bartz, Ronnie Mathews, and Cecil McBee “jolted the crowd” at the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, held at Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem last August. “The group tore through bebop, making it the stunning, spangling thing it can be.” Also in the Times, Ben Ratliff called Hart “one of the most swinging drummers alive.” And in the Oregonian in September, pianist Ezra Weiss ’01 spent a good bit of an article written about him singing Hart’s praises: “When you sit six feet from Billy Hart for two days, it changes the way you hear time,” Weiss says. “There are so many things that I tend to take for granted that Billy never does. And that really opened my eyes.”

Associate Professor of Music Education Jody L. Kerchner presented two sessions at the Ohio Music Education Association’s annual meeting in Cleveland, “Developing the Reflective Practitioner,” and “Singing through the Curriculum,” a collaborative presentation with Oberlin music education faculty members John Knight, Peggy Bennett, and Joanne Erwin. She wrote “Stepping down from the Podium: Leveling the playing (and singing) field,” a chapter in Musicianship for the 21st Century, an international monograph published by the Australian Centre for Music. Kerchner was the faculty host for the August 2003 Oberlin Alumni Association’s tour of Norway.

Articles, works of criticism, and editorials by Professor of Music Education and Conducting John Knight were published in recent issues of The Instrumentalist, for which Knight has been consulting editor for the past 15 years. The October 2003 issue featured “From Vaughan Williams to Elgar with Conductor Richard Hickox,” an interview with the celebrated English conductor. Also for the October issue, Knight wrote “Tea Time in London,” an interview with Ursula Vaughan Williams, who assisted Knight with his research on Ralph Vaughan Williams, Gustav Holst, and Percy Grainger. For the December 2003 issue, Knight wrote the feature article “An Interpretive Analysis of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony with Conductor Sir Georg Solti.” For the same issue, he wrote reviews about a number of CDs. The January 2004 issue included Knight’s reviews of two books, Simon Rattle, by Nicholas Kenyon, and Pierre Monteux, by John Canarina. Knight is also working on an article about Leonard Bernstein; the article will also be one of the final chapters in his book (in progress) The Legacy of Maestros, to be published by The Instrumentalist.

Professor of Ethnomusicology Roderic Knight, in his capacity as mentor for Ronald E. McNair Scholar Elio Trabal ’04, traveled during summer 2003 to the Dominican Republic, where he assisted Trabal with research on traditional and popular music. Together they recorded and videotaped a number of musicians, took lessons on instruments, and conducted interviews for use in future class presentations.

On Playing the Harp, by Assistant Professor of Harp Yolanda Kondonassis, was published in February 2003 by Carl Fisher Music. The 22-chapter book is a comprehensive approach to the major technical and musical issues of playing the harp. The Soundboard calls it “a wealth of wisdom” and “an excellent resource for beginners who want a foundational approach to serious study as well as for experienced performers looking for advice on main- taining health and form.” Kondonassis’ latest Telarc recordings, The Romantic Harp, released in February 2003, and Debussy’s Harp, released in November 2003, have received widespread critical acclaim. BBC Music Magazine writes, “[Kondonassis’] playing has power and depth ... clarity and precision as well as musical shaping.” Classics Today calls The Romantic Harp “a perfect release in every respect.”

Associate Professor of Music Theory Rebecca Leydon published several papers. In 2002, her articles “The Soft-Focus Sound” and “Towards a Typology of Minimalist Tropes” appeared in Perspectives of New Music and Music Theory Online, respectively. In 2003, she published “Ces nymphes, je les veux perpétuer: The Post-war Pastoral in Space-age Bachelor-Pad Music” in Popular Music. Leydon also delivered a talk, “The Limits of Seeing: Scopism and Its Musical Pitfalls and Rewards,” at the Feminist Theory and Music 7 conference, held in Bowling Green, Ohio, in July 2003.

Professor of African American Music Wendell Logan won a 2003 ASCAP Award. Logan is also chair of the Jazz Studies Program.

Associate Professor and Director of the Division of Music Theory Joseph Lubben presented a paper titled“Metric Saturation and Crystallization: Venezuela and Beyond” at the 2003 Society for Music Theory national conference, held in November. The paper, which draws on his experience as a Fulbright Senior Scholar, provided a survey of unusual rhythmic devices in Venezuelan folk music and applied tools derived from the devices to analyses of Bach and Beethoven.

In 2003, Professor of Singing Daune Mahy again directed the Oberlin-in-Italy program, held each June in Urbania, Italy. Last year, 53 singers, 20 instrumentalists, and 9 liberal arts students from throughout the United States performed concerts, opera scenes, and chamber music in theaters in Urbania, Urbino, Pennabilli, Apecchio, Fermignano, and Sassocavaro. The students also performed Mozart’s Don Giovanni in Urbino and Urbania. Joining Mahy on the Urbania program’s faculty were Professor of Singing Gerald Crawford, Professor of Singing Marlene Ralis Rosen, and Strickland Gardner Professor and Director of Conducting and Ensembles Timothy Weiss. During fall break, Mahy observed voice teachers and rehearsals in Bloomington, Ind., where she also took in a production of The Merry Widow that featured Vera Savage ’03, Scott Skiba ’02, and Jonathan Stinson ’00.

Assistant Professor of Recorder Alison Melville gave a solo recital titled “In Imitation of Songbirds” in Toronto in July 2003. Two weeks later she played a recital with harpsichordist Valerie Weeks and gambist Nan Mackie for Early Music Vancouver, following which she was a guest instructor for Early Music Vancouver’s workshop “To syngen and to playe.” As a member of the Toronto Consort, Melville performed in numerous concerts throughout Canada in 2002-03, and she appears on the group’s newest CD, Mariners and Milkmaids (Dorian, November 2003). Opera productions for which she played last year include Monteverdi’s Poppea in Vancouver, directed by Stephen Stubbs and Paul O’Dette; Gluck’s Iphigénie en Taurides with Tafelmusik, directed by Andrew Parrott; and Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, also with Tafelmusik. As a member of La Nouvele Sinfonie, Melville appeared in Montréal in a September 2003 program of orchestral music by Louis-Antoine Dornel, directed by Hervé Niquet. Archipelago, her new solo CD of 18th-century repertoire for recorder, baroque flute, and harpsichord, was released in November 2003.

In August 2003, Professor of Singing Richard Miller taught systematic technique and presented a two-week series of master classes at the International Summer Academy at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. This was Miller’s 25th year with the Mozarteum, and at the end of the session he was honored at a special ceremony and awarded a trophy commemorating his work there. Miller presented master classes throughout the year, including sessions at the University of Lethbridge (Alberta, Canada), Concordia University (River Forest, Ill.), Linfield College (McMinnville, Ore.), Northern Arizona University, and Western Canada University (London, Ontario), as well as for the French Association of Professors of Singing at the Centre Bizet, École Municipale, Ville de Dunkerque. Miller, who is also director of the Otto B. Schoepfle Vocal Arts Center, was an adjudicator for the Michigan Comic Opera Guild’s Harold Haugh Scholarship Competition in March 2003 in Ann Arbor, Mich. In July, he directed Oberlin’s Institute of Voice Performance Pedagogy.

Visiting Instructor of Aural Skills Jan Miyake presented a paper titled “Haydn and the Closing Theme” at the 2002 annual joint meeting of the American Musicological Society and the Society for Music Theory, held in November in Columbus, Ohio. Drawing on the work of Warren Darcy and James Hepokoski, the paper showed a correlation between exposition types and the musical ideas found in closing zones.

Assistant Music Director of Opera Theater Alan Montgomery presented a lecture on Donizetti’s Don Pasquale as part of the Cleveland Opera Lec-ture Series in February 2003. At the lecture, held in Porter Public Library in Westlake, a suburb of Cleveland, students Todd Boyce ’05 and Jonathan Green ’05 assisted by singing arias and a duet from the opera. Montgomery has had a number of reviews published in the online edition of Opera News. In March 2003, his reviews of Cleveland Opera’s productions of Tosca and Julius Caesar appeared as online exclusives, as did his review of the Toledo Opera’s production of Sweeney Todd. Montgomery’s review of Don Carlo, produced by the Cleveland Opera in June 2003, appeared in the online Opera News in September 2003.

Three works by Assistant Professor of Composition Jeffrey Mumford were premiered in the past year. In June 2003, amid the light of quickening memory was premiered by the National Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin, conductor, at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. In October, the Kennedy Center was the site for the premiere of Mumford’s four dances for boris, performed with several of Mumford’s other works by pianist Lura Johnson. In November, a focused expanse of evolving experience was premiered by the Empyrean Ensemble at the University of California, Davis, and performed a week later as part of the Festival of New American Music at UC-Davis. Other performances of Mumford’s works have taken place at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.; the American New Arts Festival at the University of Akron; Elebash Recital Hall in New York; Viola fest! at UC Davis; the 25th Chamber Music Festival in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico; the University of Arizona; the American Vanguard Festival at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa.; Cleveland State University; the Cleveland Museum of Art as part of the AKI Festival of New Music; and Oberlin. Mumford won an ASCAP Award in August 2003. Mumford becomes composer-in-residence at the Conservatory July 1, 2004.

Professor and Director of the Division of Musicology Steven Plank was a cornettist for the first modern performance of Daniel Bollius’ Repraesentatio harmonica conceptionis et nativitatis S. Ioannis Baptista at the April 2003 meeting of the Society for 17th-Century Music. The conference was held at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. The Bollius composition, which dates from the 1620s, was one of the first oratorios written in Germany. Plank also was the author of an article titled “Academic Regalia at Oberlin: The Establishment and Dissolution of a Tradition,” in the electronic journal Northeast Ohio Journal of History (www2.uakron.edu/nojh).

During summer 2003, Professor of Violoncello Peter Rejto was a faculty member at the Colorado College Summer Chamber Music Festival; performed Mendelsssohn’s Octet with the Tokyo Quartet at the Steamboat Springs Summer Music Festival; and was a judge at the fourth Melbourne (Australia) International String Quartet Competition. Also during the summer, the 13-concert radio series of the Tucson Winter Chamber Music Festival that he produced was broadcast internationally by WFMT-Chicago. Activities during the academic year took him to concert venues across the country. He performed with the Los Angeles Piano Quartet at the Library of Congress and the National Gallery, both in Washington, D.C., as well as in Des Moines, Iowa, Newtown, Conn., Yellow Springs, Ohio, Chicago, Ill., Reading, Pa., Vero Beach, Fla., and Columbia, Md. Under the auspices of the Sitka Festival, he performed in a 12-concert tour in Alaska in February 2003 with violinist Paul Rosenthal, violist Nicole Dival, and pianist Doris Stevens. Also in February, he performed with the Oberlin Trio (Joseph Schwartz, piano, Steven Clapp, violin) in Virginia. Rejto was artistic director of the Tucson Winter Chamber Music Festival in March 2003; he produced two recordings from that festival—Debut by soprano Jennifer Foster and 20th-Century Czech Chamber Music—both of which were released by Empire Records. Rejto’s own recordings of Arensky’s Two-Cello Quartet and Taniev’s Two-Cello Quintet also were released on Empire. In October 2003, he performed Beethoven’s five cello sonatas in Oberlin and repeated the performance at the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Associate Professor of Bassoon George Sakakeeny performed three teaching residencies while on research status during 2002-03. From September through January he was in residence at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, China, where he taught four master classes per week in bassoon and general musicianship for wind players. For his contributions, he was honored with the title Guest Professor of the Central Conservatory of Music. The title signifies an ongoing relationship, and Sakakeeny returned to Beijing in December 2002 for a short residency. In January 2003 Sakakeeny conducted a three-day residency at the Xing Hai Conservatory in Guangzhou, in the southern Chinese province of Guang Dong. In March and April, he was a guest teacher at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique et Danse in Lyon, France. During his residency there, he served as the primary teacher of the German bassoon class. Also in France, Sakakeeny was an adjudicator for the annual exams at the Fauré Conservatory in Angoulême. During his stay there, he performed a solo recital in a 12th-century church in the nearby village of Sers. Sakakeeny also presented solo recitals and master classes last year at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and Kent State University, and he was a judge at the Sorantin International Music Competition in San Angelo, Texas.

Emeritus Professor of Pianoforte Joseph Schwartz was a featured artist at Northern Kentucky University’s (NKU) Summer Piano Institute in July 2003. Carolyn Zepf Hagner ’63, a member of the piano faculty at NKU, was an instructor at the institute.

Professor of Viola Peter Slowik was featured prominently in April 2003 at the Australian String Teachers’ Association National Conference in Canberra, Australia. Slowik presented the keynote address, delivered several pedagogical papers, and taught a master class. He was also viola soloist in Berlioz’ Harold in Italy. The Queensland Conservatorium (Brisbane, Australia) also hosted Slowik, presenting him in a series of master classes, a solo recital, and as conductor of a viola ensemble concert. In January and February 2003, Slowik toured with pianist and Associate Professor of Instrumental Accompanying James Howsmon. Together they performed recitals at Goshen College (Ind.), the University of Texas at Arlington, and Baylor University. Slowik also presented master classes at Wheaton College, the University of Iowa, Chicago College of Performing Arts, Southern Methodist University, the University of Texas at Arlington, and Baylor University. He performed a week of subscription concerts with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and was principal violist for a series of concerts of the Santa Fe Pro Musica. The Credo Chamber Music Program, directed by Slowik, held its fifth session in July 2003. Activities included a series of public concerts in Oberlin and a concert tour in Indiana and the Chicago area, as well as the community service opportunities that are an integral part of the program.

Assistant Professor of Music Theory Diane Urista presented a paper titled “Beyond Words: The Moving Body as a Tool for Musical Understanding” at the June 2003 College Music Society international conference in Costa Rica. A published version of the paper appears in Music Theory Online, Volume 9/3 (August 2003). In July 2003 Urista participated in the 27th Summer Dalcroze Eurhythmics Workshop at Carnegie Mellon University. In August 2003, she presented a poster titled “Engaging the Kinesthetic” at the Music and Gesture International Conference in Norwich, London.

The Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble, conducted by Strickland Gardner Professor of Conducting Timothy Weiss and featuring soprano soloist Rebecca Cross ’83, performed composer Louis Andriessen’s original score to Peter Greenaway’s silent film M is for Man, Music, and Mozart in Warner Concert Hall last May. The concert was in preparation for a performance at the Cleveland Museum of Art that, unfortunately, was cancelled an hour before the event. An armed gunman had taken hostages in a Case Western Reserve University building near the museum, and the museum immediately closed.

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The Many Worlds of Jonathon Field

Jonathon Field (photo by Al Fuchs)

Jonathon Field has a genius for combining elements from different worlds to create an artistic whole.

The latest example of this genius occurred in January 2004 when Field, associate professor and director of Oberlin’s Opera Theater Program, directed a production of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. Part of an international opera project, the production brought together Oberlin students and singers from the professional training academy of the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for two performances at Cleveland’s Trinity Cathedral.

Not only did Field deal successfully with the challenges inherent in a project uniting two cultures with different languages, but he also overcame the technical problems involved in staging a theatrical work in a church. His use of projected video images as a conceptual backdrop to the singers added an alternative reality that both enhanced the stage action and gave the audience the illusion of a shape-shifting church icon.

Field uses the video aesthetic to convey the metaphysical or magical influences on the worlds his characters inhabit. In Dido and Aeneas, for example, witches control the weather and a god speaks to Aeneas. In his 2002 Oberlin production of Handel’s Alcina, Field employed video images to suggest the scenery of Alcina’s unnatural world, in which humans are turned into animals.

Field’s career has spanned both the professional and the academic worlds. He came to Oberlin, his first job in academe, in 1997, bringing with him some 25 years’ experience as a director in professional companies, including the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the San Francisco Opera, and the Seattle Opera. At Oberlin, he teaches three courses and mounts two operas each year. Several singers have been inspired by his opera stage-directing course to create individual majors in the subject. His Oberlin Opera Theater productions have consistently garnered glowing reviews in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Field’s goal at Oberlin is to prepare singers to step into apprenticeship or graduate programs with the discipline needed to do everything expected of a professional performer.

“The academic world allows more time than the professional world does to prepare a production,” he explains. “That’s because for students, the process can be more important than the final product. For our students, Dido and Aeneas was closer to a professional situation. There wasn’t much time to rehearse on stage; they had to put it together under a crunch.”

As artistic director of Lyric Opera Cleveland, Field still keeps one foot in the professional world. His dual career gives his students a window into the wider opera scene.

Under Field’s leadership, Lyric Opera has moved to a new venue, increased ticket sales, and become more financially stable. Northern Ohio LIVE magazine awarded the company honorable mention in its 2002 Awards of Achievement, citing “an electrifying presentation that has come to be the hallmark of Field’s tenure.”

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Marilyn McDonald’s Smithsonian Rhapsodies

Axelrod Quartet with Marilyn McDonald
(Smithsonian Institution Photo by Hugh Talman)

Each January a student string quartet from Oberlin has the extraordinary opportunity to perform at the Smithsonian Institution, using rare instruments from the National Museum of American History’s collection.

Professor of Violin Marilyn McDonald, a longtime artist-in-residence at the Smithsonian, is the mover and shaker who established this connection. Seven years ago, when the Smithsonian was seeking ideas for community outreach programs, she seized the moment and proposed the joint venture.

As outreach, the Oberlin quartet presents programs in D.C.-area schools. The performance part of the project is a gala concert in the Hall of Musical Instruments, performed on historic instruments and presented by the Smithsonian in cooperation with the Conservatory. This year, Oberlin’s Jasper String Quartet played on Vuillaume instruments given to the museum by the noted collector Herbert Axelrod, patron of the Axelrod Quartet, the Smithsonian quartet-in-residence of which McDonald is a member. As in past years, Oberlin’s Washington, D.C., alumni club hosted an annual post-concert reception and helped spread the word about the concert.

To select the student quartet that will participate each year, McDonald holds auditions and solicits students’ ideas for the school presentations. Then the students, working with several Conservatory coaches, choose repertoire and give concerts in Oberlin schools to gain outreach experience.

McDonald’s students have excelled in venues far beyond the Smithsonian. In 2000, three of her former students swept the top three prizes at the International Baroque Violin Competition, sponsored by the American Bach Soloists. Other former students work with the Manhattan String Quartet, the Houston Symphony, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the New York City Ballet Orchestra, and the Fry Street Quartet.

McDonald is more than an excellent teacher, however. She also is an active performing artist in her own right. She has been concertmaster of the Smithsonian Chamber Players, the Boston Baroque, and the Peninsula Music Festival Orchestra (Wisconsin), and she frequently solos with U.S. and international orchestras. The Axelrod String Quartet is currently performing the complete cycle of Beethoven string quartets in cities across the U.S. and Canada, including a July performance at the Stratford Festival of Canada. Among her many recording credits is a Virgin Classics disc of the complete Beethoven piano trios with the Castle Trio, another Smithsonian ensemble.

McDonald’s musical interests also encompass baroque music. She owns a Stainer violin, the favorite of J.S. Bach and other 18th-century composers, that dates from 1665. (Ironically, her modern violin, an Amati, is slightly older; it was built in 1630.) She has been involved in Oberlin’s Baroque Performance Institute since its inception in 1971, when the early music movement was in its infancy.

“There were no teachers then,” she recalls. “We were all self-taught. It was a very exciting time. There were few published editions. I still have scores that were hand-copied by early music pioneers Nikolaus Harnoncourt and August Wenzinger.”

McDonald’s latest project is a commission for a solo work from composer Enid Sutherland. Employing baroque and modern violins, the composition will combine McDonald’s artistic passions in one spectacular showpiece.

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