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Dean's Greeting

As the 2004-05 academic year reaches its conclusion, perhaps the most apropos characterization of the Conservatory of Music to have emerged in these past months is found in the words of Daniel Ginsberg of the Washington Post. In his review of our students’ recent performances at the Kennedy Center, he wrote: “The historic Oberlin College Conservatory, an hour’s drive outside of Cleveland, showed why the school is such a national treasure with its wonderfully varied concert Friday evening.”

Oberlin is indeed a national treasure, and one that proudly continues to generate some of the world’s most accomplished individuals. This year, graduating seniors in the Conservatory have won a Watson Fellowship, the Marshall Scholarship, two Goldwater Scholarships, and both Javits Scholarships in music. We also placed five of our students with the St. Louis Opera’s young artists program and swept many top organ competitions. The list of prizes won by our students is very long, but more importantly, what is to be found in every member of this graduating class is great promise for the future.

It is not an exaggeration to say that our graduates hold key positions in performance, teaching, and leadership, and in the creative preservation of serious music around the world. Those who have attended Oberlin seem uniquely capable of bringing their dreams to fruition through personal imagination and a great deal of hard work.

This spring, a delegation from Oberlin, comprising members of the faculty and myself, met with the leadership and faculty of the three major music schools in China. We were rather surprised to discover that the cofounder of China’s oldest music school, the Shanghai Conservatory, graduated from Oberlin. Huang Tzu, a 1926 graduate of Oberlin, brought the study of western music to China and is revered by the current teaching faculty in those schools as the patriarch of western music in their country. China now produces, among other things, many of the finest young musicians to be found in the world.

The idea that a single person can change the world is bold, but the challenge to do so is certainly undertaken as a serious endeavor by the graduates of this institution. It is this pioneering spirit—coupled with a great passion for music and a dedication to craft and artistry at the highest level—that sets Oberlin graduates apart from their peers. I hope you will enjoy reading about some of them in this issue of the magazine. Please feel free to be in contact with me at any point in the future. It remains a privilege and pleasure to serve as Dean of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.