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:: The Prismatic Career of Lorraine Manz
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During 2006, Stephen Aron, Teacher of Classical Guitar, gave performances in recital series at, among other venues, the Monkey (New York City), Unison Arts (New Paltz, N.Y.), Shenandoah Conservatory (Winchester, Va.), Fairmont College (Fairmont, W.Va.), Youngstown State University (Youngstown, Ohio), and Appalachian State University (Boone, N.C.). He was a featured artist, master class teacher, and adjudicator at the Alexandria Guitar Festival (Va.), the East Carolina Guitar Festival (N.C.), the Rosario Guitar Festival (Ohio), and the Guitar Foundation of America International Convention (Ga.). His new book, The Complete Guitar Works of Burle Marx, was published by Clear Note Publications.
Two videos featuring Professor of Music Education Peggy D. Bennett have won international awards. Sing It Again!: Interacting With Children Through Music, a two-hour live television program produced by SUNY-Albany in February 2006, won Telly, Videogra-pher, and Communicator awards. The program, which was viewed by 2,700 early childhood care providers across New York, was built around videotaped segments of Oberlin’s MusicPlay classes. The MusicPlay program, which Bennett directs, is a program for children ages 3 to 5 that introduces a variety of musical concepts through singing, moving, listening, describing, analyzing, and creating. Another SUNY video conference featuring Bennett and produced in October 2005 won Telly, Communicator, and Aurora awards. Bennett’s publications during 2006 included “The PlayParty Project in Oberlin: A Family Affair” in General Music Today and “Credit: Giving It, Getting It, and Giving It Away,” in the Mountain Lake Reader. She participated in international conferences in 2006, presenting two sessions for Music Ed-Ventures in Minnesota and chairing two sessions for Narrative Inquiry in Music Education at Arizona State University. She also presented two sessions for the Ohio Music Educators Association in January. In August, Bennett taught classes in Tokyo and Osaka for Japanese teachers and children. The Japanese teachers of English use singing games in their work and base their teaching principles and practices on the SongWorks books that Bennett coauthored.
In June 2006, Teacher of Tuba Ronald Bishop was judge and narrator for the Potomac Festival’s International Euphonium and Tuba Competition, which was held at George Mason University, and he was a panelist and judge at the International Tuba and Euphonium Conference, which was held at the University of Denver. In July he performed as a member of the NEOTuba Quartet at Legacy Village in Cleveland; in September the quartet performed at Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pa. Bishop presented a master class at the Eastman School of Music in October 2006, and he returned to Rochester the following November to give a presentation, “The Tuba Renaissance since 1950,” at the New York State School Music Association convention. He took part in the University of Miami Frost School of Music’s Stamps Family Dis-tinguished Visitor Series in November, and in January 2007 he was a visiting professor at the Festival de Música de Santa Catarina in Jaraguá do Sul, Brazil; Professor of Flute and Performance Michel Debost, Professor of Percus-sion Michael Rosen, and Clinical Assistant Professor of Flute and Wind Chamber Music Kathleen Chastain also participated in the festival, which is directed by Professor of Oboe Alex Klein ’87.
Allen Cadwallader, Professor of Music Theory, continued his series of workshops in October 2006 at the Orpheus Institute in Gent, Belgium, a European center devoted to advanced studies in areas of performance, music theory, and musicology. His first workshop in Belgium took place in 2004, and he will return for a four-day series of lectures in October 2007. He has also lectured and presented workshops in Berlin, Munich, Vienna, and Freiburg. He will be the editor for Essays from the Fourth International Schenker Symposium, Volume 1, also to be published by Georg Olms Verlag.
Clinical Assistant Professor of Flute and Wind Chamber Music Kathleen Chastain participated in the 11th annual conference of the Network of Music Career Development Officers, hosted by the Manhattan School of Music in January 2006. That same month she was invited as career advisor for Cham-ber Music America’s 28th national conference, also held in New York City, during which she and Claire Chase ’01, flutist with the Inter-national Contemporary Ensemble, conducted a round-table discussion on funding for the arts. From late January to early February 2006, she took part in the Festival de Música de Santa Catarina in Jaraguá do Sul, Brazil, which is directed by Professor of Oboe Alex Klein ’87. In March 2006, Chastain performed composer David Felder’s Dionysiacs with the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble, conducted by Ruth Strickland Gardner Professor of Music and Associate Professor of Conducting Timothy Weiss. She performed another of Felder’s works, November Sky, along with Charles Wuorinen’s Archaeopteryx, several months later during June in Buffalo, a festival and conference for composers. In April 2006, she presented a lecture, “How to Survive in the Music Business,” at the Cleveland Institute of Music; at Western Kentucky University, where she also performed a recital; and at the South East Michigan Flute Associa-tion’s festival, where she presented a recital, conducted a master class, and served as a judge for the young artist’s competition. She was a member of the Oberlin Flute Institute faculty in June 2006, giving performances and master classes. The following month, she traveled to France for the Korean Flute Institute, staying to perform a benefit concert with Professor of Flute and Performance Michel Debost, Paul Boufil, cello, and Jeanne Roth, soprano, for the church in the village of Trouhaut. Chastain’s article, “Make a Profes-sional Impression,” was published in the November 2006 issue of Flute Talk magazine. In December 2006, she and Debost gave a recital and master class in Madrid.
During 2006, Associate Professor of Piano Angela Cheng performed with the Highland Park String Chamber Orchestra, the Banff Festival Orches-tra, and the Montreal, Vancouver, Colorado, Alabama, Chautauqua, Flint, and Regina symphony orchestras. Her chamber music performances included those at the Vancouver Chamber Music Festival, the Millsaps College Artist Series (Jackson, Miss.), and the Port Hope (Quebec) Friends of Music series, where she also gave duo performances with Associate Pro-fessor of Piano Alvin Chow. Cheng chaired the first jury of the 2006 Esther Honens International Piano Competition and adjudicated the American Pianists Association Competition, which was held in Indianapolis. She gave master classes at the Vancouver Academy of Music, Millsaps College, and Flint Institute of Music, and she was guest teacher for the studio of Menahem Pressler at Indiana University. During summer 2006, Cheng gave lessons and master classes at Vermont’s Adamant Music School, ARIA International Summer Academy at Ball State University (Muncie, Ind.), and the Banff Inter-national Keyboard Master Class.
During 2006, Associate Professor of Piano Alvin Chow appeared with the Denver Philharmonic and the Alabama Symphony orchestras. He gave duo performances with Associate Professor of Piano Angela Cheng in Michigan, Vermont, Indiana, Oberlin, and Canada. Chow adjudicated the Pacific Piano Competition (Vancouver), was a member of the screening jury for the Minnesota International Piano Com-petition (Minneapolis), and judged the Sorantin Young Artist Competition (San Angelo, Tex.). He gave master classes for the British Columbia Music Teachers Association, and during the summer he gave lessons and master classes at Vermont’s Adamant Music School, ARIA International Summer Academy at Ball State University (Muncie, Ind.), and the Banff Inter-national Keyboard Master Class.
Professor of Organ James David Christie ’75 premiered his composition Elégie in January 2006 at St. Rose Convent in La Crosse, Wis. The work was commissioned by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the convent’s chapel. During 2006, Christie gave recitals and master classes at Trinity University, the Northwest Bach Festival (Spokane), Pittsburg State University (Pittsburg, Kan.), Pacific Lutheran University (Tacoma), Wellesley College, College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, Mass.), Harvard University, and American Guild of Organists recitals in Sarasota, St. Louis, and Jackson, Miss. He performed dedication concerts for two new organs: the Juget-Sinclair at St. Andrew Episcopal Church in Wellesley and the Gouldings and Wood organ at Ball State University (Muncie, Ind.). Christie performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall and Carnegie Hall, gave a recital assisted by the Toledo (Ohio) Sym-phony Brass, and at Moorings Park in Naples, Fla., he was one of three organists to perform in honor of former Oberlin organ professor, honorary degree recipient, and alumnus Fenner Douglass ’42. During two 2006 tours of Europe, one in summer and one in autumn, Christie taught and performed in Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. To commemorate the 300th anniversary of Dieterich Buxtehude’s death, he performed the composer’s complete works in a series of eight concerts at Harvard’s Adolphus Busch Hall. Christie also served on the juries of the William C. Hall Organ Competition, held in March 2006 in San Antonio, and the Grand Prix du Chartres International Organ Competition, held in France’s Chartres Cathedral in August and September 2006.
An evening-length show of nine recent compositions by Assistant Professor of Composition Ross Feller was held in October 2006 at the New York City ex-perimental performance space Roulette. Other performances of Feller’s works during 2006 included: Nomadology, commissioned by the Prism Saxo-phone Quartet, at Symphony Space (New York City) and at Presser Recital Hall (Philadelphia) in December; Sfumato, commissioned by Ensemble Luna Nova, in June at the annual National Institute for Techno-logy and Liberal Education Festival of New Music, (Winter Park, Fla.); 17 Études for Piano in August at the Ragdale Foundation (Lake Forest, Ill.), where he was in residence; Kernel Panic at the Spoleto Festival in May and at Northwestern University in March; and Distiller at the 15th Annual Florida Electroacoustic Music Festival held at the University of Florida, Gainesville, in April. Uprooted, a piece for dancer and two-channel playback, was performed several times in Cleveland: at the Ingenuity Festival in July and in September at the Palace Theatre and the Cleveland Public Theatre. The work had also been presented in February at the North Carolina Com-puter Music Festival and at Columbus Dance Theatre. Two of Feller’s works were presented by Conservatory ensembles in Warner Concert Hall: the Oberlin Contemporary Music En-semble performed Triple Threat in September, and the Oberlin Percussion Group performed Disjecta in April. Feller’s article “When Music Resists Meaning: Major Writings of Herbert Brun,” was published in Computer Music Journal, Vol. 30, No. 1 (Spring 2006). In June 2006, he presented “Ataxia and Topological Tremors,” a paper and solo saxophone performance, at the Creative and Scientific Legacies of Iannis Xenakis International Symposium, held at Canada’s University of Guelph. Feller served on the Composition Program Committee for the Great Lakes chapter of the College Music Society’s 2007 conference, was a judge for the 2006 MTNA Ohio Music Teachers Association composition competition, and served on the 2007 Cleveland Arts Prize jury.
While on sabbatical during the 2005-06 academic year, Associate Professor of Opera Theater and Director of Opera Theater Productions Jonathon Field directed seven operas: a new translation of Mozart’s The Impresario and a new performance edition of Henry Mollicone’s Emperor Norton at the California Chamber Opera; a production of Die Zauberflöte with an international cast at the Wichita Grand Opera; a double cast staging of Carmen at Indiana University in Bloomington that was sold out for all performances; a production of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress with West Bay Opera that was called “triumphant,” “creative,” and “in-triguing” by local critics; and, with Lyric Opera Cleveland, where Field was Artistic Director, a new take on Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio that featured Associate Professor of Singing Salvatore Champagne as Belmonte; and the world premiere, in association with the New York City Opera’s VOX program, of Florida, composed by Randall Eng with a libretto by Donna DiNovelli. Plain Dealer music critic Donald Rosenberg called the production “a brilliant amalgam of jazz idioms” and wrote: “Field staged the opera with a keen eye for character and motivation. Using only chairs, props, and deft lighting … the performance brought to life the abstract vignettes … .” For Lyric Opera Cleveland he created a touring educational program that played in four counties in Northeast Ohio, and he produced the company’s productions of Pirates of Penzance and Das Barbacu. Field also was one of three judges for Eugene Opera’s annual voice competition. To cap off the season, Field put together a salute to composer and Oberlin alumnus H. Leslie Adams ’55 for Cleveland’s Inge-nuity Festival.
Hugh Floyd, Director of Choral Ensembles and Associate Professor of Choral Conducting, served as chorus master for the Cleveland Opera production of Romeo and Juliet in January 2006. In February, members of the Oberlin College Choir, under his direction, sang with the Cleveland Orches-tra for performances of Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Floyd also conducted the choir in performance at the American Choral Directors Associa-tion Convention in Chicago and in special performances with the Kronos Quartet. Floyd has served as clinician and adjudicator for the Disney Festival in Orlando and for the Michigan State Vocal Association, and he continues his association with the Interlochen Center for the Arts, where he conducted the Interlochen Philharmonic and Festival Choir in Verdi’s Requiem and a performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore. During fall 2006, he gave preconcert talks for the Cleveland Orchestra’s performances of Haydn’s Harmoniemesse, served as a clinician at the St. Mary’s Women’s Choir Festival, and conducted the New Jersey All State Chorus in the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. At the end of 2006, he prepared the Women’s Voices of the Oberlin College Choir for its five December performances with the Cleveland Orchestra of Gustav Holst’s The Planets.
In 2006, the Music in the Schools Teacher Education Commission of the International Society of Music Edu-cation (ISME) appointed Jody L. Kerchner, Associate Professor and Director of Music Education, to a six-year term as its American Com-missioner. Conductor of the Oberlin College Women’s Choir, Kerchner guest conducted in March 2006 the American Christian Schools Interna-tional Middle School Honors Choir, Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory of Music High School Honors Chorale, and Ohio Music Education Associa-tion District IV Middle School Honors Choir. During 2006, she wrote two chapters that were published in Music in Schools For All Children: From Research to Effective Practice. Proceedings of the 14th International Seminar of the Music in the Schools and Teacher Education Commission, and two articles appeared in Bulletin of the Council of Research in Music Education and Reflective Practice in Arts Education (Continuum Press). During the XXIII ISME World Congress meeting, held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, she presented “Move to the Music: Represen- tations of Children’s Music Listening Experience” and “Reflective Practices in Music Education: Cross-cultural Understandings.” At ISME’s Music in the Schools and Teacher Education Commission Seminar, held at the Hong Kong Institute of Education, she presented “Growing into the Music Educator Identity.”
During 2006, Professor of Recorder and Baroque Flute Michael Lynn performed with Apollo’s Fire, Handel & Haydn, Tafelmusik, Bach and the Baroque, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Aulos Ensemble, and Ensemble Galileo in New York City, Toronto, Halifax, Aspen, Pittsburgh, Boston, Cincinnati, Columbus, Philadelphia, Santa Fe, Princeton, Scottsdale, Washington D.C., and the Greater Cleveland area. He also performed at the Aspen, Caramoor, and Scotia (Nova Scotia) festivals. Lynn, who also is Oberlin’s Associate Dean for Technology and Facilities, has performed with Apollo’s Fire on three new CD releases from Koch International: as recorder and piccolo soloist on Telemann’s Don Quixote, as principal flute on the Mozart Piano Concertos K.466 and K.488, and as a member of Apollo’s Singers on the ensemble’s new recording of Mozart’s Requiem. He also publishes a column of musical editions for Flute Talk magazine. In May 2006, Lynn completed his 30th year on the Oberlin faculty.
During the 2005-06 concert season, Professor of Violin Marilyn McDonald appeared with the Axelrod Quartet (performing on the Axelrod Stradivarius instruments) in eight concerts on the regular series at the Smithsonian. She continues to perform with the Castle Trio and the Peninsula Music Festival (Door County, Wis.), and she is concertmaster of Boston Baroque. A highlight of the year was a tour of Holland and Belgium with the Castle Trio that included concerts in, among other cities, Utrecht, Haarlem, Bruges, and Antwerp.
Associate Professor of Cello, Viola da Gamba, and Baroque Cello Catharina Meints performed at the Smithsonian Institution on March 19, 2006, in a concert in memory of her late husband, Professor of Oboe James Caldwell. In April 2006, she was the viola da gamba soloist in performances of St. Matthew’s Passion with the Cleveland Orchestra. That summer, she performed at the Founda-tion for Baroque Music in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and in September she conducted a master class for modern cellists at the Eastman School of Music. In fall 2006, she gave eight concerts with the baroque orchestra Apollo’s Fire. Meints performed in Oberlin several times during 2006 as a member of the Oberlin Baroque Ensemble, as a faculty member of Oberlin’s Baroque Performance Institute, and in a faculty recital with guest pianist Barry Snyder of the Eastman School of Music.
Assistant Professor of Recorder Alison Melville gave numerous performances during 2006 with the Tafelmusik Ba-roque Orchestra, including Telemann’s Double Concerto for Recorder and Viola da Gamba; Linda C. Smith’s Garland, which was written for Tafelmusik; and Bach’s Mass in B Minor. She and Michael Lynn, Professor of Recorder and Baroque Flute and Associate Dean of Technology and Facilities, appeared in one of the orchestra’s concerts at the Scotia Festival (Nova Scotia) in June 2006. She participated in the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir’s concert and recording of music by Bach and Mondonville, which will be released on CBC Records in 2007, and she performed in productions of Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo and Mozart’s Magic Flute with Opera Atelier. As a member of the Toronto Consort, Melville was involved in concerts of medieval pilgrim’s music with guest Oliver Schroer; 16th-century Spanish repertoire; and numerous shows for high school audiences. The consort’s latest CD, the Da Vinci Collection, was released in October 2006. Earlier in the year she organized an Oberlin recital with students John West ’09, Andrew Eden ’07, and Christina Giuca ’09, which featured various works written for the recorder since the mid-20th century and included two of her own short pieces for the Bird Project, an ongoing creative collaboration with various musicians and composers. She participated in sessions to create the soundtrack for The Tudors, a cable TV series that premiered this year on Showtime. Other 2006 performances included a program of 17th-century Italian music with Greg Ingles, trombone, and harpsichordist Borys Medicky; an appearance at the Grand River Baroque Festi-val; and an outdoor recital at Toronto’s Music Garden.
Great Britain’s Royal School of Church Music commissioned Professor of Musicology and Collegium Musicum Director Steven Plank to write an article for its journal, Church Music Quarterly. The resulting piece, “The Echo of Tradition,” in which Plank shares thoughts on historical performance in the modern Church, appeared in the quarterly’s June 2006 issue. A month later, Plank attended the Amherst Early Music Festival, where he conducted excerpts from Phillipe de Monte’s Missa Confitebor and taught a class in Gregorian chant. He gave a presentation on choosing literature for early music ensembles at an Early Music America forum for collegium directors that was held during the national meeting of the American Musicological Society in October 2006. Plank continues to review books and recordings for Choir & Organ magazine.
Professor of Viola Peter Slowik served three Artist-in-Residence appointments during 2006: for the Boise Arts Coun-cil in February and at Indiana Univer-sity and for the Rocky Mountain Viola Society in April. His 2006 solo performances included: concerto soloist with the Boise Baroque Orchestra and recitals in Oberlin, Chicago, Wheaton, Ill., Denver, and Philadelphia. He performed in the Credo Chamber Music Alumni concert in Goshen, Ind., and the Chautauqua Centenary Celebration concert in Patterson Springs, Ill. Dur-ing 2006, Slowik gave additional master classes at Wheaton College and the universities of Michigan and Colorado.
Professor of Piano Peter Takács began 2006 by organizing a Mozart Marathon —12 hours of continuous performances in Warner Concert Hall—to celebrate the composer’s 250th birthday, January 27. He ended the year with a December recording session for Centaur Records’ soon-to-be-released retrospective of works by present and former TIMARA faculty members; Takács recorded Edward J. Miller’s Seven Sides of a Crystal for piano and electronic tape. In between, he performed in recital at Humboldt State University (Arcata, Calif.), the Jefferson Library (Monticello, Va.), and the South Carolina Music Teachers’ Convention, and he was featured lecturer at the Ohio Music Teachers’ Convention, speaking on the topic “Trills, Glissandos, and other Technical Hurdles in Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas.” In January 2007, Takács attended the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts’ annual meeting in Miami, Fla.; he is national panelist in classical music for the foundation. In March, he gave a presentation, “Wrestling with the Score,” in Toronto at the combined convention of the Music Teachers’ National Association and the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers, and he was adjudicator for the Chicago Symphony Youth Auditions and the PianoArts Competition in Milwaukee.
Assistant Professor of Music Theory Diane Urista was invited to organize and moderate a panel presentation, “A Tribute to Jonathan Kramer (1942-2004)” at the New York State Music Theory Society annual conference at Skidmore College in April 2006. The panel focused on three themes Kramer pursued throughout his career: time, rhythm, and postmodernism. Kramer, who once taught at Oberlin, mentored Urista in graduate school. In September 2006, Urista received a contract with Oxford University Press for her forthcoming book, Embodied Musicianship; in November she was awarded funding from the Mellon Foundation for a research assistant to help her complete the book. The article Urista coauthored with former Assistant Professor of Music Theory Deborah Rifkin, “Developing Aural Skills: It’s Not Just a Game,” was published in the August 2006 issue of the Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy. Her article “Chopin’s Prelude in C Major Revisited: Integrating Sound and Symbol,” appears in the March 2007 issue of Music Theory Online.
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The Prismatic Career of Lorraine Manz
Versatility is the name of the game for Associate Professor of Singing Lorraine Manz. Styles, genres, musical periods—the mezzo-soprano samples them all. Consider her most recent projects, occurring within the span of a few months.
by Zachary Lewis
First there was an orchestral performance of Manuel de Falla’s El Amor Brujo with the Oberlin Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Music Director of the Oberlin Orchestras Bridget-Michaele Reischl. This was followed by a recital with the Cavani Quartet at the Columbus Museum of Art and a chamber orchestra version of Mahler’s “Kinder-totenlieder” at the Peabody Conservatory. A second Oberlin concert followed, featuring music by the late Jean Langlais, the 20th-century organist-composer, which Manz performed with his widow, organist Marie-Louise Langlais, and Professor of Flute and Performance Michel Debost. Then came a strikingly diverse recital of works by Loeffler, Reutter, and Brahms, presented as part of Cleveland’s Arts Renaissance Tremont Concert Series (with Professor of Instrumental Accompanying James Howsmon and Asso-ciate Professor of Viola Karen Ritscher).
Does she pick favorites? No way. The most she’ll admit to is a fondness for orchestras. “There’s nothing like that kind of collaboration, but I usually tend to love the pieces I’m doing at the present time,” she says. “It’s just a wonderful thing to have so much to sing.”
And so many places to sing. She has performed at prestigious concert halls, opera companies, and music festivals of all types, including Lincoln Center, Severance Hall, and Blossom Music Center, the Cleveland Orchestra’s summer home. Her most recent operatic role was as Aunt Cecelia in Lyric Opera Cleveland’s production of Little Women, directed by composer Mark Adamo.
Audience members aren’t the only ones who benefit from Manz’s wide-ranging talent. Her students do, too. During a typical year, Manz sees around 18 students individually and teaches a voice pedagogy class. She also directs the Otto B. Schoepfle Vocal Arts Center (OBSVAC), a high-tech studio founded by Emeritus Wheeler Professor of Singing Richard Miller, where measurable analyses advance the art of singing. Students who use the OBSVAC facilities receive electronic analyses of their voices that can confirm visually what they are learning in their lessons: consistent legato, vibrancy, tonal balance, and vowel tracking.
Manz says the facility allows students to learn more efficiently. “It’s about taking acoustic information and applying it to the art,” she says. “It’s a wonderful tool. You can go up there and practice and get some affirmation of what you’re doing.”
Manz gets to know each of her students as individuals, finds out what they do best, and uses that as a starting point. Her goal, she says, is “to teach singers to communicate artistically with a solid foundational technique. Technique is always in service to the art. I teach them to walk onto the stage with spontaneity, joy, and confidence,” she says.
Manz came to Oberlin 14 years ago, attracted by high-caliber students and illustrious faculty members active in just as many musical arenas as she. But it was the environment that sealed the deal.
A graduate of a small liberal arts college, Manz found Oberlin felt like home. It is a place where she can be herself—her accomplished, many-sided self. “We all thrive on variety here,” she says. “It’s energizing. It keeps me going.”
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Conducting a Diverse Career
by Zachary Lewis
(Photo by Herbert Ascherman)
Life couldn’t be much better—or busier—right now for Timothy Weiss, Director of Oberlin’s Division of Conducting and Ensembles, Ruth Strickland Gardner Professor of Music, and Associate Professor of Conducting. And it’s all because he’s studiously avoiding any semblance of the “same old same old.”
Weiss is always debuting new chamber and symphonic works with the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble, but in February 2007 he added opera to his already diverse curriculum vitae.
He led Oberlin forces in the American premiere of Lost Highway, a music theater work by Austrian composer Olga Neuwirth based on the eponymous David Lynch film. Two weeks after sold-out performances in Finney Chapel, Weiss exported the production to Columbia University’s Miller Theatre. [See “Lessons Learned on the Lost Highway” on page 18.] The New York Times described the production as “hugely complex” and “terrific.”
But the Oberlin podium isn’t the only one where Weiss is excelling. Late last year, he was named Music Director of the newly formed Newark-Granville Symphony Orchestra in central Ohio.
Programming there will emphasize standard repertoire. This, too, represents something out of the ordinary for Weiss. He maintains that the standard (or at least unconventional) rep is good for him; he says there is a “lineage” uniting all music, and exploring the classics will only bring “a little more clarity” to his Oberlin performances. His Newark-Granville listeners, however, can expect some of the new, too. In Weiss’s first concerts there, he introduced works by John Adams and Israeli-American composer Tamar Muskal.
Life on the other side of the pond has been no less exciting. Weiss recently signed with U.K.-based Allied Artists, which quickly led to conducting engagements in Great Britain. In March 2006 in Glasgow, he led the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in a performance of John Adams’ The Wound Dresser. Michael Tumelty of the Glasgow Herald called the performance “a fascinating journey through John Adams’ atmosphere-drenched setting of sections of Walt Whitman’s Civil War poem … .” Under Weiss’ direction, the orchestra’s performance was “profoundly haunting,” wrote Tumelty. In October 2006, Weiss led the Britten Sinfonia in a performance of Steve Reich’s Eight Lines at London’s Barbican Centre last October. The concert was part of the centre’s Steve Reich at 70 festival celebrating the composer’s 70th birthday .
In an April 2007 Oberlin Contemporary Music En-semble concert on campus that featured soprano soloist Malia Bendi Merad ’03, Weiss gave the U.S. premiere of Luigi Dallapiccola’s cantata for soprano and orchestra An Mathilde. “It’s a great synchronization of faculty initiatives,” says Weiss, referring to an upcoming book on Dallapiccola by Professor of Music Theory Brian Alegant. In May, Weiss conducted premieres of three new works during a TIMARA (Technology in Music and the Related Arts) department festival celebrating the career of Professor of Electronic and Computer Music Gary Lee Nelson, who will retire at the end of the academic year.
Students, take note. Variety is rewarding. “I hope they see from me that you don’t have to sacrifice any part of your soul to be successful,” Weiss says. “A diverse musical life is the most satisfying.”
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