Priscilla Smith, Professor Emerita of Music Education

Priscilla Smith, professor emerita of music education, died March 10 at her home in Florida. She was 74.

Smith joined the Oberlin faculty in 1973 after teaching for 14 years at other institutions. She was chair of the Music Education division at the Oberlin Conservatory for nine years. An associate conductor of the Northern Ohio Youth Orchestra, from 1976 until 1981, she became music director in 1982-83. She served widely on faculty committees and councils.

After retiring from Oberlin in 1991, she spent a year teaching at the Punahou School in Hawaii. Later, in Florida, she played the cello, taught at Edison College, and conducted string workshops for high-school students.

Smith was a graduate of Indiana University and received her Bachelor and Master of Science degrees there. She studied cello with Luigi Silva and Fritz Magg and played in the Indianapolis Philharmonic as well as the Fort Lauderdale, Miami Beach, and Tallahassee Symphonies.

Two sisters and 19 nieces and nephews survive her.

A scholarship fund has been established in her memory at Oberlin. Contributions can be sent in care of the fund to Oberlin Conservatory Development, Bosworth Hall, 50 W. Lorain St., Oberlin, OH 44074-1089.

In March Professor of Electronic and Computer Music Gary Lee Nelson and his wife, Christine Gorbach, a painter and video artist, presented a program at Oberlin featuring the world premieres of four films: Hierarchy, Charitoo, Death and Transfiguration, and Light Song. Nelson says the works represent "a substantially new direction in our creative work."

Accepted at several U.S. and international festivals, Hierarchy was on view in the spring at the Cleveland Institute of Art, the Florida Electroacoustic Music Festival, and the Peabody Conservatory. It can be viewed online at www.wigged.net.

Professor of Musicology Steven Plank wrote an article on Hildegard of Bingen that is included in Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia (Yorkin Publications, 1999). In October Plank conducted a performance at the Cleveland Museum of Art of Carissimi's oratorio Jephte with the soloists and choir of St. Paul's Episcopal Church of Cleveland Heights, Ohio. In November he chaired a session on brass historiography at the meeting of the Historic Brass Society in Toronto where he presented a paper, "Old Ways and New: Brass Historiography for the Coming Age."

The December 27, 2000, issue of the Louisville (Kentucky) Courier Journal featured a profile of Plank that included a large photo of him holding a "natural trumpet a valveless instrument at its height in the eighteenth-century."

Professor of Violoncello Peter Rejto gave the United States premiere of Gerard Schurmann's cello concerto, The Gardens of Exile, November 2000 in Oberlin, with the composer in attendance. Rejto gave the world premiere of the work with the Bournemouth Symphony in 1991 and has recorded it for Equilibrium Records. Rejto also gave a recital in Detroit at the Henry Ford Estate, and played concerts with the Los Angeles Piano Quartet in Orlando, Florida, Toronto, Canada, St. Paul, Minnesota, and Amherst, Massachusetts. His 1975 performance of Dvorak's String Quintet, op. 77, was included on the 50th anniversary Marlboro Festival CD, which was released in 2000 on Sony Classical. The CD received the Deutsche Schallplatten Preis in Germany and is reviewed in the January 2000 issue of Gramophone.

Assistant Professor of Composition Anna Rubin, a recipient of an Ohio Arts Council's Individual Artist Grant in 2000, served on the Council's 2001 award-selection panel. She also participated in two other selection panels the music-performances' panel at the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music's U.S. Conference and the paper-selection panel for the International Computer Music Conference in Beijing.

Recent performances of Rubin's compositions include Seachanges for amplified gamba and digital audio, performed at the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music's conference; Landmine for MIDI flute, live electronics, and digital audio, commissioned by Fiona Wilkinson for the Music from the Forefront series at Bowling Green State University; Viola a Tre, for three violas, in a Cleveland Composers Guild concert; Two for Baroque Flute Duo, performed at Princeton University; and Stolen for amplified baroque oboe, live processing, and digital audio, performed at Oberlin's OCEAN Festival.

In October Rubin's Family Stories: Sophie, Sally a computer-generated text/sound work was performed at the University of Louisiana, Baton Rouge and as part of a lecture by Bonnie Mikisch at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. Rubin has also written reviews of new CDs featuring computer music by Ned Boulhallasa and Jacques Tremblay for recent issues of Computer Music Journal. Rubin earned a Ph.D. in December from Princeton University.

In November, Cleveland Plain Dealer music critic Donald Rosenberg quoted Associate Professor of Bassoon George Sakakeeny and Associate Professor of Singing Marlene Ralis Rosen in an article about faculty members performing where they teach. The "genesis" of the Oberlin Faculty Chamber Music Series, Sakakeeny said, was "the idea that we could mix together and get to know one another as artists, as musicians, as performers." Rosen said performing reminded faculty members of their students' "struggles, of their problems with nerves, the memory, the attempts at communication . . . (Performing) helps me find new strategies for them and myself."

Professor of Viola Peter Slowik presented master classes in November 2000 for the Ohio Viola Society at Baldwin-Wallace College in Cleveland and for the Seattle Viola Society at the University of Washington. He also performed a benefit concert that month for CREDO Chamber Music Association in Chicago.

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