James McBride '79, (l) honors his mentor Wendell Logan. (The Oberlin Jazz Ensemble is in the background.

One for Logan
Odinarily, musicians performing at a tribute concert are described as playing "for" or "to" the guest of honor. But at the November 2001 Wendell Logan Tribute, which commemorated the newly endowed Wendell Logan Conservatory Jazz Studies Scholarship, the energy driving each performance was unquestionably "from" the honoree himself.

An accomplished composer, a Professor of African-American Music, and the Chair of the Jazz Studies Program, Logan has served as a boundless source of inspiration for generations of Oberlin musicians and scholars. So it was understandable that program space was at a premium when trying to accommodate all of the Logan proteges wishing to pay homage.

The Oberlin Jazz Ensemble and a host of faculty, alumni, and guests performed in Finney Chapel from an eclectic list of jazz repertoire that featured numerous works of Professor Logan's, including Groove Easy, The Shadow Knows, and One for Trane (blues).

Leon Dorsey '81 (who, along with James McBride '79, established the Logan scholarship to fund the annual tuition of an outstanding jazz studies student) squeezed in on bass on the performance of Logan's Howl for Albert Ayler (modern blues). He had this to say about his former professor: "I feel that his knowledge and wisdom has touched every aspect of my musical career. He has triumphed as an outstanding classical and jazz composer and arranger, successfully pioneered and developed a Jazz Studies Program at a distinguished conservatory of music and has been a dedicated husband and family man."

Similar sentiments were echoed by McBride, the evening's Master of Ceremonies, who interlaced moving accounts of his days under Professor Logan between the musical sets.
Although a birthday cake was wheeled onto the stage to bring the night's event to a close, Logan's ebullient reaction gave the sense that the party had just begun. And, indeed, Logan's continually expanding career would appear to indicate as much. He was recently commissioned, as part of a grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, to compose a jazz work for the Tri-C JazzFest in Cleveland. JazzFest will take part in the city's centennial tribute to poet Langston Hughes. Logan's piece, "Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz by Langston Hughes," is based on Hughes' poem "Ask Your Mama."

- David R. Daniels '84

Erato Quartet Wins Coleman Chamber Ensemble Competition
The Oberlin tradition of taking the top prize at the Coleman Chamber Ensemble Competition continues.
The Erato Quartet won the Coleman-Barstow Award for Strings the highest prize in the string category at the prestigious competition, held April 2001 in Pasadena, Calif. The Erato joins an illustrious Oberlin roster that now includes four top prizewinners in the last six years: Elan Trio (2000); eighth blackbird (1997); and The Miro Quartet (1996). Earlier Oberlin ensembles the Maude Powell String Quartet and Orion Trombone
The Erato Quartet

Quartet also won top prizes at the Coleman, in 1990 and 1989, respectively.

The Erato's members at the Coleman were violinists Julia Sakharova '03 and Gared Crawford '04, violist Jacob Adams '03, and cellist Elias Suarez '03. Their coach is Alla Aranovskaya, first violinist of the St. Petersburg String Quartet, Oberlin's quartet-in-residence.

One of the jurors, David Hickman, who is the Regents Professor of Music at the University of Colorado, noted that the Erato Quartet "plays better than many professional quartets I've heard, and could have a top performing career ahead."

Offering Haydn's "Emperor" String Quartet in C Major and Ravel's String Quartet in F Major on its audition tape, the ensemble played the Ravel in the winners' concert, held on Sunday, April 29, at the California Institute of Technology's Ramo Auditorium.

With its beginning in 1947 as the Coleman Auditions for Young Chamber Music Ensembles, the competition was renamed in 1982 and has become a nationally acclaimed annual event for young non-professional musicians, offering an opportunity to perform before an outstanding panel of nationally chosen judges.

- Marci Janas '91

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