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George Walker

George Walker

The Robert W. Woodruff Library of Emory University has purchased the archives of composer George Walker ’41. Included in the collection are the original manuscripts of Lyric for Strings (said to be one of the most performed orchestral works by a living American composer), the celebrated Trombone Concerto, and Lilacs for Voice and Orchestra, which won the Pulitzer Prize and had its premiere by the Boston Symphony in 1996. The entire catalog of compositions, along with recordings, reviews, dissertations, correspondence, photos, and many historical documents, comprise the archive, which is now available for scholarly pursuit.



H. Leslie Adams

Offertory, a work by composer H. Leslie Adams ’55, is included in King of Kings: Organ Music of Black Composers, Past and Present, Vol.1 (GIA Publications), published in 2008. MP3s from his earlier releases for Albany Records, Love Rejoices: Songs of H. Leslie Adams, and pianist Maria Corleys interpretations of his Twelve Etudes, are available for download at


Anne Phillips

In 2007, singer and composer Anne Phillips ’56 released Ballet Time (Conawago), a CD on which she can be heard with jazz greats and old friends Dave Brubeck, Marian McPartland, Roger Kellaway, Dave Frishberg, Bob Dorough, and more. As elegant as New Yorks Rainbow Room and relaxed as a teenager after school, noted Jazz Improv Magazine. Anne shows a part of why shes become an influential fixture in the citys music scene and a friend to many. All Music Guide praised the release: Theres never a dull moment in this delightful musical scrapbook. Members of the class of 1956 will be delighted to hear a rendition of Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning, which she performed at the last class reunion. Anne continues the annual performance of Bending Toward the Light: A Jazz Nativity, which she wrote, arranged, and conducts, at Birdland in New York City. Originally conceived in 1985, the show continues to garner rave reviews.


Organist Florence Mustric ’61 released East of Berlin (MSR Classics), the first of a CD series recorded on the world-famous Beckerath organ at Clevelands Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, where she performs year-round in the series Music Near the Market. Donald Rosenberg, writing in Gramophone, hailed the transcription of Mussorgskys Pictures at an Exhibition as a particularly spacious evocation of the Mussorgsky miniatures, with all manner of expansive tempi allowing for time to dwell on details that may fly by in other versions. Florence plays the Mussorgsky as if the work were born for the organ. The recording also includes works by Ben-Haim, Sokola, and Sda, highlights of the most memorable and popular selections from programs Florence has played at Trinity since 1994.


Allan Schindler

Allan Schindler ’66, Professor of Composition at the Eastman School of Music, was awarded a $10,000 commission from the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University. He is writing Take Flight, a work for solo marimba and eight-channel electro-acoustic sounds and live processing to be premiered this winter and performed on tour by virtuoso marimba soloist Nathaniel Bartlett. A celebration of 100 years of aeronautical navigation, Take Flight will be recorded for Albany Records in 2009. Allans music has been performed by soloists and ensembles around the world and is available on the Innova, Centaur, CDCM, New Albany, and Capstone labels. He joined the Eastman School in 1978 and serves as director of the Eastman Computer Music Center, which provides computer and digital audio facilities for composing and performance projects.


Members of the Houston Symphony Orchestra, celebrated in trading cards (courtesy of the Houston Symphony Orchestra).

In a fun twist on Americas passion for collecting baseball cards, the Houston Symphony Orchestra issued a selection of official trading cards featuring 33 of its musicians. Violinists Margaret Bragg ’67 and Kurt Johnson ’99, associate principal bassoonist Eric Arbiter ’72, principal flutist Aralee Dorough ’83, and oboist Colin Gatwood ’84 all were featured in the symphonys marketing effort to connect the musicians with their audience. Kurt, Eric, and Colin were interviewed about their newfound two-dimensional fame in the September 12, 2007, edition of the Houston Chronicle.

Readers of the Wall Street Journal might have recognized Rick Kvistad ’67 in an advertisement for Infiniti, which ran in October 2007. He is the principal percussionist and associate timpanist of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra.


Earlier this year, baritone Richard Lalli ’74, Professor of Music (adjunct) at Yale University, was appointed residential-college master to lead Jonathan Edwards College. University President Richard Levin praised him as a fabulous teacher, a wonderful director and music coach, and a spectacular performer. Richard recently was named Artistic Director of the Yale Baroque Opera Project, which is funded by the Mellon Foundation and introduces undergraduates to aesthetic, stylistic, and performing aspects of 17th-century Italian opera.


CD release by Christa Rakich

Concert and recording artist Christa Rakich ’74 performed on a diverse collection of period instruments for The Trio Sonatas of Johann Sebastian Bach, released by Loft, the label founded by Roger Sherman ’72. Christa plays organ and harpsichord; Wendy Rolfe ’74 performs on baroque traverso; Dana Maiben ’75 can be heard on violin; and Alice Robbins, former faculty member of the Oberlin Baroque Institute, plays cello and viola da gamba on the CD, which received five stars from Choir and Organ magazine. Christa is chair of the organ department at the New England Conservatory of Music. She is also artist-in-residence at St. Pauls Episcopal Church in Brookline, Mass., and directs the music program at St. Mark the Evangelist Church in West Hartford, Conn.


CD release by Wendy Rolfe

Wendy Rolfe ’74, a flutist, released Images of Brazil, recorded in So Paulo and supported by a Berklee College of Music Faculty Fellowship. It features folk-influenced historical and contemporary music for flute and piano, collected on visits to Brazil over the past 20 years. Wendy, Professor of Flute at the Berklee College of Music, has been on the faculty for 21 years. This summer, Wendy returned to the International Flute Festival in Quito, Ecuador, and performed with the Buzzards Bay Musicfest in her hometown of Marion, Mass. She performs, records, and tours with Bostons Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, and New Yorks Concert Royal, and will perform at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in Sir Jonathan Millers staged St. Matthew Passion in April 2009. She has recently been chosen as a Fulbright Commission Specialist Roster Candidate. Her page on the Berklee web site ( includes links to a Boston Globe article about her work with projects in Rio de Janeiro, and an interview, in Portuguese, about her study of choro composition and performance in Brazil this past July.

Cleveland Johnson ’77 was appointed the new director of the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship Program in April 2008. He is taking a two-year leave of absence from DePauw University, where he is professor of music history and past dean of the School of Music. The Watson directorship rotates among former fellows who serve for a two- or three- year term; Cleveland was an Oberlin Watson Fellow in 1977–78 and spent his Watson year investigating the historic organs of Europe. More information is available at


Robert Ward (photo courtesy of the San Francisco Symphony).

The San Francisco Symphony promoted Robert Ward ’77, the orchestras longtime associate principal horn player, to principal chair in 2007. Robert has been a member of the symphony since 1980. In an article by Joshua Kosman, music critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas praised Robert for his powerful and generous music-making, and said he looks forward to many more years of exciting music-making together.



Jean Hasse (photo by Dave Young)

Composer and pianist Jean Hasse ’81 wrote a chamber orchestra score to accompany Murnaus 1926 silent film, Faust, with performances in Bristol (U.K.) and at Londons Barbican in October 2007. Silent film scores for spring 2008 included Mabels Dramatic Career (1913), for which she provided the piano accompaniment at BFI Southbank in London, and Ghosts Before Breakfast (1928) for the ensemble Counterpoise, which is touring the U.K. with the film. Jean earned a Master of Arts degree, focusing on composing for film and television, from the University of Bristol in 2006, where she is now special lecturer in composition and coordinator of the MAFTV composition course. Learn more at

book cover

Claire Fontijn ’82 won the 2007 Nicholas Slonimsky Award for Outstanding Musical Biography from ASCAP for her 2006 book, Desperate Measures: The Life and Music of Antonia Padoani Bembo (Oxford University Press). She also received, from the International Alliance for Women in Music, honorable mention in its 2007 Pauline Alderman award competition. An accolade accompanying the honor stated: This is a work of exemplary archival research and musicological import for scholars, complemented by a valuable recording. This will be the definitive Antonia Bembo biography for years to come. In 2008 Claire received the Barbara Morris Caspersen Associate Professorship in the Humanities at Wellesley College.

Musical America named Robert Spano ’83 2008 Conductor of the Year. The announcement lauded him as that rare American conductor who has been able to launch a successful career in his native country. Known for his imaginative programming and deep commitment to music of his own era, Robert, in his six years with the Atlanta Symphony, has brought the orchestra increasingly into the limelight with a commissioning and recording programming that is the envy of orchestras everywhere.

Pianist Dan Loschen ’86, a member of Boston Musical Theater (BMT), performed with the ensemble at Lincoln Center on the closing night of the Mabel Mercer Foundations Cabaret Convention in November 2007. Based in Newton, Mass., the vocal and instrumental ensemble was formed in 1976 and specializes in the performance of historical American popular music. In March 2008, he traveled with BMT to South Korea to perform and give master classes. He continues to teach piano at the Rivers School Conservatory in Boston.

Julie McQuinn

Julie McQuinn

Julie McQuinn ’87, Assistant Professor of Music at the Lawrence Conservatory of Music since 2003, received the Young Teacher Award in June 2007. The award is presented in recognition of demonstrated excellence in the classroom and the promise of continued growth. A music historian, Julie teaches courses on the history of music, music and gender, opera, and borrowed music in the movies. In presenting her with the award, Lawrence University President Jill Beck praised Julies legendary ability to engage students and create excitement for learning: When you teach, your enthusiasm makes the material leap off the pages of books and scores and into the hearts and minds of your students.

Composer Pierre Jalbert ’89 received the Chamber Music Society (CMS) of Lincoln Centers 2007 Elise L. Stoeger Prize for Chamber Music, a $25,000 cash award given every two years in recognition of significant contributions to the chamber music repertory. Pierre accepted the award from CMS co-artistic director Wu Han at a March 20, 2007, ceremony at Lincoln Center. The event included a live performance of a representative work by the Escher String Quartet, recorded for national radio distribution by the WFMT Radio Network. Pierres Sonata for Cello and Piano received its world premiere at the Aspen Music Festival in June 2008 with David Finckel performing on cello and Wu Han on piano. The Caramoor Festival commissioned and presented the world premiere of his String Quartet No. 4, performed by the Escher String Quartet at Caramoor in Katonah, N.Y., in July 2008.


In winter 2007, composer Garrett Fisher ’91 released Stargazer (16 Visions), a recording of the opera about Galileo Galilei for which he composed the music and wrote the libretto. His Fisher Ensemble presented the premiere of Psyche, a new interdisciplinary opera including puppets, vocalists, and actors, in May 2008 at The Chapel in Seattle. The Seattle Weekly wrote, His music coexists with other arts in a harmonious balance that must be something like what Wagner was groping for when he came up with his theories of the total art work. The piece was presented again in August in Cal Anderson Park (Seattle) and acclaimed by the Seattle Weekly as a Greek-myth feast of song, dance, spoken word, pre-recorded beats, electric viola, and elaborate puppet/costumeswhich flourish in an outdoor setting that lets air and light into the piece.


Cara kihlstedt (photo courtesy of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago).

TimeOut Chicago has noticed that violinist Carla Kihlstedt ’93 doesnt limit herself to genres. The magazine was previewing Necessary Monsters, a theatrical concert that Kihlstedt conceived, wrote the music for, and performed in singing and fiddlingalong with six other musicians. The work, inspired by Jorge Luis Borges The Book of Imaginary Beings, was a co-commission of Chicagos Museum of Contemporary Art, where it was staged in early 2008. Necessary Monsters was also previewed on Ovation TV. In April, Carla was in Brooklyn, performing Lisa Bielawas Double Violin Concerto, with Colin Jacobsen, at the MATA festival. New York Times critic Allan Kozinn observed that surely few concertos require a soloist to sing while playing, as Ms. Kihlstedt was asked to do in the vigorous second movement. She did it with all the zest of a virtuoso country fiddler. Carla continues to perform with the groups she founded, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum and Tin Hat.

Pianist Blair McMillen ’93 kept up a busy schedule in the 200708 season. Highlights in 2007 included a solo recital of works by Stroppa, Tower, Stucky, and others, titled Music for the New Century, at Columbia University in April. New York Times critic Anthony Tommasini heralded Blair as new musics torchbearer when played by the formidable Mr. McMillen, any piece sounds terrific. In October, Blair was artistic director for a concert of Esa-Pekka Salonens music at Miller Theatre for its Composer Portraits series. He also performed in and was joined on the program by the Imani Winds (which include bassoonist Monica Ellis ’95 and oboist Toyin Spellman ’94), soprano Tony Arnold ’92, and Professor of Cello Darrett Adkins ’91. Newsday wrote: Blair McMillen found a world of wonders within the planes of Salonens wildly demanding writing for piano. In November, he participated in a tour of Russia with the Da Capo Chamber Players. This summer he played Prokofievs Piano Concerto No. 1 with the American Symphony Orchestra at the Bard Music Festival. Blair released Multiplicities: 38 (Centaur Records), a solo CD of music by composers born in 1938 that includes works by Bolcom, Harbison, Rzewski, Wuorinen, Tower, and Corigliano.


Melia Tourangeau (photo courtesy of USUO)

Melia Tourangeau ’94 was appointed president and chief executive officer of the Utah Symphony and Utah Opera (USUO) in January 2008. In a statement, USUO Board Chair Patricia A. Richards said Tourangeau is one of the new breed of leaders who have combined studies of music and management to address the needs of todays performing arts leadership. We were tremendously impressed with her solid reputation, ambitious vision, and public spirit. Prior to this appointment, Melia had been with the Grand Rapids Symphony (GRS) since 1997, serving in a number of capacities until being named president in 2005. Highlights of her tenure there include orchestrating the sold-out debut performance of the GRS at Carnegie Hall in 2005 and the CD Invention & Alchemy, which received a Grammy nomination in 2007. Melia, who earned a degree in piano performance, says that Oberlin was instrumental in exposing her to the business side of music. While a student, she worked with Conservatory Business Manager Connie Matlin on summer programs and on the earlier newsletter incarnation of this publication for the Conservatory Public Relations Office.

The Rosary Cantoral: Ritual and Social Design in a Chantbook from Early Renaissance Toledo (University of Rochester Press), a monograph by Lorenzo (Frank) Candelaria ’95, Associate Professor of Musicology at the University of Texas (Austin), was published in March 2008. A University of California reviewer lauded this nonpareil volume [which] merits the admiration and closest attention of Hispanists, late medieval, and early Renaissance scholars. In addition to priceless information presented in free-flowing prose, The Rosary Cantoral profits from the exquisite aspect of every publication detail.

Herencia Juda (Tresero Productions), a new CD released by guitarist, composer, and arranger Benjamin Lapidus ’95 in March 2008, was acclaimed as truly remarkable on To hear the swinging Caribbean rhythms complete with cowbells, claves, maracas, and conga drums, backing up [Hebrew] songs . . . is, in every sense of the word, a trip. Latin Beat Magazine saluted the exuberant, experimental collection of scores in which Caribbean rhythms become one with the Hebrew songs that emanate from the synagogues of Havana, Santiago de Cuba, Curacao or San Juan. Ben toured Japan in May and June 2007 with flute virtuoso Kaori Fujii to showcase music from their album, Garota de Ipanema (JVC/Victor), which appeared on numerous year-end critics lists for 2007. Since the 2005 release of Vive Jazz, Ben has maintained an intense performance schedule with his Latin jazz group, Sonido Isleo. He also gives workshops and master classes on Caribbean music at colleges, high schools, and elementary schools around the world, often under the auspices of Carnegie Halls Neighborhood Concert Series.

Tenor Chris LeCluyse ’95 sang in the American premiere of Alessandro Striggios 40-voice Missa sopra Ecco s beato giornio at the Berkeley Festival in June 2008. Performing with Conspirare, he soloed on a recording of music by Tarik ORegan, Threshold of Night, released in August 2008 on the Harmonia Mundi label. Chris is assistant professor of English and director of the writing center at Westminster College in Salt Lake City.


Amy Oshiro (photo by Victor Dezso)

Violinist Amy Oshiro ’95 joined the second violin section of the Philadelphia Orchestra in January 2008. She says she was very honored to be selected, and is proud to represent Oberlin in this fantastic orchestra after a nine-and-a-half-year stint with the St. Louis Symphony, the last year as assistant concertmaster. In May, Amy accompanied the Philadelphia Orchestra on its three-week anniversary tour of Asia. The trip commemorated the orchestras first Asian trip, to Japan, in 1967; its historic tour of China in 1973 as the first American orchestra to appear there (at the invitation of President Nixon and Secretary of State Kissinger); and its first tour of Korea in 1978. In July, Amy gave two solo performances at the Kingston Chamber Music Festival at the University of Rhode Island.


Michael Christie (photo by Chris Lee)

When Riccardo Muti cancelled conducting dates because of illness in March 2008, conductor Michael Christie ’96 stepped in and made his debut with the New York Philharmonic. He led performances of Elgars Violin Concerto, with soloist Pinchas Zukerman, and Coplands Third Symphony. The New York Times acknowledged Michael as a talented man in a tough spot. Michael has been the music director of the Brooklyn Philharmonic and the Phoenix Symphony since 2005 and is also the music director of the Colorado Summer Music festival and principal guest conductor of the Queensland Orchestra in Australia, where he was chief conductor until 2004.

imageMatt Shulman (photo by Jimmy Katz)

In 2008, trumpeter and singer-songwriter Matt Shulman ’96 recorded Feel the Sun (Jaggo/Universal), the follow-up to So It Goes, his critically acclaimed debut CD. He also completed a 2008 summer residency at National Underground, New York Citys hip new singer-songwriter venue, owned and operated by musician and songwriter Gavin DeGraw. Matt received honorable mention for his song Almost There in the jazz category of the 2006 International Songwriting Competition.

Drummer and producer Neal Smith ’96 released two CDs on his own label, NASMusic, in 2004. About Swingin Is Believin, wrote: Smith has that much-desired talent of solidifying an organized sound while driving the music in interesting directions. And about Some of My Favorite Songs Are , noted that Neal left no doubt that he is a drummer and leader of the first order and deemed him a multifaceted drummer who is at home in a variety of milieus. Neal played on and produced Cup O Joe (2007) for fellow alum and guitarist Joe Friedman ’99 and Gravy Train (2008) for saxophonist Andrew Beals. A program of soulfully textured music, raved about the latter effort, and highlighted Neals new brand of textural modern swing as well as a production style that allows for a broad open sound. Neal also appeared on Cyrus Chestnuts Cyrus Plays Elvis (Koch) in 2007 and Sachiko Yasuis Enamorada (Pid) in 2008. He continues to lead his own trio, which performs original compositions and classic arrangements of jazz standards.


David In-Jae Cho

Conductor David In-Jae Cho ’97 won first prize in the third Eduardo Mata International Conducting Competition held in Mexico City in September 2007. Over the course of three rounds of auditions, 18 participants selected from a pool of more than 100 applicants conducted the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Universidad Nacional Autnoma de Mxico (OFUNAM) in challenging programs for a distinguished panel of judges. The award included the opportunity to conduct an array of Mexican and international orchestras over the coming year. David has been the Utah Symphonys assistant conductor since September 2006, directing pops, educational, and subscription classical series.

Soprano Martha Guth ’98 won first prize in the prestigious Wigmore Hall/ Kohn Foundation International Song Competition, held in September 2007 in London. One of five finalists, she performed a program of works by Copland, Ravel, Poulenc, Rachmaninov, Chris DeBlasio, and Richard Strauss with her pianistic partner, Spencer Myer ’00. The jury, chaired by John Gilhooly, director of Wigmore Hall, awarded her 10,000.


Daniel Okulitch (photo by Marie-Noelle Robert)

Bass-baritone Daniel Okulitch ’99 appeared in the title role of scientist Seth Brundle in the July 2008 world premiere in Paris of The Fly, an operatic adaptation of David Cronenbergs horror film, coproduced by the Los Angeles Opera and the Thtre du Chtelet. Daniel reprised the role for the U.S. premiere in Los Angeles in September; Anthony Tommasini, writing in the New York Times, called that performance courageous. Daniel brought to the role, wrote Tommasini, a poignant allure, and he sang with conviction, intelligence, and volatility. Cronenberg directed the production, and Placido Domingo led the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France in Howard Shores score; David Henry Hwang wrote the libretto. Overall, what surprised me about the entire process was how collaborative it was, writes Daniel. Despite the presence of such talented and well-known personalities in the mix, from day one there was a spirit of cooperation and never a sense of one persons ego being the driving force. It was a treat to work with Domingowe had several coachings on the roleand to get a sense of his mind, his musicality, and his deep love for the act of singing. Cronenberg and Shore were both tremendously giving and supportive. All in all, it was one the best creative experiences of my career.

Percussionist Greg Akagi ’99 recently was awarded tenure in his position as assistant principal for timpani and percussion in the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra and the Washington National Opera, which he joined in April 2006. He also has been a contracted musician with the West Virginia Symphony since 2000.



Rebecca Fromherz

Soprano Rebecca Fromherz ’00 won the 2008 Lillian and Paul Petri Foreign Music Study Award in a biennial competition held at Oregon State University in April 2008. Her winning concert program included music by Liszt, Barber, Richard Strauss, Mozart, Beethoven, Verdi, and Kurt Weill. She has spent the last seven years performing in Europe, with appearances that include a benefit concert with the Bratislava Radio Orchestra to raise money for building wells in Malawi, Africa, and singing all three of the female roles in Verdis Nabucco with three different opera companies in Germany and Holland. She has also studied opera and German art song in Vienna with, among others, mezzo-soprano Christa Ludwig. Rebecca will use the award to return to Vienna to study with soprano Elisabeth Promonti, voice coach Christian Koch, and acting coach Mike Loewenrosen.


CD release by Spencer Myer

Pianist Spencer Myer ’00 won first prize in the 20th annual New Orleans International Piano Competition in July 2008, playing Beethovens Sonata No. 24 and what the Times Picayune called a colorful selection of programmatic works by Franz Liszt and Isaac Albeniz. The cash award comes with seven performances, including what will be his debut solo recital in Londons famed Wigmore Hall [see alumni note for Martha Guth ’98]. In 2007, Spencer released his debut CD, Spencer Myer Plays Preludes and Variations (Harmonia Mundi), featuring works by Copland, Busoni, and Debussy and the world premiere recording of Variations on LHomme Arm by Ellis Kohs. The Plain Dealer hailed the superb disc of works [and] the pianists pinpoint elegance and flexibility, while BBC Music Magazine noted Spencers clarity of touch, rhythmic buoyancy, and clean textures. Also in 2007, he won third prize at the William Kapell International Piano Competition (University of Maryland) for his performance of Rachmaninovs Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43.


Hristo Popov

In 2007, Hristo Popov ’00 released his second CD, Franz Schubert: Sonatas for Violin and Piano (Bravante), with pianist Deltcho Deltchev. Of a sold-out performance of these sonatas, the Los Alamos Monitor review noted how well the two performed together, blending piano and violin parts into the seamless whole Schubert surely intended. This is romantic music, alive with both joy and pathos, and Deltchev and Popov brought out its full emotional potential. Hristo continued his busy schedule of concerto solos, recitals, and chamber music appearances to critical acclaim in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Cleveland. Plain Dealer music critic Donald Rosenberg praised him as an excellent player, who provided the score with chamber-music refinement and cohesion Currently on the faculty at Kent State University and Western Reserve Academy, Hristo is the founder and artistic director of the Chagrin Valley Chamber Music Series and Summer Workshop for Strings in Sandusky, Ohio.

The New York Philharmonic, led by Xian Zhang, presented the New York premiere of Huang Ruos ’00 Fanfare and Announcement, two short pieces from his Three Pieces for Orchestra, at Avery Fisher Hall in November 2007. New York Times critic Allan Kozinn described Huang as an imaginative young Chinese composer whose music integrates Western and Chinese elements with a thoroughness that makes the combination sound natural. Two months earlier, trumpet virtuoso Mark Gould and his New York Trumpet Ensemble staged the world premiere of Huangs Give You Some Color See See at the Festival of New Trumpet Music 2007 in New York City. In February 2008, pianist Soyeon Lee performed the world premiere of Divergence: Version for Piano and Speaker at Carnegie Hall. The New York Times hailed the wildly colorful piano piece as a riot of oscillating repeated chords and outbursts of passagework until the tranquil final section, which includes a spoken text (a Chinese poem from the Song dynasty) intoned here by the composer. One upcoming premiere will have special significance for Oberlin [see OberlinLive from the West Coast].

Adam Sliwinski ’01 and his group, So Percussion (, have kept a busy schedule in the past year, with performances in Australia, the Ukraine, Russia, Italy, Scotland, and Germany, and across the United States, including appearances at the Lincoln Center Festival in New York City. A recent New York Times article described the groups concerts and recordings as ranging from dazzlingly virtuosic to ambient [and] meditative. Members of So Percussion continue to develop original music, commissioning new pieces for percussion quartet from Steve Reich, Steve Mackey, Fred Frith, and Dan Trueman. Justin Davidson, writing for New York Magazine (April 7, 2008), praised their recording of Steve Reichs Drumming in a survey of New Yorks best classical music moments, saying A recent CD by the So Percussion ensemble blows away the original version by the composers own group. Adam plans to complete his doctorate at the Yale School of Music in fall 2008.


Yuan Tian

Pianist Yuan Tian ’01 performed works by Debussy, Bach, Liszt, Mozart, and Ravel in her New York debut, which was presented by the Li Foundation at Carnegie Halls Weill Recital Hall in June 2007. She also released a CD of the complete Chopin Etudes Op. 10 and Op. 25 on the Beijing Global Records label. She is pursuing a doctoral degree at the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University.

Jazz pianist and composer Ezra Weiss ’01 released his third CD, Get Happy (Roark), a mix of classics and original compositions, to positive reviews. commends it as a CD to savor over and again with its imaginative freshness each performance sparkles with vitality and charm. Ezra also won the 2007 ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Award. He lives in Portland, Oregon, where he teaches at the Northwest Childrens Theater and Portland State University.

Soprano Ellie Dehn ’02 made her Metropolitan Opera debut in the 2007 Met in the Parks summer series as Marguerite in Faust. As a George London Award winner for 2007, Ellie was paired with bass Samuel Ramey on the George London Foundation for Singers series. The concert was held in December 2007 at the Morgan Library & Museums Gilder Lehrman Hall. Vivien Schweitzer praised the performance in the New York Times, writing that Ellie sounded in radiant bloom. In January 2008, she performed Juliet in Romeo and Juliet with the Minnesota Opera. Of this appearance, the Minnesota Star Tribune wrote, Dehn is plainly verging on a major career. her singing takes on an ethereal beauty. Ellie made her stage debut with the Metropolitan Opera as Mrs. Naidoo in Philip Glasss Satyagraha in April. In June, she sang Cressida with the Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Other recent appearances include engagements with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, and the Cincinnati May Festival. More information is available at

As a member of the Mark Morris Dance Group Music Ensemble, tenor Scott Mello ’02, recently completed a tour of Brahms Liebeslieder and Neue Liebeslieder Walzer that took him to Urbana-Champaign in March 2008, Santa Barbara in May, and Toronto in June. He participated in casts of singers in two well-reviewed performances by Apollos Fire, the Cleveland Baroque Orchestra: Lovers and Lyres: The Worlds of Monteverdi in November and Christmas Vespers in December 2007. With Seraphic Fire, Miamis Professional Chamber Choir, he appeared in performances of SWAY: Miamis Musical Heritage, a program of concerts in April 2008; and a program titled Music for Kings: Handel and Mozart, Arias and Ensembles in May. Also that month, he was a finalist in the Fifth Biennial Bach Vocal Competition held in Bethlehem, Pa. Scott earned a Master of Music degree in vocal performance at New York University in spring 2008.

Composer Adam Schoenberg ’02 received the 2007 Morton Gould Young Composer Award (ASCAP) and the 2007 Palmer-Dixon Prize for Most Outstanding Composition from the Juilliard School; he was also the recipient of a 2007 Meet the Composer grant from the Southern Arts Federation. Recent commissions include the Albany Symphony, Blakemore Trio, Iris Chamber Orchestra, American Brass Quintet, and New Juilliard Ensemble. His compositions have been performed throughout the United States by the Aspen Chamber, Charleston, Chicago Youth, and Kansas City symphonies; the Society for New Music; and Tetras Quartet, among others. Adam recently scored his first feature length film, The Dissection of Thanksgiving, starring Kathleen Quinlan and Jay O. Sanders. He is finishing his DMA (ABD) at the Juilliard School, where he also earned a Master of Music degree in 2005. Visit for more information.


Kristen Leich

Mezzo-soprano Kristen Leich ’03 made her New York City Opera debut under unexpected circumstances. She was in the latter half of her first season with the NYCO and scheduled to debut as the Sandman in Hänsel und Gretel. Concurrently, she was the understudy for the role of Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte. With 20 minutes’ notice on October 27, 2006, she stepped in to cover Dorabella in the second act under the baton of Julius Rudel and finished the remainder of the performance. Days later, she was asked to sing two additional performances on two hours’ notice. The following week, Kristen made her scheduled debut in Hänsel und Gretel. She continued the demanding schedule in 2007, singing Tisbe in Opera Birmingham’s production of La Cenerentola; Kate Pinkerton in the New York City Opera production of Madama Butterfly; and Peep-Bo in The Mikado, staged by the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, among other roles. Currently a soloist with the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, she performed the roles of Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel, Meli/Max in The Fashion, and Sesto in Giulio Cesare. She appears in the role of Benjamin Younger on a recording of John Carbon’s Benjamin, which was released by Zimbel Records in 2007.

Violinist Julia Sakharova ’03 has been performing with the Albany Symphony Orchestra as a regular member, and has been a member of the violin faculty at the Newark School of the Arts in New Jersey. She has accepted the position of assistant concertmaster with the Alabama Symphony and planned to move to Birmingham this fall. Her web site is


The Quiroga Quartet, founded by violinist Cibrán Sierra-Vázquez (top center)

The Quiroga Quartet (Cuarteto Quiroga), founded in 2003 by violinist Cibrán Sierra-Vázquez ’03, has won top prizes in several important international string quartet competitions. In 2006 the ensemble won the Dr. Glatt Special Prize at the Geneva International Music Competition. The following year, they received second prize from the Performers Jury and first prize from the Jury of the Critics and Press at the Bordeaux International String Quartet Competition, held in Gironde, France, and were awarded the 2007 Culture Prize by the Spanish National Radio (RNE). During the 2007–08 season, the Quartet was in residence at the Fundación Museo Cerralbo in Madrid. Cibrán, who studied with Professor of Violin Milan Vitek and performed at Oberlin with the Tappan Quartet, writes: “Oberlin was chamber music for me in all senses. Now chamber music is my life. I cannot but thank Oberlin for this.”

Chanticleer, the classical vocal ensemble group of which tenor Todd Wedge ’03 is a member, received the 2008 Ensemble of the Year award from Musical America. Chanticleer performed at Oberlin during the 2007–08 season of the Artist Recital Series.

Brooklyn-based singer Stephanie Rooker ’04 released her debut CD, Tellin You Right Now (RookLove Productions), featuring a mix of original R&B, jazz, funk, and soul, in March 2008. Of her music, the Roanoke Times wrote, “Don’t try to pigeonhole Stephanie Rooker into a particular style of music. The Radford native will disappoint you.”

Singer-songwriter Erika Kulnys-Brain ’05 writes from Nova Scotia that she is composing lots of new material, planning her next album, and organizing an East Coast tour. She released her newest single, I Had to Come Home, with a series of special performances in May 2008. Keep up with her at


Kathryn Leemhuis (photo by Jessica Strickland Photography)

Mezzo-soprano Kathryn Leemhuis ’05 won first place in the 2007 Opera Columbus Irma M. Cooper International Vocal Competition and was a second-place regional winner in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She recently earned her Master of Music degree at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. While completing her studies, she performed roles such as Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte, Tulip in Bolcom’s A Wedding, and Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel. She performed Dorabella under the baton of James Levine at the Tanglewood Music Center in summer 2007. She was a Gerdine Young Artist at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis for three years, where she performed Flora in La Traviata. She performed Flora a second time at Opera Colorado in fall 2007 with Stephen Lord ’71 conducting and appeared in Marilyn Horne’s “The Song Continues …” festival at Carnegie Hall in January 2008. Kathryn declined an offer to cover Jennifer Larmore at Carnegie Hall in Puccini’s Edgar because she was accepted as a Ryan Opera Center Young Artist at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

In February 2007, soprano Colette Boudreaux ’06 made her Carnegie Hall debut in the role of L’Innocente in the concert version of L’Arlesiana with Opera Orchestra New York. In spring 2007 she participated in the St. John the Divine Recital Series in New York City in a concert of English songs and jazz tunes. Her performance in September in a duet from Donizetti’s Don Pasquale at New York’s Verdi Square Festival received “deserved ovations,” according to the New York Times. Colette recently earned a Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music.

In May 2008, Colin Levin ’07 performed the role of L’ombre de Samuel and Ferris Allen ’04 appeared as Achis in the American premiere of the rarely seen 17th-century opera, David et Jonathas by Marc-Antoine Charpentier. American Opera Theater staged the production at Georgetown University’s Gonda Theatre and subsequently at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Opera House.