My brother and sister, both musicians, always got into the same argument on long car trips. My sister would be talking about some show she just went to, and my brother would talk about how annoying it was that she would talk about the crowd, or the visuals, or anything besides the music. “All that extra stuff. It. Just. Doesn’t matter. To me.” And he’d put his headphones back on and listen to Dream Theater or Mahler.
Their difference in attitudes might explain their individual paths: Emma created her own major in college and is looking to get another degree in music tech. Jake has a masters in classical percussion, and perhaps ironically, now plays percussion for an opera company that is particularly intricate and experimental in its stage sets and performances.
“Classical Music: Dead or Alive?” “Is classical music dead?” “Here are all the reasons why classical music is dead as a genre.”
These are just a few headlines from articles diagnosing why classical music audiences seem to be getting older and smaller. Many writers focus on the music itself, concert etiquette, the fact that the most popular classical music is centuries old, etc. However, many of these opinions ignore the business side of the arts. The art form of classical music has been placed on a pedestal, an ivory Rapunzel tower, separated from everyday culture and everyday life.
When average citizens think about classical music, images arise of something spookily formal, old, and expensive, and one that requires education many potential audience members don’t think they have. Looking at this scenario from a business perspective, it becomes painfully obvious that the “product” is inaccessible, with mundane marketing, and lacking in futuristic vision. Oh, and I might add, priced at $100 a ticket. Continue reading “Is Classical Music Dying? Is it Dead Yet? How About Now?”→
It’s no April fools’ joke — anyone really can come to love contemporary music! On Saturday evening, April 1, Oberlin’s Contemporary Music Ensemble made their debut at a new, laid-back venue, the Birenbaum. CME invited every audience member to open their minds and ears to what many consider the least accessible of all classical music periods, with a program consisting of pieces written by composers who are still alive. And as CME trombonist Alex Melzer so aptly stated, the musicians really “played the heck out of it.”Continue reading “CME Welcomes Audiences with Accessible Performance”→
It’s getting to be that time of year again when there are so many concerts that it becomes impossible to decide which to attend. Those who chose the Oberlin Chamber Orchestra concert on Saturday, April 8 in Finney Chapel, were well rewarded. Under the direction of Raphael Jimenéz, and featuring a world premiere alongside a program ofrepertoire staples, the Chamber Orchestra gave one of their finest performances of the year. Continue reading “Oberlin Chamber Orchestra Delights”→
Saturday evening April 8th, Oberlin Conservatory’s Finney Chapel resounded with an eclectic range of sounds. Presenting a wonderfully diverse program under the baton of Rafael Jiménez, the Oberlin Chamber Orchestra began with the world premiere of Web of Silver, written by student composer William Bolles-Beaven (‘18). This was followed by Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 featuring competition winner Shiyu Yang (‘17) and Mendelssohn’s popular Symphony No. 4 (“Italian”).
Whimsical history lessons, sheep, and well-played baroque music defined the Tafelmusik concert at Oberlin’s Finney Chapel on Tuesday evening, February 28. The Toronto-based group played as part of Oberlin’s Artist Recital Series. Though the concert was two hours long with a brief intermission, the ensemble maintained a high level of energy and performed Bach’s music with style and flair.Continue reading “A Strange Trip with Tafelmusik”→
Every year Oberlin’s Artist Recital Series brings some of the biggest names and most exciting musicians to rural Ohio. As per tradition, on Friday, April 21, the Cleveland Orchestra found its way to Finney Chapel for their yearly performance. Approaching their hundredth year, the Orchestra sounds as vibrant as ever. Under the expert direction of guest conductor Andrew Davis, the Orchestra gave a poised and calculated performance, rounding out the 139th year of the Artist Recital Series. Continue reading “Ninety-nine concerts of TCO on the program, ninety-nine concerts of TCO”→
With a vibe that screams “Mom and Dad’s unfinished basement,” the Birenbaum performance space transforms into the hippest of music venues when the sun goes down. Last Saturday evening, April 1, the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble under Tim Weiss performed a program featuring excitingly diverse late-twentieth and twenty-first century works. Sitting behind the bar, it was hard to tell if the pouring of water and clinking of glasses was a part of the music itself or a quirk of the space.
On April 7th, the Oberlin Sinfonietta performed at Warner Concert Hall under the baton of Timothy Weiss. While the student ensemble has played recent compositions in the past, this time they presented a work so new it has not yet been officially premiered: Vijay Iyer’sTrouble, a violin-concerto-in-progress, written for and featuring Oberlin alum Jennifer Koh.
The decision to stage an opera with a story as well known as Cinderella is a risky one. It takes a remarkable performance and production to breathe new life into such a time-tested tale. This past week, Oberlin Opera Theater gave such a performance of French composer Jules Massenet’s Cendrillon. Under the direction of Jonathon Field and conducted by Christopher Larkin, the production was nearly flawless from beginning to end.