Oberlin Conservatory of Music Brings 2013 Illumination Tour to NYC, 1/15-19


One of the country's most prestigious musical institutions, the Oberlin Conservatory of Music comes to New York City in January for a tour -- spanning four concerts in four venues -- that includes performances by the Oberlin Faculty Jazz Ensemble, Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble with International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Oberlin College Choir, Oberlin Baroque and the Oberlin Orchestra.

Conservatory Dean David H. Stull notes, "It is a pleasure to return to New York City with Oberlin's ensembles. Clearly, this presents a remarkable experience for our students. While the Orchestra has toured the world and performed in great concert halls here and abroad, there is a special aura about a Carnegie performance that inspires young and seasoned artists alike. This monumental undertaking would not be possible if it were not for the tremendous generosity of Jolyon Stern ('61), CEO of DeWitt Stern Insurance."

Joining the Oberlin Conservatory ensembles are distinguished alumni pianist Jeremy Denk ('90), New York Philharmonic Composer-in-Residence Christopher Rouse ('71), and 2012 MacArthur Fellow and founder of ICE Claire Chase ('01). Concert highlights include the world premiere of John Zorn's The Tempest at the DiMenna Center on January 18 and the New York premiere of Christopher Rouse's Iscariot at Carnegie Hall on January 19.

For the first time in the history of the Conservatory, the entire Oberlin jazz faculty will appear together as an ensemble performing two sets at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola on January 15. The Oberlin Faculty Jazz Ensemble will play selections of jazz standards as well as original compositions by ensemble members. Individually, the members of the Oberlin Faculty Jazz Ensemble have performed alongside celebrated musicians such as MiLes Davis, McCoy Tyner, Dave Holland, Paul Simon, and Stevie Wonder and have received multiple Grammy Awards and other accolades. Members of the Ensemble include trumpeter Sean Jones, saxophonist Gary Bartz, trombonists Robin Eubanks and Jay Ashby, guitarist Bobby Ferrazza, pianist Dan Wall, bassist Peter Dominguez and drummers Billy Hart and Jamey Haddad.

Renowned for its dedication to the performance of new music, Oberlin has cultivated intrepid and innovative performers such as the members of eighth blackbird, ICE and conductor Robert Spano. Alumnus Christopher Rouse's Compline and the world premiere of John Zorn's The Tempest will be part of a January 18 concert at the DiMenna Center featuring the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble and ICE with alumna Claire Chase and conductor Timothy Weiss.

On the other end of the musical continuum, the Oberlin College Choir and Oberlin Baroque present an afternoon of period instrumental and choral sacred music at the BRick Church on Saturday, January 19. Works by Tallis, Bach, Pärt, Gombert, Rachmaninov and others will be performed under the direction of conductor Jason Harris.

The tour culminates in a performance at Carnegie Hall on the evening of January 19 when the Oberlin Orchestra, directed by Rafael Jiménez, shines light on the Conservatory's top-tier orchestral program. The concert includes the New York premiere of Christopher Rouse's Iscariot and featured soloist Jeremy Denk in Mozart's Piano Concerto in C Major, K 467. Ravel's La valse and the Suite from The Firebird fill out the repertoire.

Ranked consistently among the nation's top liberal arts schools, Oberlin College is committed to rigorous academics, artistic and musical excellence, and social justice. Founded in 1833, Oberlin was the first institution of higher education in America to adopt a policy to admit students of color (1835) and the first college to award bachelor's degrees to women (1841) in a coeducational program. Oberlin's distinct history of challenging intellectual and social conventions shapes the student experience today, which fosters strong bonds among a diverse community of bright and talented students from around the world. Oberlin's combination of a leading liberal arts college and a world-class music conservatory creates an unparalleled learning environment.

Awarded the 2009 National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama and called a "National Treasure" by the Washington Post, the Oberlin Conservatory of Music is recognized as one of the foremost professional training institutions in the world. Established in 1865 as one of the two divisions of Oberlin College, the conservatory is America's oldest continuously operating conservatory of music and the only major music school in the U.S. devoted primarily to the education of undergraduate musicians.

The Conservatory is committed to giving students first-hand experience of a culture of achievement and an opportunity for artistic exchange and growth. They are exposed to the world's leading artists on campus, and its ensembles are taken on extensive tours. Within the last decade, the Oberlin Orchestra has performed to critical acclaim in Los Angeles at the Getty Center and at Walt Disney Concert Hall, giving the world premiere of Hanging Cliffs composed by Oberlin alumnus Huang Ruo ('00). Additional U.S. venues include Cleveland's Severance Hall and New York's Carnegie Hall, in a performance described as "stellar" by the New York Times. Internationally, the orchestra has appeared in premier concert halls in Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan, and Singapore. The conservatory's award-winning Contemporary Music Ensemble has performed at the Miller Theatre in New York City for the U.S. premiere of Olga Neuwirth's opera Lost Highway, the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre in San Francisco, and in Seattle's Benaroya Hall.