Gov Ball 2021 Preview

By Milend Kolbet

Following a one-year hiatus, last week Gov Ball NYC announced that the festival is returning from September 24-26, 2021. This festival marks ten years since the inaugural event in 2011, yet includes some firsts, aside from a change in its normal summer dates. Additionally for the first time, the festival will be held on Citi Field in Queens instead of Randall’s island, likely in an effort to provide more opportunities for distanced viewing. 

This year’s headliners include Billie Eilish, Asap Rocky, J Balvin, and Post Malone. Other prominent names include Dababy, Megan Thee Stallion, Portugal the Man, Young Thug, Ellie Goulding, 21 Savage, and Burna Boy.

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EP Review: A Date Night with Lucky Daye

Lucky Daye’s new album Table For Two, released on February 12, 2021, is his widescreen vision of R&B. Daye emerges with a signature sound of his own, painting his life story about growing up in a cult and surviving Hurricane Katrina, as well as making music in Atlanta. Now based in Los Angeles, the singer-songwriter remains the synthesist of traditional and progressive R&B modes while staying true to his foundation in classical soul. It encompasses everything from the explosive, funky bombast of seventies favorites to the vibrant swagger of late nineties classics.

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Senior Recital: Natsumi Osborn – memories and sentiments

Writing a piece with sentiment and care for a dear friend and hearing it come to life just might be the most rewarding and enriching experience a composer can have. COVID-19 took away many opportunities for artists to enjoy each other’s company and share their passion for music. But on April 29, composer Natsumi Osborn will showcase collaborative works with other Oberlin Conservatory students, including the Contemporary Music Ensemble. Her 7:30 pm senior recital will offer a snapshot into Osborn’s creative world and her development as a composer during the past four years.

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Concert Preview: Claudia Hinsdale Senior Recital

“Oh what is holiness?” asks contemporary poet Mary Oliver in “The Fawn.” In contemplating nature as the divine, we might ask ourselves how we spiritually connect to the world around us when listening to fourth year Oberlin TIMARA student composer Claudia Hinsdale’s senior recital on April 25. When Hinsdale sings, her voice settles like a reverent hymn. Each listener’s mind, body, and soul should come into alignment when witnessing the composer’s music. When was the last time we felt akin to something larger, greater? Is there something sacred in the natural environment around us? Perhaps these are questions the artist has contemplated herself in rural Ohio over the past four years, and will answer during her program on Sunday at 8:30 pm underneath Mudd ramp at the Mary Church Terrell Main Library.

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A Full-Circle Concert: Emily Hancock, Senior Recital

A blossoming passion for opera, new music, and a diverse roster of composers: these have marked clarinetist Emily Hancock’s musical growth at Oberlin, and in turn have informed her final concert at the conservatory. On Saturday April 24 at 4:30pm, Hancock will perform her senior recital in which each of five pieces captures a different kernel of her vibrant personality — on and off stage.

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Edgar Meyer to Present “Bluegrass to Bach” at E.J. Thomas Hall in Akron

Photo by Jim McGuire

Listening to double bassist Edgar Meyer talk about his illustrious career in music during a recent phone interview was not unlike having a relaxing conversation while sitting out on the porch on a cool, summer evening. The MacArthur “Genius” and Avery Fisher Career Grant awards recipient was humble and down to earth.

Presented by Tuesday Musical on April 20th at 7:30 PM, Meyer will be performing a concert of Bach’s first cello suite and some of his own solo works. The concert will be presented to a live, socially distanced audience at E.J. Thomas Hall in Akron. A limited number of tickets are available for advance purchase — click here for details — and free student tickets in the balcony can be secured the evening of the performance. The box office will open at 6:30 pm.

Regarding the evening’s program, Meyer said “I can tell you very safely there will be the Bach and then primarily my original music after that.”

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One Found Sound’s SPRING Blossoms With Partnership and Poetry

Photo Credit: Natalie N Photography

The San Francisco-based chamber orchestra One Found Sound is no stranger to unconventional concert experiences, whether they be in-person or online. “We’ve never had a show where someone new hasn’t shown up and said ‘I didn’t even know something like this existed,’” oboist Jesse Barrett commented during a recent interview. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the group’s eighth season has continued their characteristic creativity and innovation. Their April 22nd concert, SPRING, is all about collaboration — the online watch party will combine pre-recorded and live elements, celebrating the debut of their education program as well as artistic partnerships with Bay Area poets.

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Steve Kortyka and Friends to Perform at the Bop Stop

Images Courtesy of

“I think the greatest thing about being an improviser is that you get to be a professional B.S. artist,” saxophonist Steve Kortyka said during a recent phone call. Also a composer and educator, Kortyka is renowned for his improvisatory skills, having graced the stages of many famous New York jazz clubs and making several major TV appearances in his career.

Kortyka’s artistry will be on display during his Latin Explosion Livestream on Saturday, April 10th at 8 PM, hosted by the Bop Stop and featuring Jackie Warren on piano and Sammy DeLeon on drums. The event will be free, but donations are encouraged.

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A Dazzling Classical Concert Production

The Violin Channel seemingly has every facet of classical music news covered for anyone who wants to know just about anything, and it’s no surprise that they’re hitting the nail on the head with programming for their new Vanguard Concerts. The series has become so successful, it has surpassed 1.5 million views worldwide in just over two weeks. 

Having launched in February with performances by star violinist Joshua Bell and pianist Alessio Bax, the VC continues to dazzle with their chosen lineup, which includes violinist Charles Yang with Peter Dugan, and most recently the esteemed Dover Quartet. 

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The Verona Quartet at Oberlin: A Conversation With Abigail Rojansky

The Verona Quartet (Image credit: Dario Acosta)

As artists, the Verona String Quartet are devoted to the concept of storytelling — hence the name Verona, which pays tribute to playwright William Shakespeare. “Doesn’t matter if you’re a painter, visual artist, dancer, or musician — if you’re conveying a powerful story, that’s what the artist does,” violist Abigail Rojansky said during a recent Zoom interview. Currently, the Quartet are busy preparing for their March 10, 7:30 PM recital at Oberlin College and Conservatory, which will explore that emotional connection between the musicians and the audience.

The 2020 recipients of Chamber Music America’s Cleveland Quartet Award, the Verona are serving as Oberlin’s Quartet-in-Residence for this academic year. Formed at Indiana University in 2013 by violinists Jonathan Ong and Dorothy Ro, cellist Jonathan Dormand, and Rojansky, the group enjoys a robust career of both teaching and performing. Their goal when approaching every concert is “to make a powerful connection with the listener by unlocking these stories in a way only we can as musicians,” Rojansky said.

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