Here you will find reviews, previews, artist profiles, and opinions about music in 2021. This publication will highlight musical activities in Oberlin and Greater Cleveland, as well as regionally, nationally, and internationally.
With the overall success of Simon Housner’s Sacred Heart Concert Series in Oberlin, it’s hard to imagine that he had actually quit playing cello at one point in his life. A native of Philadelphia, Housner was raised in a musical family — both of his parents are pianists who met at Oberlin. But it wasn’t until he was in high school that Housner truly became passionate about the cello.
Any modern working musician would agree with bassist Derek Zadinsky, who said in a recent phone call that “in professional life, you never say no to opportunity, at least when you’re getting started.” A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and a member of The Cleveland Orchestra, he has made the most of his musical opportunities and shows a passion for them. Not only is Zadinsky a member of one of the most prestigious orchestras in the world, he also teaches at multiple highly-acclaimed music schools in Northeast Ohio.
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.
Hailing from Anchorage, Alaska, Arthur Welsh is a 4th year Oberlin student studying Jazz piano and mathematics. He was initially inspired to make music by his parents, who encouraged him to take up the piano at five years old. But his personal journey began around the age of 11, when he started playing the clarinet. Arthur went on to win a statewide competition for that instrument during his senior year of high school, and from there he began to develop his own musical interests and tastes.
Film composer, classical composer, pianist, clarinetist, audio engineer, producer, conductor, orchestrator, vocalist: these all describe 24-year old composer Christopher Chun. Having recently released his first album of film compositions on Spotify, and with over twenty film scores under his belt, Chun’s name is on the rise in the film and concert music industry.
The Texas native’s initial interest in composition began in middle school — a product of having studied piano for five years, singing in church choir, and playing clarinet in his school marching band. “Marching band really sparked my deep interest in orchestration,” Chun said. “Having ten tubas lined up and blasting out loud is so exhilarating and fascinating! That experience catalyzed my interest in composition.”
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.
Kevin Parker, the brains behind the psychedelic music project Tame Impala, welcomed his newborn daughter, Peach, into the world just over a month ago. However, that’s not the only thing the Australian multi-instrumentalist is celebrating. In February of 2020, Tame Impala released The Slow Rush, which won five Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Music Awards as well as two GRAMMY nominations.
In modern life, musicians have to wear many hats and juggle different events. Today’s musicians need more than just natural talent — their musical journey requires dedication, passion, and forged friendships. Kirsten Docter, Associate Professor of Viola and Chamber Music at Oberlin Conservatory, isn’t worried that anyone who attends the school will be deficient in any of these areas. Rather, she considers Oberlin to be a place to foster artistic growth and cultivate one’s personal creativity.
The semester may be coming to a close, but there is another concert yet on the Oberlin horizon. On Sunday May 2 at 2:30 pm, violinist Erika Aoki will present four distinctive works on her senior recital, a live-streamed concert when she hopes audiences will be able to virtually enjoy the musical collaborations as they take place onstage.
Three of the four works feature collaborative musicians: pianist Leo Choi on Benjamin Britten’s Suite, cellist Drew Dansby on Maurice Ravel’s Sonata for Violin and Cello, and pianist Natsumi Osborn on Ravel’s Sonata No. 2. Aoki will also perform Eugène Ysaÿe’s solo Sonata No. 5.