“Some of America’s best orchestral musicians” have trained at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, notes The New Yorker, and since 1896 the Oberlin Orchestra, the Oberlin Chamber Orchestra, and the OBERLIN CONSERVATORY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA (the school’s touring ensemble) have been the pride of Oberlin. Each ensemble shares a rich history of performances with notable guest conductors, among them Marin Alsop, Pierre Boulez, Tan Dun, Sir Simon Rattle, Robert Shaw, Oscar Shumsky, Robert Spano ’83, Igor Stravinsky, John Williams, Hugh Wolff, and David Zinman ’58.
Recent appearances include a critically acclaimed performance at Carnegie Hall under the baton of Robert Spano, Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra; performances at Cleveland’s Severance Hall, home of the Cleveland Orchestra; and a 13-day tour of China, led by Music Director and Conductor Bridget-Michaele Reischl. Recent live recordings for the Oberlin Music label include The Oberlin Chamber Orchestra with soprano Alyson Cambridge ’02, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle; The Oberlin Orchestra in China, conducted by Reischl; and The Oberlin Conservatory Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, conducted by Spano.
After Sir Simon Rattle conducted the Oberlin Chamber Orchestra in December 2004, Plain Dealer music critic Donald Rosenberg wrote that the concert was “stamped by magnificence.” Indeed, Rosenberg included the Oberlin-Rattle performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, which he described as “uncommonly rich in poetry and drama,” in his list of top-10 memorable events from the 2004 concert season.
Vivien Schweitzer of The New York Times praised the Oberlin Conservatory Symphony Orchestra’s January 2007 appearance with Robert Spano at Carnegie Hall, especially their performance of Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra, which was, she wrote, “stellar.”
One month later, in Schweitzer’s Times review of the American premiere of Olga Neuwirth’s opera Lost Highway, she noted that “Oberlin has produced some of the top names in contemporary music … Oberlin’s rural experimental haven has resulted in successful music careers in a cutthroat marketplace.”
Oberlin is renowned internationally as a professional music school of the highest caliber and pronounced a “national treasure” by the Washington Post; alumni of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music have gone on to achieve illustrious careers in all aspects of the serious music world.
Oberlin is grateful for the generous support of Jolyon F. Stern (OC ’61), President and CEO of DeWitt Stern Group, for making this concert and Oberlin’s tour of the West Coast possible.