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by Daniel Hautzinger

Ob-SQI&F-JupiterOn January 25, Oberlin Conservatory’s String Quartet Gala Concert, the biggest event of its month-long String Quartet Intensive and Festival, drew an exceptionally large crowd to Warner Concert Hall despite the cold and snow. The program featured Oberlin’s quartet-in-residence, the excellent Jupiter String Quartet; Timothy Lees, the concertmaster of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra; Oberlin faculty; and the students who participated in the Festival.

That’s an awful lot of performers for chamber music, and as the night progressed, the ensemble size grew from four to eighteen. Conversely, the music grew older, beginning with a work from the twenty-first century and ending in the nineteenth.

The Jupiter, consisting of violinists Nelson Lee and Megan Freivogel, violist Liz Freivogel, and cellist Daniel McDonough, opened the night with Dan Visconti’s Ramshackle Songs, written for them in 2009. Read the rest of this entry »


by Mike Telin

Jupiter-SQFor Michael Strauss, Oberlin’s associate professor viola and chamber music, “Winter Term is all about trying new things, things that are of interest to students that they may not get to immerse themselves in during a regular semester.”

Strauss is in charge of organizing one of those New Things, Oberlin’s first Winter Term String Quartet Intensive and Festival, which runs from January 7 through January 29. The idea is to give student quartets and other groups a taste of the dynamics of a professional chamber ensemble as well as to allow faculty members to coach groups they wouldn’t ordinarily have time for in their normal studio schedules.

“Three quartets signed up, one of which is trying to make a go of quartet playing and two of which are new, although they did come together during the first semester,” Strauss said. “We also have a couple of chamber groups that are involved in the project, including an established piano trio. I wanted a mix of people who enjoyed playing together with people who wanted to be part of creating something from the beginning.” Read the rest of this entry »

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