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by Daniel Hathaway

Ravel-CD-KondonassisWhat does an artist want you to experience when you listen to her CD? Harpist Yolanda Kondonassis is very clear about that in the liner notes for her latest recording. She wants you to be transported to “somewhere you’ve never been, but of which you might have dreamed.”

That somewhere is the special world of Maurice Ravel, charmingly miniaturized in the Oberlin Music release, Ravel: Intimate Masterpieces, a world Kondonassis first discovered through an LP of his music as a child in Oklahoma.

Joined by her fellow Oberlin Conservatory faculty members Alexa Still, flute and Richard Hawkins, clarinet; Oberlin alumni Ellie Dehn, soprano and Spencer Myer, piano; and Oberlin’s most recent ensemble in residence, the Jupiter String Quartet, Kondonassis explores four of Ravel’s exotic chamber works in performances vividly captured by recording engineer Paul Eachus. Sessions were held in Oberlin’s shining new Clonick Hall studio, expertly co-produced and edited by Erica Brenner. Read the rest of this entry »


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 »

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