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by Daniel Hathaway

Zierer-PianoWhen Oberlin faculty violinist Marilyn McDonald and pianist David Breitman play Beethoven sonatas in the Conservatory’s Kulas Recital Hall on Saturday, September 13 at 4:30 pm, they’ll be joined by the latest addition to Oberlin’s impressive collection of historic keyboard instruments. An Anton Zierer fortepiano built in Vienna in 1829 came to live in Oberlin last summer and has kept Robert Murphy, the conservatory’s curator of fortepianos, busy getting it settled into a new environment.

Murphy began working with his mentor, 1963 Oberlin graduate Edward Swenson, in his Trumansburg, NY restoration shop when he was 14, and has logged “close to a hundred” historical restorations or work on historical replicas. “At any one time,” Murphy recalled, “Swenson might have had a Graf fortepiano next to a Steinway next to a Baldwin upright, with a virginal off in the corner, and he was working on all of them at the same time.”

Sometimes benign neglect works in the favor of technicians who are charged with restoring historic instruments. Read the rest of this entry »


by Daniel Hathaway

ZENATY-IvanRecitals and chamber music concerts by faculty members at Northeast Ohio conservatories, colleges and universities add to the rich menu of classical music in the region. Usually free, these events begin coming onto the calendar in September. Here’s a quick look at the first performances of the fall.

Oberlin Conservatory faculty members David Bowlin, Gregory Fulkerson and Marilyn McDonald, violins, Peter Slowik and Michael Strauss, violas, Darrett Adkins and Catharina Meints, cellos, and Monique Duphil, piano, will play Mozart’s String Quintet in c minor, K. 406, and Brahms’s Piano Quintet in f minor, op. 34 in Kulas Recital Hall at the Conservatory on Thursday, September 4 at 8:00. The free concert will be streamed via Oberlin’s “Listen Live” service. Read the rest of this entry »

by Daniel Hathaway


Out of an initial field of 28 competitors in the Thomas and Evon Cooper Oberlin International Piano Competition, three young pianists, having survived semi-final, concerto final and recital final rounds at the Oberlin Conservatory earlier in the week, won the opportunity to appear on the stage of Severance Hall on Friday evening, July 25 to play concertos with Jahja Ling and The Cleveland Orchestra.

The impressive audience that turned out to hear Sae Yoon Chon, Zitong Wang and Tony Yike Yang in concertos by Beethoven, Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky was full of young people — largely made up of friends, relatives and colleagues of the Cooper participants, no doubt. Palpable energy was in the air, and each of the three finalists was greeted with whoops and cheers both before and after they played. Read the rest of this entry »


Tony Yike Yang with Jahja Ling and The Cleveland Orchestra (Photo: Roger Mastroianni)

Cleveland – July 26. Following the final round of the Oberlin Cooper Piano Competition with Jahja Ling and The Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall on Friday evening, Dean Andrea Kalyn of the Oberlin Conservatory introduced the judges and thanked numerous individuals who had made the competition possible. Then, competition sponsors Thomas and Evon Cooper announced the decision of the judges and awarded the three top prizes.

First place and a cash prize of $10,000 went to Tony Yike Yang of Toronto, who appeared last on the program with Tchaikovsky’s first concerto. Zitong Wang of Inner Mongolia, China, won second place and $6,000 for her performance of Prokofiev’s third concerto. And Sae Yoon Chon of Seoul, South Korea, received the third place award of $3,000, having opened the evening with Beethoven’s fifth concerto.The finals were broadcast live by WCLV, 104.9 FM and via the internet on

by Daniel Hathaway with Daniel Hautzinger & Mike Telin

Oberlin-Cooper-2014-LogoThe ten young pianists who advanced to the Concerto Round in the Oberlin Cooper Piano Competition on Tuesday ranged in age from 13-18 and hailed from five countries. The contestants played complete concertos in Warner Concert Hall at the Oberlin Conservatory with a second pianist providing the orchestral accompaniment. The performances gave a taste of what the audience can expect on Friday evening at Severance Hall when three finalists perform with Jahja Ling and The Cleveland Orchestra.

The repertory included concertos by Beethoven (Nos. 2 and 5), Rachmaninoff (Nos. 2 and 3), Chopin (Nos. 1 and 2), Prokofiev (No. 3) and Tchaikovsky (No. 2). The most popular work — and the only piece the judges and audience heard more than once — was Chopin’s first concerto, which received three performances. Read the rest of this entry »

Oberlin – July 22

Oberlin-Cooper-2014-LogoThe Oberlin Cooper International Piano Competition has announced the ten contestants who have advanced to today’s concerto round. The two sessions begin at 1:30 pm and 7:00 pm and will be streamed live from Warner Concert Hall at the Oberlin Conservatory. ClevelandClassical will attend and report on both sessions. The six pianists who will advance to the recital round on Wednesday evening will be announced following the second concerto round. Here is Tuesday’s schedule:

1:30 PM
SAE YOON CHON with Elena Zyl: Beethoven Concerto No. 5
MIN JUN LEE with Elena Zyl: Rachmaninoff Concerto No. 2
NICOLA LOSITA with Colette Valentine: Chopin Concerto No. 1
ZITONG WANG with Elena Zyl: Prokofiev Concerto No. 3
ALLISON TO with Colette Valentine: Chopin Concerto No. 1

7:00 PM
EVREN OZEL with Colette Valentine: Chopin Concerto No. 2
RACHEL BREEN with Elena Zyl: Rachmaninoff Concerto No. 3
YOULAN JI with Xin Li: Beethoven Concerto No. 2
GYU TAE HA with Elena Zyl: Chopin Concerto No. 1
TONY YIKE YANG with Colette Valentine: Tchaikovsky Concerto No. 1


By Mike Telin and Daniel Hautzinger

Hinton-Milt“Don’t B-sharp, Don’t B-flat, Just B-natural.” — Milt Hinton (1910-2000)

It’s a phrase emblematic of Hinton’s approach to life: laid-back, optimistic, and warmly human. These are the qualities that were emphasized over and over again on Thursday, June 12, in Oberlin during a day celebrating the life and legacy of Milt Hinton.

Hinton left behind a three-fold legacy: aural, visual, and human. He lives on in nearly 1,200 recordings, in his 60,00 photographs of musicians, and in the many young musicians he mentored and taught. Some of these legacies now reside at the Oberlin Conservatory, which has been gifted The Milton J. and Mona C. Hinton Papers, four of Hinton’s basses, and the $250,000 Milton J. Hinton Scholarship Fund, established in 1980 by friends and family of Hinton on the occasion of his 70th birthday. This new partnership with the Hinton estate was facilitated by Oberlin Professor of Jazz Studies and Double Bass Peter Dominguez and Special Collections Librarian Jeremy Smith.

The afternoon began at 2:30 when Jeremy Smith welcomed a larger-than-anticipated crowd who had gathered in the Conservatory lounge, where an exhibit of Hinton’s photographs entitled The Way I See It was on display. Read the rest of this entry »

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Daniel Hathaway
founder & editor
Mike Telin
executive editor
Jarrett Hoffman
assistant to the editors

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