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by Allen Huszti, Guest Contributor

LI-George2Since 1878, Oberlin College’s Artist Recital Series has presented performances by some of the world’s finest musicians. On Saturday evening, March 1, the audience in Finney Chapel had the special opportunity to hear a recital by an artist just beginning his career. George Li was 14 when he won first-prize in Oberlin’s inaugural Thomas and Evon Cooper International Competition in 2010. Now 18 and a joint student at Harvard and the New England Conservatory, Li has since won the prestigious Young Concert Artists auditions.

The first half of the recital included works by Beethoven and Schoenberg, the foremost composers of what we now call the First and Second Viennese Schools. Arnold Schoenberg’s, Sechs Kleine Klavierstücke (Six Little Piano Pieces), op. 19, opened the program. Together, the six pieces last only about four minutes and are excellent examples of expressionism in music — the kind of music that makes the listener hold his breath in wonder or awe. Li’s playing was marked by a high degree of sensitivity. Read the rest of this entry »


OberlinCooperLogoOberlin, OH, July 23 — The jury announced this evening that the following six contestants will play the recital round in Warner Concert Hall of the Oberlin Conservatory on Wednesday, July 24 at 7 pm. The session will be broadcast live over WCLV, 104.9 FM and streamed live (click here for the link).

Kyumin Park
Ming Liu
Gallia Kastner
Angela Wee
Jieming Tang
Ching-Yi Wei

by Mike Telin and Daniel Hathaway

OberlinCooperLogoThe first round of the Oberlin Cooper International Violin Competition got underway on Saturday, July 20 — the first step in the process that begins with twenty-four young violinists aged 13-18 and will ultimately bring three finalists together for concerto performances with Jahja Ling and The Cleveland Orchestra next Friday evening, July 26 at Severance Hall. On Friday, we spoke with jury members Gregory Fulkerson and David Bowlin and four of the competitors — Gallia Kastner, Kristie and Karen Su and Jieming Tang — to gain their insights into what makes music competitions worthwhile and to learn a bit more about what makes four of the young players tick (links to audio at the end).

Oberlin violin professor Gregory Fulkerson, who is chair of the competition, is excited about the field of competitors. “We could not be happier with the quality of this year’s contestants,” he told us in his studio at the Oberlin Conservatory. “These are the future stars of the violin world.”

We asked David Bowlin, assistant professor of violin at Oberlin, why it’s important for young musicians to play in such competitions. “Good question, because on the surface it’s easy to think that competitions are something that brings out the worst in us, but I think that’s the wrong way to look at it. If students go in with the idea that they are entering a competition as a challenge to themselves – to learn repertoire, to perform in front of an audience, to perform in front of a jury from whom they have the opportunity to receive feedback — the intensity of a competition makes it powerfully educational.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Daniel Hathaway
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