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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 Hathaway

Hawkeye-TrioThe Hawkeye Trio, a newly-hatched chamber ensemble made up of Oberlin Conservatory faculty members Michael Isaac Strauss, Richard Hawkins and James Howsmon, played its inaugural concert in Kulas Hall at the conservatory on Wednesday evening, September 25.

Three fine chamber musicians who play viola, clarinet and piano and want to concertize together need to do some research. That’s not a standard configuration of instruments. What repertory exists — like Mozart’s Kegelstatt Trio (not included on Wednesday’s program) — was usually written for domestic use by friends and family.

Case in point: Max Bruch’s Eight Pieces, op. 83, were composed for Bruch’s clarinetist son, Max. The Hawkeye elected to play two sets of four pieces each at the beginning and end of their program, leading off with Nos. 8, 6, 5 and 7 and finishing with the first four, in order. Read the rest of this entry »

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