It's always seemed silly in some measure to sit by myself in a classroom while the students march in, one-by-one and play for me the repertoire they've worked on all semester for juries. Inevitably, during the lesson immediately before the jury, they play the rep for me, in search of last-minute advice and approval. So I've just heard all the music.
Yes, the option of teaming up with my colleagues in the Strings department for juries has been considered, but, by mutual agreement, dismissed, as our jury schedules are already long.
So, built on my pride for their accomplishments, and my confidence in their abilities, I decided to do this semester what perhaps others in the business already do: put them on stage and have a Studio Recital instead. And what a success it was! I was concerned over the possibility of a low turnout, as this was a last-minute decision and so the event was not listed on any of the normal calendars or websites. But the students put up a Facebook page, hung some posters and told their friends, and the room was nearly packed with enthusiastic audience members.
Of my nine performance majors, only eight were scheduled to play, as one of them had just given his junior recital. On the day of the show, one was sick, so we heard seven students play 15-minute sets. It was a terrific concert and great experience for all. It looks like a new tradition has been established at Oberlin!
We used the extraordinary performance space of Fairchild Chapel. Here is Daniel Nitsch, in a performance of J. S. Bach's Fugue, BWV 998 and Johann Kaspar Mertz's Fantasie Hongroise.
Rebecca Klein played movements of Bach's Cello Suite 1 and Una Dia de Noviembre of Leo Brouwer.
Sarah Boyson played three works by John Dowland and Isaac Albeniz' Mallorca:
Max Lyman played Prelude, Allemande and Gigue from Bach's Lute Suite BWV 996 and the first two movements of Mauro Giuliani's Sonata, Op. 15.
Philip Lutz played Bach's Prelude BWV 998, Isaac Albeniz' Granada and Federico Moreno-Torroba's Madroños.
Jacob Blizard performed the Andante from Jorge Morel's Sonatina plus the entire Suite Valenciana by Vicente Ascencio.
Finally, Lenny Renallo played a set of Spanish works including the Cancion from Suite Compostelana by Federico Mompou, Joaquin Rodrigo's En Los Trigales, Arada from Federico Moreno-Torroba's Suite Castellana and Rafaga by Joaquin Turina.
The concert was a terrific hit. We will certainly do that every year!