Oberlin Guitarists Perform at Allen Memorial Museum
Oberlin College is one of those unique campuses that has it's own high-quality art museum. According to Wikipedia, the Allen Memorial Art Museum's (AMAM) collection is one of the finest of any college or university museum in the United States, consistently ranking among those of Harvard and Yale. The collection contains over 14,000 works of art. Notable strengths include seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish art, nineteenth and early twentieth-century European and contemporary American art, and Asian, European, and American works on paper. The collection is housed in an impressive Italian Renaissance-style building designed by Cass Gilbert. The AMAM
is also known for its art rental program which enables Oberlin students to rent works of art by notable artists such as Renoir, Picasso, and Dalí for five dollars a semester.
They sponsor an open house each month called First Thursdays; this month the guitar studio was invited to provide music. We arranged two separate galleries with small arrays of chairs for concert-style performances to take place simultaneously. They were isolated from each other by the grand lobby one encounters when entering this extraordinary building. People sat quietly and
listened, while others quietly walked from piece to piece displayed on the walls. Sometimes large crowds accumulated standing in the back, while at other moments, there were only a small number of people in the audience. The museum staff arranged for a generous food and drink spread and people lingered, enjoying the atmosphere and the music.
The students played music drawn from their repertoire, some of which correlated nicely with the artwork on the walls and some of which provided a thought-provoking contrast. The sound in the galleries was acoustically perfect and the experience for the players and the guests both was sublime. We got enough compliments and requests for a repeat that there seems some likelihood it will be noted as the beginning of a tradition. Many thanks to Jason Trimmer, the museum's Education Curator for this delightful collaboration. Below are photos of the performers and following the pictures are the programs they played.