Oberlin Classical Guitar Entrepreneurship Awards: $5,000 Distributed
An offshoot of our annual James Stroud Classical Guitar Competition is the fund Mr. Stroud generously set up at the Conservatory for the Classical Guitar Entrepreneurship Award. Each year, the guitar students assemble lists of their accomplishments for consideration. The intent is to encourage professionally-oriented activities over and above the required ones in the curriculum.
I offer them a long list of the types of things I'm looking for. These might include outside performances, original compositions or arrangements, collaborations with composers and other musicians, the study of other instruments or styles such as flamenco or lute, taking non-assigned lessons or master classes with others, establishing their own websites, youtube channels, blogs or podcasts, teaching private students, and so on. They all gave performances that I either required or arranged, such as a concert in our art museum, degree recitals, ensemble and chamber music performances for Guitar Ensemble, participation in the Stroud Competition and other things. This award, pointedly, does not factor those activities in. In making the awards I am responding to self-directed activities and individual ambitions and interests. I'm responding to efforts to improve resumés.
The studio this spring was small: six students. One of them, Collin Sterne, took his freshman solo recital on tour over his spring break. He played the show several, maybe five times. To me, this is a big deal. He became much more confident and secure and on his return, he played extremely well. He got $250.
Another of the students, Rebecca Klein, did the same thing, playing her junior recital program numerous times, on "tour," over the Fall break, with the same salutary effects. In addition, she played collaboratively with a violinist and was featured as a guest performer at a nearby guitar festival at Otterbein University. She took lessons on both Baroque guitar and theorbo with Cleveland-based early music specialist, Simon Martyn-Ellis. She got $750.
Stephen Fazio played several formal outside concerts (for a fee) both in Ohio and in Nevada. He played with the Contemporary Music Ensemble new works for large ensembles with guitar, one of which was both professionally recorded for the composer's CD and went on tour for several performances in the Chicago area. He maintains three teaching studios, one of which is run by the Cleveland Classical Guitar Society and takes place in underserved public schools in the area. He administered public performances for his students in several locations, including at an Indians baseball game. He studied the flamenco idiom and self-prepared several Paco de Lucia solos.
Mohit Dubey played several collaborative concerts, including accompanying a singer, an oboist, and several others. He commissioned and performed a new concerto for guitar and mixed ensemble. He went to Jordan over the winter term break and performed solo and in ensembles at public venues and schools as well as in Syrian refugee camps. He returned to a community service location in Detroit, also over the winter term, to help restore instruments for the organization's moribund music program, an ongoing effort. He played violin in the Oberlin Musical Arts Orchestra, and gave the first performances of several new student works. He took a lesson with our harpsichord professor on his Scarlatti pieces.
Brian King formed a duet with flutist Katie Kim and set up and played several concerts in California over the winter term break. He won fourth prize in the Stroud Competition and was a performer in Manuel Barrueco's Cleveland master class. He arranged and performed four new concert pieces for flute and guitar, from the works of Chick Corea. He played first performances of several works by student composers and was guitarist for a Choro band.
Leonard Ranallo gave in-class lectures to composition students on how to write for the guitar, and performed some of the student's resulting compositions. He formed an indie-rock style trio, wrote a full set of original songs, recorded an EP, and set up and played a 20-concert tour with the group across five states during the winter term break. He taught a large private studio of students on campus. In addition, he more or less single-handedly ran the Oberlin Guitar Association as its president.
Each of the four of them were awarded $1000.
Congratulations to all the students in the studio for a highly productive year full of meaningful and varied musical activities!! I look forward to seeing what next year brings!