Oberlin’s Modern Music Guild (MMG), a student group devoted to programming cutting edge artists, hosted Daniel Fishkin and colleagues for several events on campus, including a workshop, Q&A, and concert. The workshop provided an opportunity for participants to explore the unique and fascinating daxophone with Daniel Fishkin, the only active daxophone luthier to have interfaced with the inventor of the instrument, Hans Reichel. Fishkin, along with his collaborators, also performed in the Daxophone Consort concert preceding the workshop, where attendees witnessed the world’s only all-daxophone ensemble.

The concert, held at Fairchild Chapel, was free and open to the public. The Daxophone Consort, composed of Fishkin, Cleek Schrey, and Ron Shalom, impressed the audience with their unique and experimental soundscapes.

Students and alums performed alongside the Daxophone Consort in Fairchild.

The daxophone is a bowed wooden idiophone that has been described as a cross between a badger and a cello. It is capable of conjuring sounds reminiscent of everything from operatic vocals to wind instruments and feral dinosaurs. Despite the unique nature of the instrument, no musical experience was required to participate in the workshop, making it accessible to all.

Fishkin’s fascination with the daxophone began early on in his experimental music career. He was drawn to the instrument’s unique construction and the ability to create a vast range of sounds by simply altering the wood’s shape. Over the years, he has built hundreds of daxophones, each with its own unique voice. His expertise in the instrument has led to collaborations with musicians all over the world, and his daxophones are played daily by players based in Canada, California, Norway, Germany, France, Japan, Kazakhstan, and Australia.

MMG has a reputation of presenting Oberlin’s enthusiastic experimental music community with exciting events and this past weekend’s events did not disappoint. Events with Daniel Fishkin and his colleagues provided a unique and exciting opportunity for students and community members to explore the world of experimental music and the daxophone.