2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the first electronic music class taught at Oberlin. The department has organized several performances and special events throughout the academic year to commemorate the historic milestone.

The Crafting Sound Symposium will mark the first of these events, taking place on October 4th and 5th. Co-organized by TIMARA Technical Director and Lecturer Abby Aresty and Educational Technologist Kyle Hartzell, Crafting Sound will feature a series of workshops and panels which have been made possible through the generous financial support of TIMARA, StudiOC, and the Alumni Office at Oberlin College.

Aresty notes that the department is “…excited to be hosting a diverse collection of artists whose creative practices engage sound through handicraft in a variety of different manners. We have packed a lot into a short time – we will host an interactive listening event, workshops, a panel discussion, a concert, and a reception. We are particularly pleased to be able to showcase some excellent works by Oberlin students alongside the featured projects presented by guest artists.” 

On November 16th, the Kaleidosonic Music Festival will take place in Finney Chapel. Organized by Professor Thomas Lopez, this event will feature a large number of Oberlin ensembles and musicians coming together for one collective performance. The show serves partly as a tribute to Professor Olly Wilson, who taught the first electronic music course in 1969 and recently passed away (a composition of his will be included). It is also a general celebration of Oberlin’s rich musical scene. Lopez has drawn inspiration from specific performances he was involved in at Finney Chapel during his time as a student at Oberlin. While performing works by composers Sergei Kuriokhin and Pauline Oliveros, he witnessed large collages of sound involving several performers and various musical styles colliding; the Kaleidosonic Music Festival will see a continuation of that tradition in the same space.

Once the spring semester arrives, the events will continue. On March 7th, TIMARA will be hosting the Exquisite Electrophonics Concert of Student Works in Fairchild Chapel. TIMARA Professor Aurie Hsu writes that “this concert celebrates student works in diverse media, including electroacoustic composition, live electronics, video, sound art, and custom instruments for performance.  Experience immersive exquisite electronics in Fairchild Chapel, a favorite venue for the TIMARA community.” 

The next day on March 8th, the department is hosting the Sound in the Round TIMARA Faculty Concert in Wurtzel Theater. Visiting Assistant Professor Eli Stine explains that “surround sound technology enables the construction of 360-degree-enveloping sound environments, the choreography of sound through spatialization, and the creation of immersive ‘cinema for the ear’ experiences. The Sound in the Round concert showcases works by TIMARA faculty that take advantage of this unique sound technology using a state-of-the-art speaker system in the Irene and Alan Wurtzel Theater. The history of spatial audio within the TIMARA studios dates back to 1989, when quadraphonic (four speaker) surround sound systems were installed in the studios. Last year [2018] the studios were upgraded to a 15-speaker half-dome system, greatly increasing the potential for the creation of immersive soundscapes.”

All of the events are free and open to the public, and the TIMARA Department encourages all to join in our 50th anniversary celebrations!