In her 15 years of teaching at Columbus State University's Schwob School of Music, Lisa Oberlander has never been the first to perform in the Faculty Concert Series.
Oberlander, the professor of clarinet, is looking forward to the concert. It's more relaxed because she's had the summer to practice the program, and she isn't too busy yet teaching her students. This year, she has 16 students in the clarinet studio.
Tonight's program includes what she describes as "a couple of standards." In classical music-speak, that means a piece by Robert Schumann and one by Leonard Bernstein.
Bernstein's piece is "Sonata for Clarinet and Piano." Yien Wang will collaborate on the piano.
"He wrote that in 1942, and it's one of his earliest pieces," Oberlander said. "The world knows him for 'West Side Story,' but clarinetists know him for this." Besides these two pieces, she has chosen two new works.
One is "Nocturne étincelant" or "Twinkling Night," by Roger Zare. He is "an award-winning young composer who is not yet 30," Oberlander said.
"He wrote a piece for my students because they had the guts to ask him."
"Twinkling Night" is Zare's take on a starry night.
The other new piece is "Auto '66," written by James M. David, a Columbus State University graduate and former faculty member. He's the son of Joe David, who was a longtime CSU music faculty member.
The elder David has a fascination for cars and passed that passion on to his son. The year 1966 was a good one for classic cars like the Pontiac GTO, Lamborghini Miura and the Mini Cooper S. His son dedicated this composition to his father, "who taught me to love cars and bands, and to my wife who taught me to love the clarinet."
James David wrote this about "Auto' 66" for the program,."The automobile, perhaps more than any other piece of technology, inspires strong emotional reactions in people, and certain cars seem to transcend their role as a means of transportation to become works of art. My clarinet concerto is about three such vehicles that were built in 1966. They were chosen for their historical significance, physical beauty and ability to inspire their owners."
Wang accompanies Oberlander on every piece, and on "Auto '66," professor of percussion, Paul Vaillancourt, will perform.
The program is about an hour with one brief intermission.
This summer, Oberlander and Wang spent a lot of time together has they recorded a CD. Because they were playing "the same old stuff," this program is a breath of fresh air, they both said.
The two women met the first year Wang came to CSU in 2008.
"We really connected on anything we play," Wang said.
Later this semester
In November, Oberlander will play "Black Dog" with the CSU Wind Ensemble, she said.
In this piece, she has to manipulate her clarinet to play it fast, slow, loud and soft to make it sound almost like an electric guitar.
She first played it this summer during the International Trombone Festival. Jamie Nix, who is the director of wind activities in the Schwob School, heard about her performance during the Cut Bait Festival earlier this year from various people, including students.
Oberlander said the piece is "virtuosic in nature" and once her students hear it, they will want to play it. But she warns that the students have a lot of work to do before taking on a piece like that.
IF YOU GO
When: 7:30 tonight
Where: Legacy Hall, RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, 900 Broadway