February 2008 Issue
A New Age
Oberlin College is clearly a noteworthy success story — its Conservatory of Music has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top music schools in the country. Now, the college has taken the kudos a step further by launching its own commercial record label.
Oberlin Music, featuring recordings made by conservatory faculty and students, debuted three months ago with “Beauty Surrounds Us,” featuring selections by Wendell Logan, professor of African American music and chair of Oberlin’s jazz studies program, recorded in New York, and “The Oberlin Orchestra in China,” recorded live in Beijing in 2005. Both albums are available for purchase electronically, through music services including iTunes.
Conservatory dean David Stull believes the time is right for an electronic label launch.
|Music By Oberlin Musicians can be downloaded electronically.
Photo Courtesy of Oberlin Music
“As we were looking at the industry and watching it evolve, it became rapidly clear that online distribution was absolutely the future of the industry,” he says. “With that in mind, the question [was] why not start a record label direct [to give us] the full capacity to release as many recordings as we would like and … market the music that’s coming from Oberlin.
“[It also] allows us to pass on to our students an understanding of how to start an enterprise like this,” Stull adds, “and to encourage them to start their own record labels. It’s going to [launch] careers.”
Although both albums were recorded off-site, the college plans on opening a new state-of-the-art recording studio in 2009.
Upcoming projects include releases by the Baroque Performance Institute, the Contemporary Music Ensemble and a recording of the Oberlin Orchestra’s 2007 performance at Carnegie Hall.