Historical Performance
Primary Contact:
David Breitman

Administrative Assistant:
Cindy Shairba

Division Email:

Phone: (440) 775-8198
Fax: (440) 775-8942

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Historical Performance

Historical Performance

Department Overview

Historical Performance at Oberlin offers degree programs leading to the BM, MM, or Artist Diploma in performance on individual historical instruments. Master's students may elect a program combining the study of historical keyboards. Coursework includes applied study, music history, music theory, and continuo realization at the keyboard, as well as historical performance ensembles. Students are exposed to the latest thinking in the field and take advantage of Oberlin's extensive music library to pursue their own research. The college's broad range of courses in history, theater, dance, and the visual arts complement and enrich the historical performance program's offerings. Some of the world's foremost artists are brought to campus as performers and teachers, augmenting the resident faculty.

Curriculum Overview

  • Private instruction (principal or secondary) is available in harpsichord, fortepiano, organ, Baroque violin, viola da gamba, Baroque cello, Baroque flute, recorder, and historical oboe. Although some students come to Oberlin already specializing in an early instrument, others come with more traditional musical backgrounds and begin their study of an early instrument in the conservatory.
  • Winter term is traditionally rich in events of interest to early music students. Recently, these have included an early piano workshop and introductory courses in Baroque violin, viola da gamba, recorder, hurdy-gurdy, crumhorn, portative organ, and lute.
  • Many students in Oberlin's historical performance program participate in off-campus tours, including recent engagements in New York City, at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and at the Boston Early Music Festival. They also perform on campus in the Baroque Performance Institute, an intensive two-week summer program.
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