Press Room

Press Release Detail

Press Release Detail

Oberlin College
247 W. Lorain St., Suite C
Oberlin, Ohio 44074
(440) 775-8474

Esperanza Spalding, 2011 Grammy Winner for Best New Artist, to Perform March 9 at 8 p.m.

Feb 22, 2011

OBERLIN, OHIO (February 22, 2011) — Esperanza Spalding, winner of the 2011 Grammy Award for Best New Artist, will perform on Oberlin College’s Artist Recital Series on Wednesday, March 9, at 8 p.m. in Finney Chapel. The concert will feature Spalding’s new project, Chamber Music Society, a modern chamber music group that combines the spontaneity and intrigue of improvisation with sweet and angular string trio arrangements. “It is a privilege to welcome Esperanza Spalding to campus and as part of the Artist Recital Series. Her work as a creative artist is extraordinary and she is without question one of the most innovative musicians of her generation,” says Dean of the Conservatory David H. Stull.

Spalding’s recent Grammy win in the mainstream category of Best New Artist signifies her considerable appeal to a broad audience. Her 2008 release, Esperanza, spent over 70 weeks on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz chart and was the most successful internationally selling debut that year. Spalding’s 2010 release, Chamber Music Society, is a brilliant marriage of string and jazz trios, and a showcase for her eclectic sensibilities along with her vocal and compositional talents. In January 2011, Chamber Music Society hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz chart.

Director of Oberlin’s Division of Jazz Studies Bobby Ferrazza salutes Spalding for her Grammy win and remarked on her musical diversity. “Spalding’s music combines elements of jazz and other contemporary, folk, and world genres mixed with the timeless nature of classical music. Her sound focuses the power and vitality of these varying yet tremendously influential musical styles.”

The 26-year-old prodigy-turned-pro has received accolades from an array of critical media as well. The New York Times raves about bassist, vocalist and composer Spalding: “Esperanza has got a lot: accomplished jazz improvisation, funk, scat singing, Brazilian vernacular rhythm and vocals in English, Portuguese and Spanish;” Rolling Stone declares, “…her talent is undeniable;” and USA Today calls her stylistic blending of genres “a sophisticated fusion of classical music and jazz.”

Spalding is currently on tour with performances scheduled in the U.S., Japan, South Africa and Europe. For more information, visit

About Esperanza Spalding

At age 4, the Portland, Oregon native had essentially taught herself to play the violin well enough to land a spot in The Chamber Music Society of Oregon, a community orchestra that was open to both youth and adult musicians. She stayed with the group for 10 years, and by age 15, she had been elevated to a concertmaster position.

By then she had discovered the bass, and all of the non-classical avenues that the instrument could open for her. Before long she was playing blues, funk, hip-hop and a variety of other styles on the local club circuit.

At Berklee College of Music she not only earned a B.M., but also signed on as an instructor in 2005 at the age of 20 – an appointment that has made her the youngest faculty member in the history of the college.

Spalding’s journey as a solo artist began with the May 2008 release of Esperanza, which went straight to the top of Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz chart where it remained for over 70 weeks and went on to become the best selling album by a new jazz artist internationally in 2008.

Spalding’s August 2010 release, Chamber Music Society, is inspired by the classical training of her younger years. She has created a modern chamber music group that combines the spontaneity and intrigue of improvisation with sweet and angular string trio arrangements. The result is a sound that weaves the innovative elements of jazz, folk and world music into the enduring foundations of classical chamber music traditions.

Ticket information

Tickets are available for advance purchase by visiting or calling 800-371-0178. Single tickets are $30; seniors and those with an Oberlin College ID $25; and students $12. Tickets are available at the door, starting one hour before the performance; however, tickets purchased at the door cost $3 more.

About the Artist Recital Series

Since the inception of the Artist Recital Series in 1878, more than 1,000 of the most acclaimed and accomplished musicians, conductors, orchestras, chamber ensembles, and composers have graced the stage of Finney Chapel at Oberlin College. Stars of such international stature as Dave Brubeck, Alicia de Larrocha, Juan Diego Flórez, Glenn Gould, Denyce Graves, Jascha Heifetz, Vladimir Horowitz, Yo-Yo Ma, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Isaac Stern, George Szell, and Eugene Ysaÿe have performed under the auspices of the series. Since 1919, the Cleveland Orchestra has appeared on the series every season for a total of 210 performances under the baton of such illustrious and varied conductors as Nikolai Sokoloff (38 times), Artur Rodzinski (25 times), George Szell (60 times), Robert Shaw, Pierre Boulez, Lorin Maazel, Simon Rattle, Yoel Levi, Christoph von Dohnányi, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Jahja Ling, Robert Spano, Franz Welser-Möst, Mitskuko Uchida, and Steven Smith. This growing roster is more than an impressive “Who’s Who.” It is an illumination of the finest of serious music, spanning from the late 19th century to the present.

The Oberlin Conservatory of Music at Oberlin College sponsors the Artist Recital Series with additional support from the Friends of the Artist Recital Series. Media sponsorship for the Artist Recital Series is provided by WCLV 104.9-FM, Cleveland’s classical music radio station; WCPN ideastream; and 89.7 WKSU. Corporate sponsorship is provided by the Riverside Company.

Bookmark and Share


Conservatory Public Relations

Conservatory Media Relations staff:

Cathy Partlow Strauss '84
Director of Conservatory Communications

Erich Burnett
Associate Director of Conservatory Communications

39 W. College St.
Oberlin, OH 44074
Phone: (440) 775-8328
Fax: (440) 775-5457