Historic Scope of the Oboe

Dr. Joel Evans, associate professor in the State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz School of Fine & Performing Arts, performed his concert “The Expressive Oboe” this past Tuesday night, Feb. 26.

Evans has been playing the oboe for over 45 years, performing as a soloist at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, among others. To add, he is also a solo hornist and oboist for the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, the Pone Ensemble for New Music, and multiple other local ensembles.

Never capping his talent, Evans was honored by playing in performances of Broadway productions such as “Miss Saigon” and “Les Miserables.”

Evans, along with faculty members Ruthanne Schempf on piano, Carole Cowan on violin, Christiana Fortune-Reader on viola and Susan Seligman on cello take the audience through a journey of historical eras.

“I basically am a performing artist on the oboe, but I am also a historical scholar,” Evans said.  “My academic appointment here is in music history. I like to pull the history out of everything I do.”

Right before the baroque era, Jacques-Martin Hotteterre and Michel Danican Philidor invented the oboe in the 17th century.

Listeners traveled from the baroque era, through the classical era and to the 19th century. Evans, with Schempf playing melodic piano, focused on a baroque piece by Hotteterre and a couple of its movements to introduce the timeline of the concert. 

Compositions of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart came next to begin the classical era, preceding German composer and musician Robert Schumann to open the curtain for the Romantic era.

“We can take any instrument through time and through history,” Evans said. Similar melodies were expressed throughout the concert, accompanied by historical backstories, but Evans was hoping the audience would look at the bigger picture.

“I [demonstrated] various oboes from around the globe and through time, and after I [went] historically [through them],” Evans said.

While the oboe is traditionally played within classical music, there is a plethora of cultures who implement different types of oboes into their musical styles around the globe. 

“I think I am more interested in understanding the largeness of scope that instruments play,” Evans said. “Not just the oboe, but any instrument sort of has an expanded life of its own throughout time and throughout geography.”

Evans’ finale consisted of a more contemporary piece which “puts heavy demands on the technique of the player,” he said. 

The SUNY New Paltz music department prioritizes the education and training of their students under the discipline of music. Their undergraduate program is rigorous as well as the preparation for life after graduation and in their careers. The department shows obvious public outreach through their concert series.

The next concerts that are a part of the series are Piano Recital: Flier Competition on March 12 at 8 p.m. in Studley Theatre and Chamber Music Recital on March 13 at 5 p.m. in Shepard Hall.

About Susanna Granieri 76 Articles
Susanna Granieri is a fourth-year journalism and digital media production major. This is her fifth semester with The Oracle. Previously, she worked as an Arts & Entertainment Copy Editor and Sports Editor. She is passionate about journalism and being a watchdog for our local issues and news in the Village of New Paltz. She has also written for the Legislative Gazette, the Southern Ulster Times and Being Patient. She will continue her journalism career in the fall of 2021 at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.