Cleveland Ovations Preview - Raphael Jiménez

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Cellist Charles Colwell, a double-degree student who also earned a bachelor’s degree in biology at Oberlin College, performed Ernest Bloch’s Shelomo: Rhapsodie Hébraïque with the Oberlin Chamber Orchestra on Saturday, April 5, 2014. He is a student of Darrett Adkins. He has served as principal cellist in the Oberlin Chamber Orchestra and performed on tour with the Oberlin Orchestra in Carnegie Hall, as well as given a solo performance on the Oberlin at Oakton Concert Series in Virginia. Also a composer, Colwell was awarded a grant in 2011 for the purpose of collecting Costa Rican bird calls for a piece he composed. Colwell has performed as soloist with the Willimantic Orchestra of Connecticut and the Seven Hills Symphony of Worcester, Massachusetts. He has also participated in summer festivals at the Banff Centre and the Aspen Music Festival.

Pianist Joseph Hauer, a student of Peter Takács, performed Rachmaninoff's Fourth Piano Concerto with the Oberlin Orchestra on Saturday, April 12, 2014. A native of Appleton, Wisconsin, Hauer has performed as soloist with the Fox Valley Symphony, the Madison Symphony Orchestra, and the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. His performances have been broadcast statewide on Wisconsin Public Television and Wisconsin Public Radio. Hauer has attended the Golandsky Institute Summer Symposium at Princeton University, PianoSummer at New Paltz, New York, and Pianofest in the Hamptons.

Pianist YiQiao Li, was a student of Robert Shannon and native of Harbin, China. She performed Rachmaninoff’s First Piano Concerto with the Oberlin Orchestra on Friday, May 9. Li was born in Harbin, China, and received her early music training at the Affiliated Middle School of China Conservatory of Music in Beijing. She has received top prizes in many national competitions in China, including the Xing Hai National Piano Competition and the China New Talent Competition, as well as the honor of being selected for the Beijing International Piano Festival.

Conductor Raphael Jiménez joined the Oberlin Conservatory of Music as associate professor of conducting and director of Oberlin orchestras in 2011. Born in Florida and raised in Venezuela, Jiménez began his musical life as a violinist. While he was a member of the Simón Bolívar National Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, he was assigned his first conducting responsibility at the Venezuelan National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras (El Sistema). He was soon conducting all the professional orchestras in the country and was appointed Principal Conductor of the Caracas National Ballet at the age of 22, leading the orchestra in numerous performances of the most representative works of this genre including Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Firebird, Coppelia, Cinderella, Romeo and Juliet, and The Nutcracker, among many others.

He began his opera experience as assistant conductor at the Teresa Carreño Center for the Performing Arts and has since served as music director to productions of La Bohème, the Barber of Seville, La Traviata, Così fan tutte, The Marriage of Figaro, Florencia en el Amazonas, The Rake’s Progress, Don Giovanni, and The Tales of Hoffmann, to name a few.

Jiménez devotes great effort to the promotion of new music, especially of works by Latin American composers, and he has been recognized for his diverse and eclectic programming. He has had the privilege of premiering numerous works including the world premiere of and flowers pick themselves featured on the eponymous recording.

He enjoys a very active career, including frequent invitations to conduct symphonic concerts, ballets, and opera productions with critical acclaim. Recent appearances include performances in China with the orchestras of Zhejiang and Guanxi; in Latin America with the symphony orchestras of Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, and Puerto Rico; and leading the opera orchestras of Lubeck in Germany and Palm Beach in Florida. He has also conducted the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, the Florida Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica Municipal de Caracas, Lansing Symphony, Battle Creek Symphony, and the Filene Center Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C.

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