Kent State oboists visit Washington D.C. for masterclass

Julie Riedel

Kent State oboe players got the opportunity to tour Washington, D.C. and participate in a masterclass with the Washington National Opera Orchestra’s principal oboist.

On Saturday, September 27 and Sunday, September 28, five students in assistant music professor Danna Sundet’s studio oboe class took the masterclass with Igor Leschishin, who became the principal oboist with the orchestra at the Kennedy Center in 1998.

During the class, Sundet and Leschishin switched students to provide a different perspective. Students learned about musical techniques and auditioning.

Freshman music major Josiah Dyck said, “It was completely helpful, (Leschishin) talked about the audition process and it was cool hearing about it from his perspective.”

After the class, the group watched Leschishin perform in the National Opera’s debut performance of Florencia in the Amazon, a tragic story about a woman trying to find her lost lover in the Amazon.

“It was a cool opera, and it was cool that we got to work with Leschishin and then watch him perform,” Dyck said.

When students weren’t working with Leschishin in the class, Sundet took them sightseeing around Washington, D.C.. Sophomore music education major Melissa D’Aliberti, who also went on the trip, said they visited the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Memorial, Korean War Memorial and the WWII Memorial. They also walked along the National Mall and Memorial Parks, where they saw the Capitol Building and The White House. It was a busy, fast-paced weekend.

“Danna runs everywhere, she would tell us we have five minutes to take pictures and then we would have to leave,” D’Aliberti said.

The idea for the masterclass was born during the summer, when Sundet and Leschishin worked together at the Bellingham Washington Festival of Music in the Pacific Northwest. The festival is an annual virtuoso orchestral festival, and Sundet played oboe with Leschishin. The two became quick friends; Leschishin invited Sundet and her students to visit D.C.

D’Aliberti said she didn’t know what to expect before embarking on the trip. She didn’t feel she was fully prepared for something like it and she didn’t think the opera was going to be enjoyable.

But, she said, “It was worth it, I went in with an awful attitude, thinking it was going to be terrible, it was so much more incredible than I thought. It’s an experience you can’t not take, and I’m glad I went.”

Contact at Julie Riedel [email protected].