Music Department Colloquium: Libby Van Cleve —“Transcription and Transformation: the challenges and joys of creating oboe performance editions of great string repertoire by Mozart and Bach”

Thursday, February 22, 2024 at 4:30pm
Adzenyah Rehearsal Hall, Room 003 (Daltry Room), 60 Wyllys Avenue, Middletown


Oboist and Director of the Yale Oral History of American Music Libby Van Cleve gives a talk entitled “Transcription and Transformation: the challenges and joys of creating oboe performance editions of great string repertoire by Mozart and Bach.” With a performance of the Sinfonia Concertante by Mozart, featuring Van Cleve, Kirsten Lipkins, and Neely Bruce.

Described as “expert” by The Washington Post, “dazzling” by the San Francisco Chronicle, and “absolutely exquisite” by Paris Transatlantic, Libby Van Cleve’s most extreme moniker was from the Hartford Courant which dubbed her “the double reed queen of the new music world.” Libby Van Cleve is recognized as one of the foremost interpreters of chamber and contemporary music for the oboe. Her solo playing is featured on the New Albion, CRI, Aerial, and Centrediscs CD labels. Her solo English horn and oboe d’amore performances are featured on the internationally acclaimed CD Dark Waters, music by Ingram Marshall. In addition Ms. Van Cleve performs regularly with chamber music groups including Lucience and Burning Bush Baroque. Compact discs featuring her chamber playing have been released on the Tzadik, New World, OODisc, Braxton House, What Next?, CRI and Artifacts labels.

Numerous compositions have been written for her and have been commissioned by organizations such as the National Endowment for the Arts, Connecticut Commission for the Arts, Canada Council, and Minnesota Composers Forum. Ms. Van Cleve has received grants for the performance and recording of new works from the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, Minnesota Composers Forum, Jerome Foundation, and North West Area Foundation. She has been awarded residencies at the Yellow Springs Artist Colony and the Banff Centre, and she won the prestigious Yale School of Music Alumni Association Prize.

Van Cleve is the author of Oboe Unbound, a book on contemporary oboe techniques published by Rowman and Littlefield Press. She is co-author of the award-winning book/CD publication, Composers' Voices from Ives to Ellington, Yale University Press. She also created an oboe performance edition of the first three of Bach’s cello suites, available through T.D. Ellis Music Publishing, ASCAP.

Ms. Van Cleve received her DMA from Yale School of Music, her MFA from California Institute of the Arts, and her BA, Magna cum Laude, from Bowdoin College. She is the oboe teacher at Connecticut College and Wesleyan University, and Director of Yale’s Oral History of American Music project. Her former teachers have included Ronald Roseman, Allan Vogel, and Basil Reeve. Ms. Van Cleve currently resides in Guilford, Connecticut, with her husband, Jack Vees, and daughter, Nola.

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