For three weeks we had a great pleasure of having composers Soomin Kim, Kari Watson and Natsumi Osborn, and performers Ellie Macphee, Elizabeth Kate and Charlotte Hill, filling the House, Twins and Studios with music, joy and laughter. On January 26th they indulged Arts Letters & Numbers with a concert in the house. KOI Collective was formed in August 2018 by three liked-minded composers from Oberlin Conservatory – Soomin Kim, Kari Watson and Natsumi Osborn – and works to promote and celebrate women, trans and non-binary composers through collaborative projects and community outreach. During their stay at Arts Letters & Numbers, they are working with the Variant Trio, their ensemble in residence, to produce a four-part suite entitled “Impressions of House and Home” for their upcoming KOI concert in March. This collection of pieces stem from themes of home and identity, where they explore the influence of their vastly different cultural backgrounds on their compositions. In addition to Impressions of House and Home, the Variant Trio is learning a piano trio by Amy Beach, one of the first widely recognized American female composers. This ensemble in residence is comprised of three women performers from Oberlin, Ellie Macphee, Elizabeth Kate and Charlotte Hill, all of whom are passionate about performing contemporary repertoire and celebrating music by marginalized voices.
Composer Soomin Kim is currently in her fourth year at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music studying under the tutelage of Stephen Hartke. Kim was the composer-in-residence with the Northern Ohio Youth Orchestra during their 2017-18 concert season, for whom she wrote a piece titled “The Blue Marble.” Her work has also been featured at the 2017 Alba Music Festival, 2018 Norfolk New Music Workshop, 2018 soundSCAPE Festival and the 2018 Young & Emerging Composers Project of the Cleveland Chamber Symphony. Upcoming projects involve premiere of “Four Love Songs,” which was commissioned by Tim Weiss, director of Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble.
Kari Watson has a passion for narrative, and works to create music that is energetic, tactile and emotionally driven. Her work has been premiered in the United States, Europe and Japan by ensembles such as the Rosetta Contemporary ensemble, Ensemble MISE-EN, and Soli Chamber Ensemble. She is currently serving as composer-in-residence with the Northern Ohio Youth Orchestra for their 2018-2019 concert season with an upcoming premier of her piece “Night Music for Fish”. Additional current projects include a commission for the Eschaton Contemporary Ensemble at Vanderbilt University and a collection of pieces for Oberlin’s Experimental Vocal Chamber Ensemble. Kari is a third year composition student at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music where she studies under a dean’s .
Natsumi Osborn (b.1999) is a Japanese-American composer from Tokyo, Japan. Finding her interest in composition at a young age, she has since written for film and ballet as well as concert music. She was named Winner of the 2017 American Composer’s Forum NextNotes Awards, of the WCSMS 2017 Promising Young Composer’s Competition and of the 2017 Carson Thomas Miller Texas Emerging Composers Competition. Her work has also been recognized by the ASCAP Morton Gould Awards, and have been selected for multiple Society of Composers, Inc National Conferences. Natsumi currently studies composition at Oberlin Conservatory while simultaneously also pursuing a B. A. at Oberlin College.
Violinist Ellie MacPhee hails from Greenville, South Carolina and is in her third year at Oberlin Conservatory studying under the tutelage of Sibbi Bernhardsson. Her path as a musician began with traditional folk and bluegrass tunes and propelled her into her study as a classical violinist. Ellie has attended prestigious festivals such as ENCORE Chamber Intensive, Domaine Forget, Credo Winter Intensive and The Parker String Seminar. Ellie was a finalist in the Clemson Concerto Competition, Fine Arts Concerto Competition, YAO Scholarship Competition, Oberlin Honors Recital, and the Parker String Quartet Competition. She has also performed with Credo and played with incredible pedagoges and musicians such as Levon Chilingirian, Marc Coppey, Jinjoo Cho, and members of the Cavani Quartet.
Cellist Elizabeth Kate Hall-Keough hails from Brooklyn, New York and is currently in her second year as a dual degree student at Oberlin College and Conservatory studying cello with Amir Eldan and theater. Elizabeth attended Greenwood Music Camp for seven summers, Eastern Music festival for two, and most recently Orford Musique Festival. Elizabeth has performed twice as a soloist for the Clarion Music Society’s annual gala, representing the youth pursuing classical music and historical performance in addition to most recently taking part in the Bach Institute at the Emmanuel Church in Boston. Elizabeth graduated from Packer Collegiate Institute in 2017. Her previous cello teachers include Marion Feldman, Astrid Schween, and Fred Sherry.
Collaborative pianist Charlotte Hill creates a distinctively gentle and clear voice in performance settings throughout the United States and Canada. She was raised by string pedagogue Meg Hill in southern New York, and has been immersed in chamber music since birth. Charlotte began her musical education at Hoff-Barthelson Music School where she studied with Rie Matsumoto and David Oei. Significant performance opportunities included master classes with Seymour Lipkin, Kenneth Cooper, Mei Ting Sun, and Alessio Bax, and the premiere of Pierre Jalbert’s Ultraviolet. She is now jointly enrolled in Oberlin College and Conservatory, pursuing Bachelor’s degrees in both Politics and Piano Performance.