Professor shows versatility of the oboe at recital

Adjunct oboe professor Jillian Kouzel performs three pieces for her faculty recital in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall. Vanguard Photo | Audrey Bergey

The Rhea Miller Recital Hall was full of music Friday evening as SVSU adjunct professor Jillian Kouzel performed on her oboe.

Kouzel said she discovered her love for the oboe at the age of ten and has been playing it for 15 years.

Kouzel said that those who attended could expect a “vast array of musical and compositional styles,” particularly ones that one may not consider possible for the oboe.

Kouzel said that the program had a range of different styles, including jazz, classical romantic and contemporary.

“In my final piece, I not only use every possible extended technique (flutter tongue, glissando, multiphonics, bisbigliando, and circular-breathing, but I also act as a percussionist simultaneously, performing with sleighbells on my ankles,” she said.

Kouzel said she hoped the performance would give her audience a deeper look into what the oboe is capable of in the solo landscape.

After an entire school year of strict covid restrictions, Kouzel was excited to return to the Rhea Miller Recital Hall for her performance Friday night. While masks were required for audience members, Kouzel said that the performance hall offered a better environment for her oboe music to be appreciated.

“Playing outside is simply not the same as indoors and not ideal for wooden instruments like the oboe,” she said. “Plus, the acoustics in this hall are outstanding.”

Kouzel performed Four Personalities by Alyssa Morris for oboe and piano. Each movement in this piece was a personality associated with the colors yellow, white, blue and red. She was accompanied by pianist Amanda Stamper.

She also performed Concerto, op. 45 by Eugene Goossens for oboe and piano. Her concert concluded with Danse “Sigillum Saturni”, op. 26 for unaccompanied oboe or English horn by Dirk-Michael-Kirsch.

Kouzel said that the amount of practice that goes into faculty recitals varies depending on the player and the rigor of the chosen pieces.

“In my case, I needed to start working on the contemporary piece with sleighbells back in June,” she said. “I started learning the remainder of my program about one and a half months out, making a conscious effort to practice this program every single day.”

Felicia Snyder is a music performance junior who attended the event. She said she came out to the concert because, while she is a music student, oboe music is not something she listens to regularly.

She said the main takeaway was the versatility of the oboe when it comes to musical capabilities. She said that while many associate oboe with the sound of a goose, Kouzel’s performance defied all stereotypes.

“What she did was beautiful,” she said.

Snyder’s said her favorite part of the program Four Personalities.

“I loved the jazz style … You never hear jazz oboe, that’s so cool,” Snyder said.

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