OU String Division Chair Dawn Wohn Compiles ‘Perspectives’

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Ohio University assistant professor and String Division Chair of the music department at Ohio University, Dawn Wohn, released a commercial album entitled Perspectives earlier this month, which features works by female composers of color, who have been historically neglected by academic and commercial music institutions.

Around the time of the last Presidential election, Wohn said that many of her female students of color were coming to her hoping to be heard by her in a way that they felt they were not being heard by the world at large.

“It was a difficult time, and they wanted to speak to someone they felt would listen to them,” said Wohn, who had experienced the same kind of exclusion felt by her female students of color at Ohio University while she was studying at The Julliard School, Yale University, and Stony Brook University. It was from that experience that Wohn first thought of the project that would become Perspectives.


“At that time, I was thinking of how, in a non-political way, I could make my students understand that music is really inclusive,” said Wohn. “A majority of the works that we study in school are very Euro-male centric, (…) and I realized that some of my students didn’t even realize that there were female composers from a long time ago, and also currently, and that a lot of these female composers are of different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds and that a lot of them do compose based on those backgrounds.”

Wohn worked with her longtime friend and colleague Esther Park to create Perspectives, focusing on showcasing diverse works from female composers. The release features both older works such as “Legenda” by Vítězslava Kaprálová and “Nocturne” by Lili Boulanger and even a brand new one, “Starcrossed” by Jung Sun Kang. Perspectives also features a work by Ohio University alumna and composer Chihchun Chi-Sun Lee, entitled “Provintia ‘Sunset of Chihkan Tower.”

You can hear more from Wohn about the release in the interview embedded above.