By April Lee
Jasper de Boor (far left) with Poiesis Quartet
It is not everyday that we encounter someone who is a modern and baroque violinist, violist, and pianist. Jasper de Boor epitomizes what it means to make music one’s lifestyle. A double major in violin and viola at the Oberlin Conservatory, de Boor will be performing their violin senior recital on May 5 at 4:30 pm in Kulas Recital Hall.
de Boor is the violist of the prize-winning Poiesis Quartet, formed at Oberlin in 2022. The quartet was recently awarded first prize at the Saint Paul String Quartet Competition and third prize at the Glass City Chamber Competition. Additionally, Poiesis is on their way as quarterfinalists at this year’s Fischoff competition.
A reputable violist, as well as an accomplished violinist, de Boor’s program features, Rebecca Clarke’s Sonata in D for violin and piano, Sang-in Lee’s Embodiment I, George Walker’s Sonata in One Movement for violin and piano, Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst’s The Last Rose of Summer.
From opening the recital with an unpublished piece to concluding it with one of the most notoriously difficult works in the violin repertoire, de Boor is set to showcase their multifaceted musicianship. de Boor was introduced to the Clarke and Lee by their violin professor, David Bowlin. The Clarke Sonata exists only in manuscript, and there are no available recordings. For de Boor, having no access to external references hasn’t been an issue as his usual process of studying a piece is to “play until it’s in my ear and do what comes naturally.”
de Boor said, “ever since I played his quartet many years ago, I’ve loved Walker.” They have gone down a personal exploration of the composer’s music, including a solo piece in their junior recital last year, so we are highly anticipating their performance.
Whereas the first three pieces on their program have been learned in a “shorter timeline,” de Boor said, Ernst’s The Last Rose of Summer required spending more time. It’s a set of variations full of every imaginable — or unimaginable — technical difficulty. “It’s intense. To do all of them every time is kind of hard.” Only a few violinists have dared to record the piece. Nonetheless, de Boor said, “the preparation for it has been good because I have had a lot of time in studio class performances already.”
Perhaps the secret to their accomplishments is believing in themselves and the music. Looking ahead to Fischoff, de Boor is “excited about performing and seeing old friends,” adding that the excitement outweighs the fears and doubts. On stage, de Boor exudes poise and has the power to immediately lock themself into their musical realm.