Oberlin became the first countertenor in the United States to achieve general recognition; as Peter G. Davis wrote, he was "for many years the lone practitioner of any note" of "a voice type that had never flourished in America before." Oberlin was engaged by Leonard Bernstein for his 1955 recording of Handel's Messiah. He sang the role of Oberon in the Covent Garden premiere of Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream in 1961. Bernstein wrote a part for him in his Chichester Psalms (1965).
He recorded extensively, gave recitals and appeared as soloist with leading orchestras in the US and abroad. Oberlin described himself as a countertenor whose "naturally high tenor voice" allowed him to sing the countertenor repertoire without using falsetto. At the age of 36, he retired from active engagements to become a teacher, joining the faculty at Hunter College in New York as Professor of Music, where he served from 1966 to 1994. As a senior Fulbright research scholar, he lectured extensively in the USA and England. After the reissue of his Expériences Anonymes recordings of the Lyrichord Early Music series, Oberlin appeared on radio programs including Performance Today, Millennium of Music and similar programs in interviews about his life and work in music. Oberlin can be seen in a 1962 film performing Bach's Cantata No.
54, with Glenn Gould performing the harpsichord part on a harpsipiano. He can also be seen on Classic Arts Showcase on a 1962 Camera Three segment singing an aria from Handel's opera Rodelinda, and on another 1962 segment singing an aria from Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream. He died in New York City on November 26, 2016 at the age of 88. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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