This was a really riveting performance of Shostakovich's dark masterpiece (14th Symphony) under Dwight Oltman’s baton with the fine soprano Lucy Shelton as soloist. Some say that the 14th Symphony with its relentless concentration on the subject of death and dying is monotonous and depressing. But here Oltman, Shelton and the OCO players made it live and moved its audience deeply.
Robert Finn, Cleveland Plain Dealer
It was the best-visiting ballet orchestra we’ve heard.
Barton Wimble, New York Daily News
Dwight Oltman and his outstanding Ohio Chamber Orchestra were in the pit for the successful Brooklyn Academy run by the Cleveland Ballet. He led everything from Mendelssohn to Ives with imagination and control and completely surpassed all expectations conducting the Beethoven Seventh Symphony… Oltman’s interpretation was on a most exalted level and the joint Ohio and New York extra players performed magnificently.
Byron Belt, Newhouse Newspapers
Dwight Oltman conducted members of the San Jose Symphony in the Fokine (Les Sylphide)
and Massine (Gaite Parisienne), providing admirably sympathetic support.
Allan Ulrich, San Francisco Examiner
The choice of repertoire was imaginative. The ensemble (Ohio Chamber Orchestra) was well-rehearsed. The audience was loud and enthusiastic. The enjoyable evening opened with an interpretation of the Bach Brandenburg (No. 1) that was a model of carefully applied baroque performance practices…The conductor’s handling of rhythmic subtleties was especially refreshing…Oltman and the orchestra impressively demonstrated their versatility in the complete switch of aesthetics demanded by the next number, the Strauss Concertino…The concert came to a spirited conclusion with a delightful performance of Ibert’s Divertissement. Oltman and the orchestra fully enjoyed the witty humor of this six-movement suite.
Wilma Salisbury, Cleveland Plain Dealer
In the 14 years of its existence, the Ohio Chamber Orchestra under its founder and regular conductor, Dwight Oltman, has gone from a pickup group to a professional ensemble with elegant precision and refinement. It can take its place among chamber groups on a comparable level with the Cleveland Orchestra’s position among international orchestras.
Philippa Kiraly, Akron Beacon Journal
The score, arranged mainly from Shostakovich’s film music and ballet suites, sounds good with the Scottish Philharmonic Orchestra and four singers under Dwight Oltman’s direction.
John Percival the Times (London)
Shostakovich’s music was a good vehicle for ballet and was well played by the Scottish Philharmonic conducted by Dwight Oltman.
Dundee Carrier (Scotland)
Nahat added movements from six Mendelssohn works to the Midsummer Night’s Dream incidental music. This was well-played by a large orchestra (the San Jose Symphony Orchestra), conducted with good style, tempo, and timing by Dwight Oltman.
Robert Commanday, San Francisco Chronicle
Led by longtime music director Dwight Oltman, the faculty, students, and guest artists achieved a bold synthesis of modern and historic performance practices even as they made a living, breathing thing of Bach’s masterpiece (St. John Passion). The BW Bach Festival continues to be a model of hybrid intelligence. Students gain inspiration by collaborating with their teachers and visiting singers. The mix of modern and period instruments, attention to Baroque style and reverence for Bach’s compassion and complexity go far in alerting the students to the fine points of artistic integrity. Oltman’s firm leadership assured that Bach’s score was paced with judicious space, propulsion and clarity. He maintained a close relationship with his orchestral and choral forces and allowed for ample flexibility in the recitatives with the soloists and continuo players. The audience was in raptures, a testament to the performers’ heightened skills and Bach’s soaring vision.
Donald Rosenberg, Cleveland Plain Dealer
Oltman is a tall and poised conductor of impressive control and polished technique.
Henry Ingram, Greensboro News and Record (NC)
The concert opened with a concert version of Bastien and Bastienne. The music was astonishingly fresh and varied and the orchestra (Halifax Symphony) under Mr. Oltman brought off an accompaniment that was both sensitive and energetic.
Stephen Pederson, The Chronicle Herald, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Oltman is a Bach specialist, and he obviously is just as much at home conducting Handel. It is no small feat to hold for two hours the attention of an audience accustomed to hearing a full orchestra playing mostly romantic music. But Oltman brought it off even though at times he had no more than 11 musicians on the state. Oltman conducted the “Water Music”, as he did everything on the program, with authority…Under his direction, the small orchestra performed admirably. Its attacks were incisive, its ensemble tone full-bodied and its attitude faithful to the music.
Gerald Elliott, The Grand Rapids Press
The evening was also a triumph for the Ballet San Jose Orchestra and its conductor, Dwight Oltman, who turned in a musical performance of elegance and intensity to rival what major area symphony orchestras might produce. (Beethoven 9th Symphony)
Octavio Roca, San Francisco Chronicle
Under the baton of Dwight Oltman, the performances blended youthful enthusiasm and scholarly precision at a high level.
Joseph McClellan, The Washington Post
Oltman scored a decided plus with his clear, articulate direction. His carefully shaped phrases, clearly indicated cues, tempo changes, and dynamic nuances integrated the players into an effective and cohesive performing body. Again in the Tchaikovsky “Capriccio Italien” the conductor transmitted his musical ideas with an authority and finesse in which the musicians responded with awareness and sensitivity…That all these demands were achieved in ample measure attests to the artistry of Narciso Yepes and the support provided by the Cantonians (Canton Symphony) under the intelligent and perceptive leadership of Dwight Oltman.
Alice Flaksman, Canton Repository