Upon joining the Yale faculty in 1968, Aki became a member of the Yale Quartet, which earned international praise for its performances and many fine recordings. She has also recorded music by faculty composer Martin Bresnick on Composers Records label, and has recently recorded a disc of works by Schumann, Schubert, Debussy, and Gershwin with her long-time faculty colleague, pianist Joan Panetti, on the Epson label. Another highlight of her collaboration with Panetti was a complete performance of Mozart’s violin sonatas over two seasons as part of Yale’s celebration of the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth. Syoko Aki appears regularly in Yale concerts, both in New Haven and at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. She was also the concertmaster and soloist with the New York Chamber Symphony and a founding member of the Saito Kinen Orchestra and Mito Chamber Orchestra in Japan. MORE
The Yale School of Music is pleased to announce the appointment of Emanuel Ax as Visiting Professor of Piano for the 2009-2010 academic year. One of the world’s leading pianists, Ax has longstanding ties to Yale and to the School of Music, including an honorary doctorate from the university.
Boris Berman, Coordinator of Piano at YSM, notes that “for many years we felt honored to present recitals and master classes of this wonderful artist to the Yale community. His addition to the roster of the piano faculty will give our talented students an invaluable opportunity to work closely with one of the greatest masters of the piano.” MORE
Yale Opera presents two evenings of one-act operas at 7:30 pm on April 17 and 18, 2009, in Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Hall (470 College St, New Haven). Each evening opens with Jules Massenet’s La Navarraise and concludes with William Walton’s The Bear.
La Navarraise, inspired by Jules Claretie’s short story “La cigarette,” takes place in Spain during the Carlist War in 1874. It is the tale of Anita (La Navarraise) who, in order to raise money for a dowry to marry the man she loves, assassinates a Carlist leader for the reward money — with tragic results. In The Bear, based on a vaudeville by Anton Chekhov, a landowner heatedly demands money owed from a widow, but their duel turns into a seduction. Both operas feature the work of veteran stage director Vera Lúcia Calábria, with wardrobe by Martha Lehr and lighting by William Warfel. La Navarraise will be performed in French with projected English translations; The Bear will be performed in English with text projections. Douglas Dickson and Timothy Shaindlin provide musical direction and piano accompaniment for the Massenet and the Walton, respectively. MORE
The Chamber Music Society at Yale presents the Nash Ensemble, one of Britain’s finest and most adventurous chamber groups, at 8:00 pm on Tuesday, April 7 in Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Memorial Hall. The ensemble, which performs music for widely varied combinations of its twelve-person roster, will perform music for piano, clarinet, horn, and strings. The program in Sprague hall includes Vaughan Williams’s Quintet for clarinet, horn, piano, violin, and cello in D major (1898); Paul Dukas’s Vilanelle for horn and piano; Schumann’s quirky Märchenerzählungen (Fairy Tales) for clarinet, viola, and piano, Op. 132; and perhaps the best-known work of the evening, Dvorák’s Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 87. The performers will be Ian Brown, piano; Richard Hosford, clarinet; Richard Watkins, horn; Marianne Thorsen, violin, James Boyd, viola; and Paul Watkins, cello.
Tickets are $27-$34, students $14. For more information, visit the Yale School of Music’s new website, music.yale.edu, or call 203 432-4158. MORE
Composer Timothy (Timo) Andres enjoyed a successful premiere of his orchestral work “Senior” in Carnegie Hall on Sunday, March 22.Written for string quartet and orchestra, the piece is written to evoke the state of mind of a senior in college. The New York Youth Symphony commissioned the 12-minute work, performing it with the ACME String Quartet and conductor Ryan McAdams.
According to Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times, “This pensive and restless music does seem to touch on the conflicting emotions that Mr. Andres identifies with senior slump: expectancy and finality, bewilderment and boredom. But the piece was fascinating on musical terms alone… The acuteness of Mr. Andres’s ear lends intricacy to the layered lines and pungency to the piercing harmonies.” MORE
Yale Opera begins staging rehearsals on Monday March 23 for the spring double-bill performance of Jules Massenet’s La Navarraise and William Walton’s The Bear. Stage director Vera Calabria returns to New Haven for this production following her most recent appearance directing Yale Opera’s Fall 2008 Scenes.
Performances will be Friday April 17 and Saturday April 18 at 7:30pm in Sprague Hall. Please check the Yale School of Music website for more information and to purchase tickets, and check back here frequently for rehearsal updates.
Take a look at highlights from Yale Opera’s 2009 production of Mozart’s classic Die Zauberflöte, performed at New Haven’s Shubert Theater this past February.
The creative team behind this exciting new production included stage director Marc Verzatt, set designer Mikiko Suzuki MacAdams, costume designer Thierry Bosquet (principal and men’s chorus costumes originally created for New York City Opera), and lighting designer William Warfel. The original set was built by students from the Yale School of Drama. Performers included an international cast of singers from Yale Opera, a chorus drawn from the New Haven and Yale communities, and the Philharmonia Orchestra of Yale, conducted by Federico Cortese. Doris Yarick Cross is the artistic director of Yale Opera.
The Yale School of Music presents a special performance on its Duke Ellington jazz series by soprano saxophonist and composer Jane Ira Bloom at 8:00 pm on Friday, March 27 in Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Memorial Hall. A graduate of Yale College and the Yale School of Music, Bloom has been a pioneer in the use of live electronics and movement in jazz.
According to Pulse, she possesses “one of the most gorgeous tones and hauntingly lyrical ballad conceptions of any soprano saxophonist.” In addition to Bloom, the quartet’s performers are Dawn Clement, piano; Mark Helias, bass; and Jaz Sawyer, drums.
Said Bloom, “Coming back and playing in New Haven has a lot of meaning for me because it’s where my career as an improviser began.” She reminisces, “I was at Yale and playing out in New Haven from ’72 to ’77 during a period that jazz historians have now called the ‘New Haven Renaissance.’ There were so many creative improvisers and so much activity going on in the city. Being part of a community like that inspired me in ways that I never knew at the time.” MORE
Two pianists from the Yale School of Music, alumna Andrea Lam ’04AD and current Artist Diploma student Amy J. Yang, will be among the thirty competitors in the preliminary round of the upcoming Cliburn Competition. Lam and Yang were selected from hundreds of recitals to compete in the prestigious event, which will take place in May. Named for the spectacular pianist Van Cliburn, winner of the First Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow (1958), the competition is one of the most prestigious of its kind worldwide. It was first held in 1962 and has been repeated every four years since then. A complete list of the thirty finalists for 2009 is available on the Cliburn Competition’s website. After the Preliminary Round, twelve pianists will compete in the semifinal round; six will vie for top honors in the final round.
Australian pianist Andrea Lam began her musical training at age five, and at thirteen won the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Quest Competition Viewer Choice Award, which led to debuts with the Melbourne and Sydney Symphony Orchestras. Since then she has played with all of Australia’s major orchestras, and has also performed in Hong Kong, Japan, and the United States, collaborating with such conductors as Michael Christie, Edo de Waart, Alan Gilbert, and Christopher Hogwood. A graduate of Yale University and the Manhattan School of Music, she will record two Mozart concertos with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra in July 2009. More information is available at her website: http://www.andrealam.com
Amy Jiaqi Yang immigrated to the United States with her family in 1995, settling in Houston. First-prize winner of the Corpus Christi Young Artist’s Competition and the Kosciuszko Foundation’s National Chopin Competition, she has performed throughout the United States and in China, Poland, Switzerland, and Turkey. Ms. Yang is an avid chamber musician and has recently participated in the Marlboro Festival, toured with Musicians from Ravinia, and performed with ensemble for former first lady Laura Bush at the White House. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the Curtis Institute of Music, a master’s degree from Juilliard, and is currently enrolled at Yale, where she also studies sculpture and classical guitar. Audio clips are available at Ms. Yang’s MySpace Music site.
Guitarists from across the United States came to the Yale School of Music for the Guitar Extravaganza VI, which took place on March 7, 2009. Under the artistic direction of Benjamin Verdery, the daylong event covered topics from baroque to electric. Among the performers and presenters were several Yale alumni, including Eliot Fisk ’76BA, ’77MM, who gave a special benefit recital; Seth Josel ’94DMA, who performed in a double-bill with guitarist and composer Gyan Riley; Jerald Harscher ’90MM, who offered a workshop on body mapping; and Kevin Vigil ’90MM, who led his student guitar ensemble in concert and then teamed up with Kim Perlak ’01MM for a lecture on the guitar’s role in education.
Other guest artists included David Madsen, who led the Hartt School Guitar Ensemble, and Jerry Willard, who performed on two period guitars and offered a master class, as well as faculty composers Ingram Marshall, Martin Bresnick, and Jack Vees, who participated in a panel discussion on composing for the guitar. Hundreds of people came to attend the workshops, lectures, master classes, and concerts offered throughout the day.
Photos by Vincent Oneppo and Dana Astmann.