[ concerts ]

Benjamin Verdery celebrates 30 years at Yale with his own compositions Jan. 19

verdery_benThe Faculty Artist Series at the Yale School of Music presents guitarist Benjamin Verdery on Tuesday, January 19 at 7:30 pm.

Celebrating Verdery’s 30 years on the YSM faculty, the recital will feature Verdery playing his own compositions in collaboration with guest artists. Featured guests include guitarist Simon Powis ’08 MM, ’10 MMA, ’14 DMA, a former student of Verdery’s.

Beatboxer and vocal percussionist Mark Martin will team up with Verdery on the premiere of a new work. The concert will conclude with another collaborative piece featuring hip-hop artist Billy Dean, with whom Verdery has collaborated extensively. VIDEO MORE

Published December 23, 2015
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[ students + alumni ]

YSM alumni appear on lists of 2015’s best recordings

Numerous alumni of the Yale School of Music released recordings in 2015. Here is a selection of those recordings that have been named to critics’ lists of the year’s best.

The classical recording industry continues to founder, and yet every day the critics for The New York Times receive more CDs than they know what to do with, from labels large and small, featuring star artists and unknowns, performing the work of composers long dead or still young. An astonishing, inspiring number of these albums are excellent, making it difficult for each writer to choose just five for this list of 25 of the year’s most memorable.

The best thing about this litany of bests? Its variety…. for me the core of the list is in vital recordings of new music, including instant classics like Ted Hearne’s “The Source” and Andrew Norman’s “Play” and works by John Luther Adams, Anna Thorvaldsdottir and others. Just as the contemporary repertory should be at the heart of live performance, so should it be central to what is immortalized on disc.

Zachary Woolfe, The New York Times

hearne-thesource-smTed Hearne: The Source

Mellissa Hughes ’06 MM, Samia Mounts, Isaiah Robinson, Jonathan Woody, singers; Nathan Koci, conductor (New Amsterdam)

Hurling from propulsive small-ensemble chamber rock to eerie Auto-Tuned ruminations, Mr. Hearne’s oratorio about Chelsea Manning and WikiLeaks doesn’t aim to score easy political points. Instead it does what great art should: It pushes you to think and feel about the world in new ways. Even without Daniel Fish’s sober staging, “The Source” (with a brilliant collage libretto by Mark Doten) is remarkable and essential.
— Zachary Woolfe, The New York Times MORE

Published December 22, 2015
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[ concerts ]

Carolyn Kuan conducts the Yale Philharmonia in Mahler and Berg Jan. 29

Carolyn Kuan

Carolyn Kuan

The Yale School of Music presents the Yale Philharmonia with guest conductor Carolyn Kuan and violin soloist Mélanie Clapiès on Friday, January 29. Kuan, the music director of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, will lead the orchestra in works by Alban Berg and Gustav Mahler.

Violinist Mélanie Clapiès, a recent YSM graduate and a winner of the 2015 Woolsey Hall Concerto Competition, will be the featured soloist in Alban Berg’s Violin Concerto. Perhaps his most frequently performed work, Berg’s Violin Concerto is marked as “to the memory of an angel”: he was driven to write it after the death of Manon Gropius, the daughter of Alma Mahler (once Gustav Mahler’s wife) and Walter Gropius.

The second half of the concert feature Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, named the “Titan” after the novel by Jean Paul. “Mahler’s story took shape as a sequence of experiences,” writes Steven Johnson: “the first two movements progress from youthful springtime to confident adulthood; the last two progress from death to a battle against sorrow.”
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Published December 22, 2015
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[ concerts ]

Brentano String Quartet presents music by Dvorák, Haydn, and Shostakovich Jan. 26

brentano-homeThe Oneppo Chamber Music Series at the Yale School of Music presents the acclaimed Brentano String Quartet on Tuesday, January 26 at 7:30 pm. The quartet, which joined the Yale faculty in 2014, will perform music by Joseph Haydn, Dmitri Shostakovich, and Antonin Dvorák.

The concert will begin with Haydn‘s Quartet in F-sharp minor, Op. 50, No. 4, Hob. III:47. The work is part of a set of six quartets that Haydn dedicated to King Frederick William II of Prussia, himself an amateur cellist, and the piece contains some notable passages for the cello.

Next on the program is Shostakovich‘s String Quartet No. 14 in F-sharp major, Op. 142. Like the preceding work, this quartet was dedicated to a cellist, Sergei Shirinsky (who premiered several of Shostakovich’s string quartets), and features the instrument throughout the piece. MORE

Published December 21, 2015
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[ faculty in the press ]

Willie Ruff is called a “legend in his own time” at Arts Council Awards

ruff-willie_artscouncilawardZip06.com | By Amy J. Barry, Correspondent

Willie Ruff, a world-renowned jazz musician and educator who has lived in Branford for more than 30 years, is a “legend in his own time,” says Cynthia Clair, the executive director of the Arts Council of Greater New Haven.

During the Arts Council’s annual awards ceremony earlier this month at the New Haven Lawn Club, where Ruff was the recipient of the C. Newton Schenck III Award for Lifetime Achievement in and Contribution to the Arts, Clair pointed out that Ruff, who attended Yale School of Music as an undergraduate after serving in the Army, performed internationally for 50 years with the late pianist Dwike Mitchell. The duo shared the stage with such jazz icons as Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and Sarah Vaughan and is credited with bringing jazz to new audiences around the world, most notably in the Soviet Union in 1959 and China in 1989.

“Among the many things I find fascinating is Willie speaks seven languages,” Clair says. “And he brought the jazz greats of our time to New Haven over the past 30 years. Through the Duke Ellington Fellowship [that he established], he not only introduced them to New Haven audiences, but took them into New Haven Schools.” MORE

Published December 18, 2015
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[ in the press ]

Review: Matthew Welch Offers Ethereal Chamber Music at the Stone

welch_matt_webThe New York Times | By Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim

The music of Matthew Welch, who began a weeklong residency at the Stone on Tuesday, draws on a world of influences. His opening set, performed by the ensemble Cantata Profana, packed in references to Highland bagpipes, Balinese funerary rites, Minimalism, Borges, Beckett and Buddha. Yet much of the resulting chamber music is exquisitely ethereal, made up of delicate, transparent textures that hum with expressive tension. If Mr. Welch were a chef, he’d be the kind who pushes the boundaries of molecular gastronomy, transforming earthy ingredients into translucent beads of pure flavor.

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Published December 18, 2015
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[ adams center ]

More construction photos: Adams Center for Musical Arts

Construction continues on the new Adams Center for Musical Arts, with the addition now up to the first floor.

Interior studs, mechanical piping, and electrical conduit are being installed. Suspension for ceilings on the second floor (south side) are being installed from scaffolding. Temporary heating is in place for winter work.

NOV23 5770-web MORE

Published December 17, 2015
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[ yale opera ]

Yale Opera presents A Midsummer Night’s Dream in February 2016

Rune Bergmann, conductor

Rune Bergmann, conductor

The Yale School of Music presents Yale Opera‘s new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream this coming February 19–21. One of the most frequently performed operas today, Benjamin Britten’s atmospheric opera is adapted from Shakespeare’s revered play of the same title.

The production will be directed by Claudia Solti, making her Yale Opera debut. Known for her work in theatre and film as well as opera, Solti previously directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2011 with conductor Valery Gergiev.

Norwegian conductor Rune Bergmann will also make his Yale Opera debut. Currently music director of the Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra and the Fjord Cadenza Festival, Bergmann is considered “one of the most talented Scandinavian conductors” working today. MORE

Published December 17, 2015
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[ concerts ]

Pierre Réach performs Beethoven, Schumann, and Berlioz Jan. 20

reach-pierreThe Horowitz Piano Series at the Yale School of Music presents a recital by acclaimed pianist Pierre Réach on Wednesday, January 20 at 7:30 pm. This performance is Réach’s first return to Yale since his rendition of Bach’s Goldberg Variations captivated audiences in 2009.

The recital will open with one of Beethoven‘s Sonata No. 17 in D minor, Op. 31, No. 2, “The Tempest.” The sonata’s stormy nickname was given not by the composer but rather by violinist Anton Schindler, who claimed that the piece was inspired by Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

Next on the program is Schumann‘s Carnaval, Op. 9. The work comprises 21 short pieces representing masked figures at Carnival, the festival that precedes Lent. The 21 pieces are connected by four-note figures which Schumann uses as musical cryptograms to spell out several messages.

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Published December 16, 2015
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[ faculty ]

David Lang nominated for Golden Globe Award

David Lang, composer

David Lang, composer

This year’s Golden Globe nominations include a Yale School of Music faculty member: composer David Lang was nominated for his Simple Song No. 3 in the category of best original song.  The song, which was written as part of the score to the film “Youth,” is nominated among several trendy, chart-topping titles, including One Kind of Love, from Love and Mercy; See You Again, from Furious 7; and Writing’s on the Wall from Spectre. Lang wrote both the lyrics and the music to the song.

Youth, which stars Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel, is the story of a retired composer and conductor who, while on holiday with his best friend in the Swiss Alps, receives an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II to perform for Prince Philip’s birthday. The film has been described as exploring the eternal struggle of age and youth, the past and future, and life and death, as Caine and Keitel reflect on their lives.

The 2016 Golden Globe Awards will take place on January 10, 2016, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills.  The event will be broadcast live beginning at 5:00 pm PST / 8:00 pm EST. 

Published December 15, 2015
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