CalArts names Ravi Rajan president, the first Asian American to be named to the post

Los Angeles Times | By Carolina A. Miranda

Ravi Rajan '00MM

Ravi S. Rajan ’00MM

Ravi S. Rajan, the dean of the School of the Arts at Purchase College, State University of New York, was named president of the California Institute of the Arts on Tuesday following a unanimous board vote.

Rajan, a musician, teacher and administrator who has also worked in computer animation, will be CalArts’ fourth president — and its first Asian American head.

Rajan says he is excited to take the helm at a school that has long harbored a confluence of ideas and an institutional ethos of experimentation.

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Published December 15, 2016
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Christopher Theofanidis receives Grammy nomination

Christopher Theofanidis

Christopher Theofanidis

Yale School of Music faculty composer Christopher Theofanidis’ Bassoon Concerto has been nominated for a 2017 Grammy Award in the Best Contemporary Classical Composition category. The piece was recorded by bassoonist Martin Kuuskmann ’02MM and the Northwest Sinfonia, under the direction of Barry Jekowsky.

“Anything like this, which has a visibility beyond the immediate circle of concert music, that’s a really good thing for the field,” Theofanidis ’94MMA ’97DMA said. “It’s kind of like the thing that both your musical and nonmusical friends know.”

Talking about his Bassoon Concerto, Theofanidis said, “It’s a piece that I wrote 20 years ago that had never had a recording until now.” Kuuskmann, whom he’s known since their time at Yale, “really championed the piece.” MORE

Published December 7, 2016
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Creativity for Music Entrepreneurs Part I: 5 Steps to Find Your Cause in the World of Classical Music

Astrid Baumgardner

By Astrid Baumgardner 

This semester, 16 students in my Innovation and Collaboration class at the Yale School of Music are tackling the issue of the sustainability of classical music in the 21st century, in order to get closer to the Ideal World of Classical Music. These students are not just superb musicians but they also aspire to be cultural leaders who want to make a difference. Using the creative problem-solving process and design thinking, students will be working in small collaborative project groups to generate and experiment with innovative solutions to some of the most pressing problems facing our field.

How does one decide which problem to tackle? MORE

Published December 2, 2016
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Andrew Norman ’09AD Wins the Grawemeyer Award for Music

Andrew Norman

Andrew Norman

NPR | Tom Huizenga

A rambunctious 45-minute orchestral piece called Play, by American composer Andrew Norman, has been named the winner of the 2017 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition. The prize, which includes $100,000, was announced this evening by the University of Louisville, which sponsors the award. Former winners include Pierre Boulez, John Adams, Kaija Saariaho and Thomas Adès.

Norman, 37, wrote Play for the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, an ensemble led by Gil Rose, which premiered the work in 2013 and released a critically acclaimed recording last year. The work has had subsequent performances by three other orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic in October. In 2012, the young composer’s string trio The Companion Guide to Rome was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Grawemeyer Award Director Marc Satterwhite, who is also a composer, praised Playin a media statement for its brilliant orchestration, calling it “wildly inventive and idiomatic.” In an age of shortened attention spans, he noted how well the piece, divided into three “levels,” held the listener’s interest. “It ranges effortlessly from brash to intimate, and all points in between,” Satterwhite said. …

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Published November 30, 2016
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YSM alums wrap up 2016 with career accomplishments

Michael Zuber

As 2016 comes to a close, the Yale School of Music is celebrating the recent accomplishments of several graduates. 

Three YSM alumni have recently won orchestral appointments. Michael Zuber ’14MM, a bassoonist who studied at YSM with Frank Morelli, has been appointed principal bassoonist of the Cape Symphony in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Zuber is also an alumnus of The Academy, a two-year program organized by  Carnegie Hall, the Juilliard School, and the Weill Music Institute, in partnership with the New York City Department of Education.

wynton-jeanine

Jeanine Wynton

Jeanine Wynton ’03MM has joined the North Carolina Symphony as a section violinist. Wynton previously held the positions of assistant concertmaster of the Richmond Symphony in Virginia and section violinist with the Florida Orchestra. During the summers, she performs with the Grant Park Orchestra in Chicago. Wynton was the first American woman to design educational-outreach concerts for a Russian Orchestra. For three months, she performed and conceived educational concerts with the principal players of the Moscow Symphony Orchestra. While in Moscow, she performed concerts with both the Moscow Symphony Orchestra and the Russian National Orchestra MORE

Published November 28, 2016
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YSM students receive grant from Yale Entrepreneurial Institute’s Venture Creation Program

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Left to right: Igor Lichtmann, Jiwon Sun, Lydia Consilvio, Chris Garwood, and Felice Doynov

A group of five Yale School of Music students have received a grant from the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute’s Venture Creation Program to create a Practice Portal designed to foster dialogue about effective approaches to practicing. The grant includes a $1,000 cash investment and enrollment in YEI’s five-week series of lean-startup workshops. Grantees are also connected with YEI’s network of mentors and a dedicated student Venture Creation Advisor from the Yale School of Management.

The YSM students — oboist Lydia Consilvio ’17MM, flutist Felice Doynov ’17MM, guitarists Chris Garwood ’17MM and Igor Lichtmann ’18MM, and violinist Jiwon Sun ’17MM — developed their project idea after having related discussions during a course taught by YSM’s coordinator of career strategies, Astrid Baumgardner.

“A huge part of our daily life consists of practicing, three to eight hours a day for most people,” Doynov said. “And if we’re not practicing as effectively as possible, we’re not getting better as quickly as possible. What we want to do is use modern technology and the resources we have at Yale to bring musicians valuable information in an online community that focuses on practicing.”

Doynov and her colleagues are in the process of launching a website and have been uploading content to Practice Portal Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. Doynov said they hope to launch a Practice Portal app, as well.

“The Venture Creation Program,” according to the YEI website, “was created to catalyze and support the growth of new, early-stage ventures at Yale. It is dedicated to providing resources for entrepreneurial teams to commercialize promising, unique products or services.”

Kassie Tucker, YEI’s program director, said the students who conceived Practice Portal are “trying to be innovative in a not-always-innovative space” and are trying to improve on an area that’s a “pain point” for many musicians.

YALE ENTREPRENEURIAL INSTITUTE

Published November 18, 2016
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Jiyeon “Jiji” Kim, Samuel Suggs take top honors at Concert Artists Guild competition

Jiyeon "Jiji" Kim and Samuel Suggs

Jiyeon “Jiji” Kim and Samuel Suggs

Guitarist Jiyeon “Jiji” Kim ’17MM has won the Victor and Sono Elmaleh First Prize at the Concert Artists Guild’s 2016 Victor Elmaleh Competition and double bassist Samuel Suggs ’14MM ’20DMA has been named the organization’s New Music/New Places Fellow. Each will receive a management contract from the Concert Artists Guild and will be presented in recital in New York City. Kim also earned a $5,000 cash award.

The final round of the competition took place on October 27 at Merkin Concert Hall at the Kaufman Music Center in New York City and was judged by an eight-person jury.

Steven Shaiman, the Concert Artists Guild’s senior vice president and director of artist management, said Kim’s “musical skill and talent combined with [her] overall stage presence and persona as an artist who has real potential for a career” factored into her success at the competition.

“Sam also stood out as a unique artist worthy of having the opportunity to develop what he’s doing,” Shaiman said. The Concert Artists Guild’s New Music/New Places program, Shaiman said, was devised a little more than 10 years ago to help develop artists’ unique visions and to bring those visions into “non-traditional venues” such as bars, clubs, cabarets, and art galleries.

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Published November 2, 2016
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Ethan Braun receives commission from New York Youth Symphony

braun-ethanEthan Braun, who is pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Yale School of Music, is one of seven emerging composers, all under the age of 30, to receive a commission from the New York Youth Symphony through the organization’s First Music program. His work will be performed by the ensemble in March at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium.

According to the New York Youth Symphony website, the organization’s “young composer competition … has been acknowledged widely as one of the leading forces in the United States for bringing the work of gifted young composers to the public’s attention.”

YSM alums Nicholas DiBerardino ’15MM and Natalie Dietterich ’16MM were awarded honorable mentions. Dietterich is currently pursuing a Master of Musical Arts degree at the Yale School of Music. 

Braun has written music for the Albany Symphony Orchestra, Shanghai Symphony, the Asko|Schönberg Ensemble, the Ictus Ensemble, the Yale Percussion Group, and Ensemble Synaestesis, among others. He has released two EPs of electroacoustic music on the experimental music label Khalija Records and has performed with the free-improvisation group Out of Your Head.

After studying at California State University, Northridge, Braun received a Bachelor of Arts degree in composition from UCLA, a Master of Music degree from the Peabody Conservatory, and a master’s degree from the Royal Conservatorium of The Hague. Braun is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in composition at the Yale School of Music. He actively promotes the work of his colleagues as event director for the Permutations concert series in New York City.

ETHAN BRAUN

Published October 29, 2016
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[ students & alumni ]

Guitarist Rupert Boyd ’08AD releases new album

Rupert Boyd

Rupert Boyd

Classical guitarist Rupert Boyd ’08AD has released a new solo CD, Fantasías, on the Little Mystery Records label. The album was first released in Boyd’s native Australia and was released in the United States in June.

Guitar Salon International uploaded three videos featuring tracks from the recording, including Astor Piazzolla’s Otono Porteno, the album’s opening track.

Boyd’s playing has received overwhelmingly positive reviews both in the United States and in Australia. In the words of The Canberra Times, “Boyd handles shifts in style and period with aplomb … this whole disc is a high-quality achievement by one of Canberra’s impressive talents.” The guitar review site Minor 7th also heaped praise on the album, writing that “the recording took place in an English church and one can almost see the smile of satisfaction and approval on God’s face as if in validation of Boyd’s flawless technique and expressive interpretation. Fantasías is a ‘must hear’ experience for the avid classical guitar audience …  You won’t be disappointed.” MORE

Published October 21, 2016
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Zhenni Li ’14AD wins second prize at Edvard Grieg International Piano Competition

zhenni-li

Zhenni Li performs during the International Edvard Grieg Piano Competition

Pianist Zhenni Li ’14AD recently won Second Prize and took home the Orchestra’s Prize and a cash award at the 2016 Edvard Grieg International Piano Competition, in Bergen, Norway. The Orchestra’s Prize is awarded by members of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, with which Li performed Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4, Op. 58, during the final round of the competition in September.

The biennial competition, now in its 15th year, requires participants to perform solo and chamber music by Edvard Grieg and other composers, offering the ascendant pianists an opportunity to perform Grieg’s works in his hometown.

“It turned out to be the most wonderful experience one can imagine,” Li said of performing two of Grieg’s songs in the semifinal round of the competition. “The first few rounds were held next to his house and facing his hut, where he composed. Very inspiring.”

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Published October 18, 2016
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