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Paul Hawkshaw to retire as Director of Norfolk Chamber Music Festival

Melvin Chen will succeed Hawkshaw at the helm of the summer festival in northwest Connecticut
January 15, 2016
Music Shed at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival

Music Shed at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival

Robert Blocker, Dean of the Yale School of Music, announced today that the School of Music and the Yale Summer School of Music/Norfolk Chamber Music Festival will have a major leadership transition in 2016. Paul Hawkshaw, who has served as the festival’s director since 2004, will retire after the 2016 season. Melvin Chen, Deputy Dean of the Yale School of Music, has been appointed as Hawkshaw’s successor.

Under Hawkshaw’s leadership, the program has flourished. Audiences perennially flock to the bucolic setting, with ticket sales continuing to grow even while other classical music organizations around the world suffer from declining attendance. Ambitious restoration projects are ensuring that Norfolk’s buildings will endure: Whitehouse has been restored to its former beauty after its recovery from devastating water damage, and the first phase of the Music Shed restoration has provided a new roof, siding, and a beautifully reconstructed cupola atop the 1906 acoustic gem.

“Paul Hawkshaw has been a transformative and visionary leader for the Norfolk program,” noted Dean Blocker. “Perhaps even most significant is the warmth with which Hawkshaw has established close relationships between the festival and the surrounding community.” The Hartford Courant has hailed the “unity between the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival and the town where the Yale program is located.… these days there’s plenty of outreach by the Yale Summer School of Music and the Yale Summer School of Art on the estate.” In that same article, Hawkshaw noted the “symbiotic relationship” between the festival and the town.

music-schools12“Norfolk — with its music, its history, its wonderful people, and its beautiful setting — is truly a cultural treasure,” Hawkshaw said. With characteristic modesty he added, “It has been an honor to be a small part of it, and I look forward to visiting for many years to come.”

Melvin Chen first became acquainted with Norfolk as a member of the piano faculty in the early 2000s. Since returning to the Yale School of Music, he has also performed and taught at the festival for the past three summers. He brings strong credentials as a performer, educator, and administrator, and prior to Yale, he served a similar dual role as associate director and piano faculty at the Bard College Conservatory of Music.

“The Norfolk Chamber Music Festival is a magical place that has inspired and nurtured generations of musicians,” Chen said. “Paul Hawkshaw’s tireless efforts have brought both the facilities and the musical program to new levels. I will do my utmost to build on Paul’s work and to ensure that the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival continues to be a special place for musicians and audiences alike.”

hawkshawAbout Paul Hawkshaw

Paul Hawkshaw is Professor in the Practice of Music History and Director of the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. An authority on the music of Anton Bruckner, he has edited seven volumes of the composer’s Collected Works (Vienna) which are performed by major orchestras and choruses throughout the world. His articles have appeared in the Musical Quarterly, Nineteenth-Century Music, and the Oesterreichische Musikzeitschrift, and he wrote the Bruckner Biography for Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians. In 1996 he was awarded the special honor of an invitation from the Austrian National Library, Vienna, to give the commemorative address celebrating the centenary of the composer’s death.

Since coming to Yale in 1984, Professor Hawkshaw has taken an active interest in community affairs and public education in New Haven. He was co-founder of a program involving Yale music faculty and students in the curriculum at the local Co-operative High School for the Arts. In 1998 the program was recognized by Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley as a model of how music plays an integral role in improving overall education standards. Dr. Hawkshaw has also helped organize and participated in a number of teacher training initiatives for New Haven Public School teachers on the Yale campus. He worked with the local Board of Education and the Yale University Class of ’57 to establish an experimental music and literacy program at the Lincoln Bassett School, an elementary inner city public school in New Haven, Connecticut. In May 2007 the Class announced the establishment of an endowment of $6 million at the Yale School of Music to support music education and public school music education. Professor Hawkshaw has been publicly recognized for his contribution to the New Haven Schools by an official proclamation of then-Mayor John DeStefano and, in the spring of 2000, he was awarded the Yale School of Music’s highest honor, the Sanford Medal, for his scholarship and community service.

Born in Toronto, Canada, Professor Hawkshaw received his Ph.D. in Musicology from Columbia University in 1984. He is a member of the Editorial Boards of both the new Bruckner Edition published by the International Bruckner Society, and Wiener Bruckner Studien, published under the auspices of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. In the spring of 2011 he was awarded the Kilenyi Medal of Honor by the American Bruckner Society. Past recipients have included Karl Bohm, Bernhard Haitink, Paul Hindemith, Serge Koussevitzky, Robert Simpson, Georg Solti, Georg Tintner, Arturo Toscanini and Bruno Walter. Dr. Hawkshaw has been Director of the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival since 2004.

Melvin Chen

Melvin Chen

About Melvin Chen

A native of Tennessee, pianist Melvin Chen has received acclaim for performances throughout the United States and abroad. As a soloist and chamber musician Mr. Chen has performed at major venues in the United States, including Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, Weill Recital Hall, Kennedy Center, and Boston’s Jordan Hall, in addition to other appearances throughout the United States, Canada, and Asia.

Mr. Chen’s performances have been featured on radio and television stations around the globe, including KBS television and radio in Korea, NHK television in Japan, and NPR in the United States. Solo recordings include Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations on the Bridge label, praised as “a classic” by the American Record Guide, and a recording of Joan Tower’s piano music on the Naxos label. Recordings of the Shostakovich piano sonatas and Gordon’s Orpheus and Euridice were released in 2007.

An enthusiastic chamber musician, Mr. Chen has collaborated with such artists as Ida Kavafian, David Shifrin, Pamela Frank, Peter Wiley, and with the Shanghai, Tokyo, Miami, Penderecki, and Miró quartets. A performer in numerous music festivals, he has performed at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Bard Music Festival, and Music from Angel Fire, among others.

Melvin Chen completed a doctorate in chemistry from Harvard University, and also holds a double master’s degree from The Juilliard School in piano and violin. Previously, he attended Yale University, receiving a bachelor of science degree in chemistry and physics, where he also studied with Boris Berman, Paul Kantor, and Ida Kavafian. Mr. Chen was previously on the piano faculty of the Bard College Conservatory of Music, where he was also associate director. In 2012 he rejoined the faculty of the Yale School of Music, where he serves as Associate Professor (Adjunct) of Piano and Deputy Dean.

COMMENTS ( 3 )

This is wonderful news! Congratulations!

January 26th, 2016 | Orlay Alonso

[…] Melvin Chen has been named as the next director of the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival for summer 2017, following the retirement of current director Paul Hawkshaw.  Read more here. […]

Paul, if this message reaches you, congratulations on your many accomplishments. Embarrassingly, I contributed poorly to trombone harmony in our grade 8 music class all those years ago at Neil McNeil. Even then, you were accomplished, kind-hearted and a gentleman…..a cut above the rest of us. I may have told you, when we last met, that I was assigned the trombone, not the saxophone, during a brief interview.

Our teacher invited me to sit beside him at the piano, hit middle c, and asked, “High or low?, to which I responded, “Relative to what?” “Trombone”, he said, and that’s how I came to play those wonderfully sour notes several seats east of you at the rear of the band room.

As an aside, I had played the piano before attending Neil.

Regards, as always, Paul

Michael

December 6th, 2016 | Michael Labow