Dean Robert Blocker Announces YSM Jazz Initiative

blockerI am pleased to announce that an anonymous gift will enable the School of Music to continue and expand its legacy of jazz studies at Yale. This initiative will also strengthen our collaborative efforts with the Yale College Dean’s Office and the Department of Music, as well as the New Haven community.

Professor Thomas C. Duffy has accepted the responsibility of administrative oversight for this initiative. As we announced in April, the Yale Jazz Ensemble, which had to be suspended two years ago due to a lack of qualified players and adequate rehearsal space, will be reconstituted this fall under Tom’s direction. The School of Music has provided modest support for the Yale Jazz Ensemble through the years, though it had until now been an extracurricular undergraduate organization. Going forward, the group will be open to all Yale students. Tom will announce auditions in the near future.

Other aspects of this initiative include an improvisation course that will be taught by Grammy Award-winning jazz saxophonist Wayne Escoffery. Undergraduate jazz combos will be auditioned and coached by professional jazz artists, including Mr. Escoffery. We are currently in conversations with some of these individuals and will announce their names when appointments are finalized. Additionally, distinguished saxophonist Carrie Koffman will teach private lessons in saxophone. These new colleagues will help us build on the School’s rich history of jazz education, which began nearly fifty years ago. MORE

Published July 29, 2016
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Jay Wadley composes score for Sundance hit “Indignation”

Jay Wadley

Jay Wadley

James Schamus’ film Indignation, which is based on Philip Roth’s 2008 novel of the same name, opens tomorrow in theaters across the United States. The film’s score was composed by Jay Wadley ’07MM ’08AD, who studied at the Yale School of Music with Martin Bresnick, Aaron Jay Kernis, and Ezra Laderman.

“He wanted something that was very classical,” Wadley said of Schamus’ direction, “and he knew that was my background.”

Reached by phone at his New York City-based composer collective/production company Found Objects, which he and fellow Yale School of Music alumnus Trevor Gureckis ’07MM started during graduate school in New Haven, Wadley said he first worked with Schamus when the latter directed “That Film About Money” and “The Second Part of That Film About Money,” two short documentaries released in 2014 as part of Morgan Spurlock’s We the Economy series. When they first met, Wadley said, he and Schamus talked about classical music and about Wadley’s experiences helping to orchestrate Rufus Wainwright’s opera Prima Donna and his song cycle All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu.

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Published July 28, 2016
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YSM guitarists launch record label, issue new releases

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Benjamin Verdery

In June, Elm City Records released new albums by Yale School of Music faculty member Benjamin Verdery and alumnus Solomon Silber ’14BA ’16MM. The record label was founded by the two guitarists as a platform for “giving the public so much more than a traditional CD,” Silber said. “That’s the new paradigm we’re trying to create.”

Four projects were released with the label’s launch: The Ben Verdery Guitar Project: On Vineyard Sound, which features music by Yale composers as well as a piece by Verdery himself; Silber’s latest release, Mano a Mano; a documentary film about Australian composer Nicole Murphy’s Stolen, a work written for Silber and chamber ensemble that was inspired by Richard James Allen’s poem A Scheme for Brightness; and a recording (with accompanying video) by Verdery’s students of Terry Riley’s Y Bolanzero. The label’s website also features audio clips, videos of Verdery and Silber performing music from their new albums, and extensive liner notes.

Two additional recordings by Silber, Diabolico and Waterfront Sessions, are also available through Elm City Records. MORE

Published July 27, 2016
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Stephanie Tubiolo awarded Music in Schools Initiative Fellowship

Stephanie Tubiolo | Photo by Kyle Picha

Stephanie Tubiolo | Photo by Kyle Picha

Stephanie Tubiolo ’14BA ’16MM has been named the first Postgraduate Teaching Artist Fellow at the Yale School of Music’s Music in Schools Initiative. The position was created through an endowment from Mr. and Mrs. Lester Morse ’51BA, whose generosity helped establish the Morse Summer Music Academy, which is part of the Initiative. Tubiolo, who studied choral conducting with Marguerite Brooks, Jeffrey Douma, and David Hill at Yale, will teach and serve as an administrator, working directly with the Initiative’s lead teacher, Rubén Rodríguez. Tubiolo worked as a teaching artist for the Music in Schools Initiative throughout her undergraduate and graduate studies and helped launch the Morse Chorale, the Academy’s first choral program.

“What I hope to bring to the program, particularly to the choral division, is a standard of vocal excellence and musical intelligence that brings these students to the level of a collegiate choir,” Tubiolo said. “By the time our singers graduate, I want to expose them to all choral genres, not just the standard school-choir repertoire. … Though students might feel alienated from the classical genre when they are first exposed to it, we find that they quickly embrace it and grow to love it. My goal is expand their choral horizons and to be certain that any singer who graduates from one of our choirs feels empowered to be a leader in their college choir and beyond.”

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Published July 26, 2016
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Christoph Campestrini appointed Kapellmeister of Vienna’s Hofkapelle

Christoph Campestrini

Christoph Campestrini

Yale School of Music alumnus Christoph Campestrini ’92MM has been appointed Kapellmeister at Vienna’s Hofkapelle, home of the Vienna Boys’ Choir. With the appointment, Campestrini joins the ranks of the historically important and influential musicians who have been members of the Hofkapelle. He will lead the famed Hofmusikkapelle, which includes the Vienna Boys’ Choir and members of the Vienna State Opera orchestra and chorus.

“Being aware of the 500-year tradition of this institution that included Joseph Haydn, Franz Schubert, and Anton Bruckner is a humbling experience and at the same time requires a commitment for the highest excellence,” he said. “In addition to my work in Europe, I also look forward to continuing to come to the United States and Canada several times every season and renewing cultural ties that go back to my time at the Yale School of Music, of which I have only the best memories.”

Campestrini has worked with such internationally acclaimed artists as Gidon Kremer, Julian Rachlin, Alisa Weilerstein, Lang Lang, and Julia Fischer and has led many of the world’s renowned orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, the radio orchestras of Moscow, Frankfurt, Budapest, and Vienna, and the national orchestras of Mexico and Taiwan, among others. He appears regularly as a guest conductor in the United States and Canada, having led the Philadelphia Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra (Ottawa), Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, and Orchestra Métropolitain in Montreal.

Born in Linz, Austria, Campestrini studied at The Juilliard School and the Yale School of Music.

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Published July 20, 2016
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Kensho Watanabe appointed assistant conductor of Philadelphia Orchestra

Kensho Watanabe

Kensho Watanabe

Kensho Watanabe ’09BS ’10MM has been appointed assistant conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, where he’ll serve under acclaimed Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Watanabe studied conducting with Otto-Werner Mueller at the Curtis Institute of Music, earning a Diploma in 2013. As the school’s first Rita E. Hauser Conducting Fellow, Watanabe was mentored for two years by Nézet-Séguin and had “incredible access” to the Philadelphia Orchestra, with which he’s worked as a substitute violinist. Watanabe has directed numerous Curtis Opera Theatre productions and served as an assistant to Nézet-Séguin for Opera de Montréal’s 2015 production of Elektra.

Watanabe studied molecular, cell, and developmental biology at Yale College, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in 2009. He earned his master’s degree in violin from the Yale School of Music, where he studied, as he had as an undergraduate, with Syoko Aki.

“Being at Yale really sparked my interest in conducting,” Watanabe said, citing Yale Symphony Orchestra Music Director Toshiyuki Shimada, whom he assisted as an undergraduate, as a particularly supportive figure.

The summer after completing his undergraduate degree, and in the summers of 2010 and 2011, Watanabe studied with Michael Jinbo at the Pierre Monteux School and Summer Music Festival, where his interest in conducting took hold and led him to Mueller’s studio at Curtis.

In addition to his work with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Watanabe’s upcoming schedule includes appearances with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, San Diego Symphony Orchestra, Alabama Symphony Orchestra, and Orchestra Métropolitain in Montreal.

Looking forward to his work in Philadelphia, Watanabe said, “I’ve really grown up with this orchestra. I’ve learned so much from this orchestra.”

Watanabe’s appointment begins with the 2016-2017 Philadelphia Orchestra season.

Published July 19, 2016
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An Tran ’16MM wins first prize at 2016 Hamilton International Guitar Competition

An Tran

An Tran

An Tran ’16MM won first prize at the 2016 Hamilton International Guitar Competition in Ontario, Canada, earning a cash prize, custom handmade guitar, and an appearance at the 2017 Hamilton Guitar Festival.

At age 12, Tran won the top prize at the Vietnam National Guitar Competition. He has since won the Lincoln Academy of Illinois’ Student Laureate Award and top prizes at the Society of American Musicians Guitar Competition, Evanston Music Club Competition, and Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra Young Artist International Competition, among others. In 2010, Tran earned the Best Overseas Student Award, which was presented by the vice president of Vietnam. In 2015, he was invited to perform Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez with the Hanoi Philharmonic Orchestra.

A native of Hanoi, Tran studied at the Vietnam National Academy of Music, and received his Bachelor of Arts in Music from North Park University in Chicago, where he studied with Julie Goldberg and Tom Zelle. In May 2016, Tran graduated with his Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music, where he studied with Benjamin Verdery. While at Yale, he also served as a Teaching Artist for YSM’s Music in Schools Initiative. Tran will begin pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Northwestern University in the fall.

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Published July 15, 2016
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Clarinetist Igal Levin joins Israel Netanya Kibbutz Orchestra

Igal Levin

Igal Levin

Igal Levin ’13MM has been appointed principal clarinetist of the Israel Netanya Kibbutz Orchestra by new music director and acclaimed trombonist Christian Lindberg. Levin previously served as principal clarinetist of the Israel Chamber Orchestra, Ashdod Symphony Orchestra, and Racine Symphony Orchestra in Wisconsin.

Levin has performed as a guest with numerous orchestras around the world including the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Shanghai Oriental Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Philharmonic, New Haven Symphony Orchestra, Moscow Virtuosi, Lübeck Philharmonic Orchestra, Lübeck Opera, Kiel Opera, Israel Philharmonic, Israel Symphony Orchestra, Israeli Opera, and Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. His appearances have taken him to such celebrated venues as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Berlin Philharmonie, Hong Kong Cultural Centre, and Carnegie Hall.

Levin studied with Yitzhak Catap at the Israeli Music Conservatory where he graduated with honors. He earned a General Artistic Training Diploma from the Musikhochschule Lübeck in Germany and a Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music and studied at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music. His teachers have included Sabine Meyer, David Shifrin, Reiner Wehle, Steve Cohen, and J. Lawrie Bloom.

Published July 13, 2016
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[ students & alumni ]

Robert Bennesh founds Festival of Sacred Arts in Sweden

Porträtt Robert Bennesh

Robert Bennesh

Robert Bennesh ’14MM ’15AD, director of music at the Church of Sweden in Skanör-Falsterbo, has founded the Festival of Sacred Arts, which will launch its first season on August 11. Located in Bennesh’s home parishes in Skanör-Falsterbo, the festival seeks to provide a space in which music of various genres, art, drama, poetry, and nature intersect. The four-day event features 13 concerts, eight lectures, and other performances and exhibitions.

The festival’s name is inspired by the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, where Bennesh did course work while he was a student at the Yale School of Music.

“The artistic idea of the festival is to inspire the visitor to seek for the sacred in different art forms, in conjunction to each other, and in relation to nature,” he said. “What one finds sacred is highly personal and we hope this will be the starting point for interesting discussions.”

Since his appointment to the Church of Sweden in the fall of 2015, Bennesh has been developing a unique music program at the two medieval churches of Skanör-Falsterbo. Through grants, he has raised approximately $80,000 to develop the festival, forming partnerships with the local and provincial governments as well as other parishes, the diocese, various businesses, and individuals. MORE

Published July 12, 2016
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Seolyeong Jeong takes third-prize at inaugural New York Piano Competition

JeongYale School of Music student Seolyeong Jeong MM ’17 collected two top prizes at the inaugural New York Piano Competition, winning the award for Best Performance of a 20th Century Composition, as well as third-prize overall in her age group. For the competition, 12 winners were selected from a pool of 30 candidates in two categories: ages 12-17 and 18-25.

The competition, organized by the New York Piano Festival and led by founder and artistic director Alexander Beridze, distributed more than $20,000 in awards and scholarships. Beridze spoke of the excitement surrounding the competition in a recent press-release, saying, “For us this has been the most amazing year to date. After seven years of running a festival we launched a Piano Competition … and right away received over 100 entries from all 14 different countries.” The jury for the competition was comprised of eight internationally renowned pianists, including Yale’s own Arthur Haas.

Seolyeong’s third-place result earned her a slot at this evening’s winner’s concert, presented in the famed Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, as well as a cash prize of $1,000. To get to this stage, Jeong had to pass through two rounds of competition, including a video round and a live round in New York. Each stage involved performing a demanding range of repertoire, including six separate works ranging from the Baroque to the 20th century. For the live round, Seolyeong performed Robert Schumann’s Piano Sonata No. 1 in F-sharp Minor, Op.11; Igor Stravinsky’s The Firebird Suite, arranged by Guido Agosti; and Tai-Bong Chung’s Sungnyemun.  MORE

Published July 1, 2016
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