Inside YSM: Noah Kay ’18MM, oboe

Noah Kay

Oboist Noah Kay ’18MM recently talked with us about being drawn to YSM and Prof. Stephen Taylor’s studio by his experiences at the Yale Summer School of Music / Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and about his time, so far, here at Yale. Here’s what Noah had to say.

“Attending Norfolk in the summer of 2014 definitely fueled my interest in Yale and what it has to offer. Having the opportunity to work in close quarters with such great faculty and students in such a great environment was really beneficial, and it opened my eyes to how enriching an experience playing chamber music can be. Prof. Taylor’s attitude toward music is something that really attracted me to his studio. Having spent a semester here, I can say that I really value the fact that he approaches everything with humor. The oboe can be a tremendously stressful instrument (mostly because of our reed-making plight), and he has taught me how to stay upbeat and positive even when things are not going as smoothly as I’d like. Lessons with him are all about diving deep into the music and figuring out how to polish an interpretation even further, and my mental process when practicing or learning a piece has taken on much more refinement as a result. MORE

Published March 24, 2017
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Inside YSM: Matthew Keown, percussion

Matthew Keown, percussion

We asked percussionist and current DMA candidate Matthew Keown ’16MM to share his thoughts about the new Adams Center for Musical Arts.

“As a percussionist at YSM, I am lucky enough to have my studio located in the heart of the new building,” he said. “The door to our foyer leads directly to the new student lounge, our beloved watering (coffee) hole. The quality of a practice space affects musicians more than one might imagine. The natural light let in through large windows in our practice rooms energizes the musician and helps foster a greater sense of focus. The sound of our new rooms varies with the shape of the space to provide diverse, quality sonic experiences.”

The new spaces also serve the logistical needs of the YSM percussion studio.

“As percussionists,” Matt said, “we are constantly moving equipment from one space to another, and the generosity with which the new building was designed, in respect to this need, is greatly appreciated. Each door in our percussion suite was specially designed to comfortably fit five-octave marimbas and 32” timpani. The percussionist’s favorite part of the new building, though, is the elevator. On any given day in the old Hendrie Hall, I am told, you could spot percussionists carrying timpani upstairs. I think I speak for all current and future percussionists (sorry those of past generations) when I say thank you for this convenience!”

Matt’s performance of YSM faculty composer David Lang’s “the anvil chorus” was recently featured in a video of the Adams Center’s name being carved into the face of the new complex.

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Published March 24, 2017
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Inside YSM: Wil Wortley ’18MM, trombone

Wil Wortley ’18MM

Meet YSM student Wil Wortley ’18MM, who recently talked with us about switching his focus from euphonium to trombone.

“I’ve kind of had it in my head to focus more on trombone (as opposed to euphonium) since later in high school, because a teacher of mine kept pushing me to do so,” Wil explained. “The two instruments are similar enough that with a little individual practice I was able to play in the trombone choir at Eastman, where I did my undergrad. Eventually, I began taking secondary lessons beginning my junior year as I considered playing trombone more seriously. As grad school approached, I made the transition for a simple reason: There are more job opportunities on trombone than euphonium, although that isn’t saying much. The actual switch has been easy in some ways and difficult in others. The obvious difficulty is the difference in the technique mechanism. Moving a big ole piece of metal back and forth while trying to hit the right spot at the right time is exactly as hard as you’d think it would be. Luckily, the sound production is similar, which allowed me to very easily become an OK trombone player. It’s been much harder to learn some of the subtle differences between the horns, because, in a way, the similarities actually mask some of the differences. My professor here at Yale, Scott Hartman, has been tremendously helpful. We don’t really focus on the fact that I used to play euphonium, which is great. He always looks at what we’re working on from a musical perspective while managing to think about the technique required in a very logical and consistent way. The trick to balancing or integrating those two aspects of music-making is something I aspire to learn.”

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Published March 24, 2017
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Inside YSM: Dana Kelley, Argus Quartet

Dana Kelley, viola

We recently asked new Argus Quartet violist Dana Kelley about her experience joining a quartet whose other three members have been playing together for three and a half years.

“The process of joining a pre-existing quartet has been both exciting and challenging,” she said. “On one hand, it’s great to jump into a group that is already in motion. The other three members, Jason, Clara, and Joann, know each other very well and understand each other’s musical tendencies and preferences. They’ve also had the opportunity to experiment with rehearsal techniques and develop a group sound, as well as create an image and goals for the quartet. Being able to become a part of Argus after much of the groundwork has been laid has been a privilege for me. 

“On the other hand,” Dana said, “I am now adding my own personal and musical quirks to the equation. I only met the other three members recently, so we are learning not only how to play music together, but also how to communicate and get along with one another. Fortunately, I felt immediately welcome upon joining Argus. They’ve even tolerated my offbeat humor so far! Every rehearsal and performance has been a chance for us to learn more about and understand one another. String quartet playing is so much about the unspoken bonds and the development of trust between the musicians; the more time we spend together, the stronger these bonds will become.”

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Published March 24, 2017
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Inside YSM: Vyacheslav Gryaznov ’18AD, piano

Vyacheslav Gryaznov ’18 AD

On Friday, February 24, 2017, pianist Vyacheslav Gryaznov ’18AD performed Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 1 with conducting fellow David Yi and the Yale Philharmonia. Asked about his approach to playing Shostakovich’s music, Slava said, “I love music by Shostakovich — his symphonies, ‘Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk,’ his ballets, chamber music, experimental opuses like the ‘Aphorisms’ … A lot of his pieces contain not only powerful feelings but also encrypted messages. It was the only possible way to express what he really thought. He lived in a Soviet era when a lot of people felt imprisoned, both in a moral and often in the real physical sense. Shostakovich was under a pressure which we cannot imagine. It is often understood as a restriction on his artistic freedom. But in fact this pressure, among other factors, created his unique musical individuality: this combination of being wildly against the system with a lot of extremes, but with such a huge humanity, real passion, and tenderness at the same time.”

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Published March 24, 2017
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Inside YSM: David Yi, conductor

David Yi

On Friday, February 24, 2017, YSM conducting fellow David Yi led the Yale Philharmonia and student pianist Vyacheslav Gryaznov in a performance of Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Ravel’s “Le tombeau de Couperin,” and Brahms’ Symphony No. 3.

Asked when he became interested in conducting, David said, “I first started with the piano and then played the violin. For some reason, I always wanted to become a conductor, ever since I was a child. I always loved playing in the orchestra as a violinist/pianist. There is something great about making music with a large group of people. As a conductor, nothing is more satisfying than the moment when I realize that we are making music together.” 

In addition to his studies with Yale Philharmonia principal conductor Peter Oundjian, David’s approach to leading an orchestra has been shaped by several other notable conductors.

“Hugh Wolff at the New England Conservatory had a huge influence on my approach to score study,” David said. “Nicolás Pasquet at the Franz Liszt Conservatory in Germany helped with physical conducting. I had an opportunity to study with Riccardo Muti. He emphasized the importance of showing drama through music.”

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Published March 24, 2017
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Inside YSM: Krists Auznieks, composer

Krists Auznieks

Meet composer and DMA candidate Krists Auznieks ’16MM, who spoke to us recently about what drew him to the Yale School of Music.

“I wanted to study at YSM firstly because of the faculty,” he said. “I highly value their diversity, and the prospect of being able to study with all of them was one of my main motivations. The relatively small size of the composition department means that it really is a community. We know one another’s music and we get to hear it at various points in its development. It is absolutely fascinating to see your peers grow and develop. It teaches one not only about musical development within a single piece of music, it reveals larger patterns behind the path of a young composer. It helps to see how regardless of the variety of aesthetic camps present on a single campus there are fundamental commonalties that our paths share, both humanly and musically. The composition department is a miracle within a miracle. The sheer talent that I am surrounded by is truly humbling. We see one another in the composition seminar every Thursday but you read about all of them in The New York Times or see them on TV over the weekend. That’s how high Yale composers’ presence is in the ‘real world.’ This is not an isolated department. Rather, it is constantly engaged with the world, with other spheres of human activity, with other arts and artists.”

Auznieks has also tapped into the vast resources the wider University has to offer.

“My opera ‘NeoArctic,’ which was premiered couple of months ago at the Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen, talks about the Anthropocene and climate change, and I would not have been able to go into such depth if I did not have the resources that Yale could provide: countless talks given on the campus on the topic, availability of the specialists in the field — these were the resources that allowed me to attain the depth of knowledge that was necessary for the production of such a complex work,” Auznieks said. “Another work that grew directly out of my studies at Yale is the project that I am currently doing with the Contemporaneous ensemble in New York. It involves texts from philosophy and East Asian religions that tackle concepts of the self and nothingness and these ideas grew directly out of the corresponding courses that I took at Yale.”

Auznieks’ “Light Stills” will be performed on an April 13 New Music New Haven concert featuring music by YSM faculty composer David Lang and graduate-student composers.

(Photo by Girts Ragelis)

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Published March 24, 2017
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Inside YSM: Ashley Hale ’18MM, trumpet

Ashley Hale ’18MM

Meet YSM student trumpeter Ashley Hale ’18MM, who recently spoke with us about how she came to choose the Yale School of Music.

“I must admit, I wasn’t sure I even wanted to attend grad school,” Ashley said. “I was so ready to be done with classes and stuff that I hadn’t thought of it. There I was at the beginning of my last year of undergrad and I did not have any plans. I decided to audition for schools and see what happened. I was asking around for recommendations of schools because I had not done much research. I applied to YSM on the recommendation of my teacher at the time, Roy Poper. Once I got here, I was pleasantly surprised with how little it feels like school. I’m only taking two classes but I am involved with many outside-of-class activities. I go to class in the morning then teach in the New Haven Public Schools as a Yale Teaching Artist, get to make music with my brass quintet, and sometimes rehearse with the Yale Philharmonia. I am loving my life here at YSM and am so glad I decided to apply!”

Ashley talked specifically about studying with YSM faculty trumpeter Allan Dean.

“Studying with Mr. Allan Dean has been great!” she said. “He has such a strong concept of phrasing with everything he does. I am always amazed with his reasoning for each musical idea he has. Phrasing is definitely something I need to think more about and I’m looking forward to learning much more from him.”

Of taking advantage of all that the School, the University, and the city have to offer, Ashley said, “The campus is so pretty and I’m really enjoying New Haven. It is great to be able to study in a cute place as well as a brand new building. I have not taken any classes within the University yet, but I might look at some language classes later, if possible. I love being able to utilize the libraries and immense resources on campus. There are so many places within the School of Music that I love. I like to spend time in the recording studio (CSMT) working on different projects, as well as the music-composition lab in Leigh Hall.”

#insideYSM

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Published March 24, 2017
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