Dean Robert Blocker announces the 2011 alumniVentures awards. In thanking the alumni committee that recommended the recipients, the Dean acknowledges their work and the identification of outstanding projects that truly advance the cause of music. Vincent Oneppo MM ’73, Chair of the alumniVentures selection committee, joins the Dean in thanking the committee members for their service to the Yale School of Music and its alumni. The committee members this year are Robert D’Angelo MM '77, Jeff Fuller MM '69, Cayenne Harris MM '00, Sharon Wei AD '06, and Kyung Yu MM ’87.
Laura Usiskin, MMA’09
Montgomery Music Project | Montgomery Music Project (MMP) brings affordable, high quality string instruction and music development to children in Montgomery, Alabama, and the River Region and forges strong community ties by bringing together diverse geographic, ethnic, and socio-economic communities under the umbrella of the arts. MMP sends first-rate teachers to elementary schools and offers on-site music instruction on the violin, viola, and cello. The students from the three participating schools, which represent vastly different demographics, meet weekly for further instruction and receive an instrument and necessary supplies as part of the program.
Robert Gupta, MM ’07
Street Symphony | Street Symphony is an ensemble of professional musicians dedicated to delivering the tremendous therapeutic power of live performance and music workshops to the most underserved and disenfranchised communities in Southern California: the homeless and mentally ill living on skid row, the incarcerated, and injured/homeless veterans. In 2012, the Street Symphony will perform fifteen free, hour-long chamber music concerts in association with several organizations that have partnered with their mission to raise awareness for homelessness, mental illness, and incarcerated communities within the greater Los Angeles area.
Nora Lewis, MM ’01
Wind Instruments for Haiti | This project will provide good quality intermediate-level wind instruments for students at L’Orchestre Obed Lominy at L’École Musique Dessaix-Baptiste, in Jacmel, Haiti. Many instruments were damaged or destroyed by the January 2010 earthquake. For Haitian musicians and the broader community, music is the currency of hope and in Jacmel, the community is inspired by music performances. Concerts given by the school draw enthusiastic audiences who emotionally connect with the music and fill the 300-seat auditorium beyond capacity. While several campaigns for string instruments have been successful, wind instruments are greatly needed by these passionate and dedicated young musicians.
David Sims, MMA ’87
Listening Adventures | Listening Adventures is an educational series illuminating western classical music and its influence in society in imaginative, non-traditional ways for seniors and members of other low- and fixed-income groups. The program takes a topical approach to appreciating the incredible diversity that classical music encompasses. While there are admirable projects for underprivileged youth and similar groups, there are few resources for people at the other end of life's journey who have proven to be remarkably insightful and appreciative of the intellectual challenges and emotional rewards that programs like this provide. The funding will underwrite free presentations throughout Connecticut and support the creation of resources supporting the program's learning goals.
David Skidmore, MM '07
Third Coast Percussion/Make Music Chicago | A new partnership between the Chicago Park District, Make Music Chicago, and Third Coast Percussion. A three-month residency will involve the planning, composition, and rehearsal of a new collaborative work for the professional percussion ensemble Third Coast Percussion and the Chicago Park District’s volunteer Davis Square Park Community Band that will be premiered by the two groups on Make Music Chicago in June 2012, presented by Rush Hour Concerts.
James Austin Smith MM ’08 and Paul Murphy MM '06
Podcasts by The Declassified | Paul Murphy and James Austin Smith, are YSM alumni members of The Declassified, the newly incorporated group of alumni from the Carnegie Hall Academy/Ensemble ACJW. The funding will help launch a series of hosted, performance-based podcasts with the goal of creating, with an innovative new medium, new audiences by “declassifying” classical music. The monthly, hour-long podcasts will give the listener a layperson’s window into the process of making music.
Daniel Trahey, MM '02
"Manos Biancos" - The White Hands Chorus | The OrchKids White Hands Chorus of Baltimore will be established in the fall of 2012 with the idea of integrating students with disabilities into society through music. The chorus will be made up of primarily hearing impaired and deaf students between the ages of four and eighteen and will congregate 2-5 times per week after school and participate in performances at least once per month. Most of the children have hearing impairments and will wear white or colored gloves depending on the mood of the piece being performed and will learn a very ornate form of sign language used to interpret pieces of music. They will take part in pre-existing choruses and orchestras developed by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids program but will learn their own repertoire and also learn pieces that other choirs are performing.
Ariana Falk, AD ’05
Mentorship program at Mother Caroline Academy in Boston | The grant will support residencies for college-age musicians in a new intensive music program for youth at Mother Caroline Academy, an independent middle school for girls of limited financial means in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood. The mentorship program aims to foster meaningful relationships and enrich the students’ skills as musical entrepreneurs. The college-age mentors in the program will fill a pressing need for creativity and leadership in the youths’ lives and at the same time will be able to explore rich alternative paths in music, social change and service.
Kenneth Freed, MM ’87
Assisting English Language Learners in Mankato through music | Recently Mankato, Minnesota, has become the home of many new immigrants from Sudan and Somalia. This project is a collaboration between the Mankato Symphony Orchestra and the Mankato School District that uses music to find a solution to the achievement gap between native English speakers and English Language Learners at the elementary school level. The project assists students improve their literacy, mathematical, and social skills through learning, reading, and playing music during a 10-week extended school year program. It takes place at Franklin Elementary School, which has one of the highest proportions of ELL students in the district and routinely struggles to make adequate gains on standardized testing.
Robert Honstein, MMA ’10
Fast Forward Austin | Fast Forward Austin, which made its successful debut last year, is a contemporary music festival featuring eight hours of innovative new music. The festival will also partner with El Sistema Austin, a progressive music-education initiative. A portion of festival proceeds will go to El Sistema programs and the festival will feature performances by El Sistema students. The performers include national and international artists in addition to Texas-based artists. This year's headliner is Bang on a Can All Star pianist Vicky Chow, who will perform a solo set as well as collaborative works with Austin-based artists. Other confirmed artists include the Bel Cuore Saxophone quartet, Precipice New Music, the Baylor Percussion Ensemble, and Ellen Bartel, an Austin-based choreographer and performance artist.
Emily Boyer, MM ’06
Colleen (Potter) Thorburn, MMA ’09
New Music for Horn and Harp | The goal of the project is to commission, perform, and record five new compositions by emerging North American composers for the horn-and-harp duo Apple Orange Pair, a chamber music group founded in 2010. Performances will take place between January and June, 2012, and a full-length CD will be produced in July, 2012. The recording will prominently feature the newly commissioned pieces alongside other works already composed for the duo.
Roshanne Etezady ‘99MM
Suzanne Farrin ‘08DMA
Daniel Kellogg ‘03DMA
Caroline Mallonee ‘00MM
Carl Schimmel ‘99MM
Adam Silverman ‘04DMA
Orianna Webb ‘03MMA
Original Compositions Inspired by Young Children.
In recent years, each of these composers has become a parent, and they hope that the feelings that they have for their children will find artistic expression through this project. The compositions will be written during the summer of 2012, and the American Contemporary Music Ensemble will premiere and tour the new works during the 2012-2013 season. In the summer of 2013, the works will be recorded in New York by New Focus Recordings, a label which is dedicated to contemporary concert music.
Suzanne LeFevre, AD ’93
Mercury Baroque | Funding will support Houston-based Mercury Baroque's groundbreaking musical education collaboration with YES Prep Public Schools. The program provides 6th, 7th and 8th graders private lessons, chamber music coaching, orchestra classes and an opportunity to perform on-stage alongside their Mercury Baroque mentors at a world-class concert hall, the Wortham Center. YES Prep is a free, open-enrollment public school system that serves 4,200 students at eight campuses across Houston. The West campus provides focused education for students who choose to study music. Eighty-three percent of YES Prep West’s student body are classified as economically disadvantaged.
Mary Bowden, ’MM06
Chrysalis Chamber Players | The Chrysalis Chamber Players is a group formed by Mary Bowden, trumpet, and Meghan Brachle, flute. Their initiatives include outreach concerts and residencies in south Florida schools to assist music programs that have been reduced due to recent education budget cuts that have eliminated art and music teachers from their staffs. Chrysalis Chamber Players will showcase woodwind, brass, and stringed instruments at their concerts, followed by question-and-answer sessions, and will offer an instrument try-out day in the fall.
Samuel Woodhead, MM ’99
Washington Trombone Ensemble | The Washington Trombone Ensemble will partner with the Washington, D.C., school system to provide instruments for band programs and support these programs with instruction for young trombonists. Currently, the schools have no budget allowance for needed instrument repairs or new instruments. With the grant, new P-Bones (plastic trombines) will be purchased along with music, music stands, and other supplies. The ensemble will also conduct a five-day Trombone Camp, in which students will have a structured program of private lessons, master classes, and large ensemble rehearsals. The climax of this week of study will be a large ensemble performance.
Rogene Russell, MM ’73
Fine Arts Chamber Players Educational Programs
For thirty years, Fine Arts Chamber Players (FACP) has enriched Dallas, Texas, through eleven free concerts of classical music and over 500 free educational programs each year. The goals of FACP has been to make classical music available to all while transcending language, social, and economic barriers. Their programs include classical voice training, an after-school string program for impoverishd and foreign-born students, field trips to hear the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and presentations by the award-winning Dream Collectors Troupe. The grant will help make up for recent city and state budget cuts and a decline in corporate sponsorship that will make it difficult for FACP to continue offering free educational programs during the final ten weeks of this school year.
Michael Finegold, MM ’69
Anne Bradstreet’s 400th Birthday Concert | The year 2012 marks the 400th birthday celebration of Anne Dudley Bradstreet, America's first published poet. Bradstreet, along with her husband Simon of Andover-North Andover, was a founder of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. “Anne Bradstreet's 400th Birthday Concert: Celebration of Her Life and Poetry” will take place on September 30, 2012, at Rogers Center for the Performing Arts at Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts. It will feature the Essex Chamber Music Players, Cappella Clausura, Diagenesis Duo, North Andover High School Scarlet and Black Singers, and Poetry and Music with Susan Lenoe as Mistress Anne Bradstreet. The grant also supports pre-concert visits to public schools, colleges and local cable stations. Other events marking the birthday include a symposium September 29 at Merrimack College and a conference at Salem State University June 29-July 1.