In memoriam: Phyllis Curtin, soprano

Phyllis Curtin

Phyllis Curtin

Renowned American soprano Phyllis Curtin passed away on Sunday, June 5 at age 94. From 1974 to 1983, she taught voice at the Yale School of Music, overseeing the opera program. Curtin also served as Master (now Head of College) of Branford College from 1979 to 1983. Curtin was the first female Master of Branford College.

During her career on the stage in the 1950s and 60s, Curtin performed for the New York City Opera, as well as in many world-renowned opera houses such as the Metropolitan Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Vienna State Opera, Covent Garden, and La Scala. Her repertoire included Verdi’s Violetta and Alice Ford, Strauss’ Salome, as well as Mozart’s heroines, for which she received much praise. The New York Times recently asserted that, “Ms. Curtin was noted for the purity of her voice, the sensitivity of her musical phrasing and the crystalline perfection of her diction.” MORE

Published June 11, 2016
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In memoriam: Robert E. Nagel Jr., trumpet

New York Brass Quintet From left: John Swallow, Allan Dean, Paul Ingraham, Robert Nagel, Thompson "Toby" Hanks

New York Brass Quintet
From left: John Swallow, Allan Dean, Paul Ingraham, Robert Nagel, Thompson “Toby” Hanks

Trumpeter Robert E. Nagel Jr. passed away on Sunday, June 5 at the age of 91. He was a member of the Yale School of Music faculty from 1957 to 1988, and was named Professor Emeritus in 1988.

He is best known as the founder and director of the renowned New York Brass Quintet. In addition to paving the way for brass chamber music, Nagel was an active and highly respected performer as well as a prolific composer. In 1959, Nagel founded a publishing company, Mentor Music, in an effort to make brass music more available to the public. He leaves a legacy of numerous seminal recordings such as the 1961 recording of L’Histoire Du Soldat (conducted by Igor Stravinsky) and Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 (conducted by Pablo Casals).
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Published June 9, 2016
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Ransom Wilson appointed Music Director & Conductor of Redlands Symphony

ransom_wilson_cond-_1The Redlands Symphony announces the appointment of Yale School of Music faculty Ransom Wilson today as music director and conductor. Dave Maupin, chair of the Symphony Board of Directors, remarked on Mr. Wilson’s appointment with great enthusiasm: “We could not be happier to welcome Ransom to Redlands. We are absolutely confident that he will elevate our wonderful orchestra to even greater heights as he takes the podium and shapes our artistic programming for years to come.”

In his first season at the Symphony, Mr. Wilson will be featuring many works and artists new to the region, while continuing the traditions of the Symphony, such as its special relationship with the works of Mozart. The newly appointed conductor will lead the orchestra for the first time on October 8 in a concert featuring works by Czech composers; Smetana, Martinů, and Dvořák.

“I have been impressed and deeply moved by this community: a city full of people who care about each other, give freely of themselves, and take pride in their beautiful place,” said Mr. Wilson. “The Redlands Symphony has had a long and successful life in the loving hands of Maestro Jon Robertson, and it is a great honor for me to accept the baton from him.”

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Published June 4, 2016
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Frank Tirro speaks on his latest book in Albuquerque

With Trumpet and BibleFormer Yale School of Music Dean and Professor Emeritus, Frank Tirro, will give a talk on his most recently published book With Trumpet and Bible: The Illustrated Life of James Hembray Wilson (Pendragon Press, 2015) on Sunday, June 5. This event, hosted by Bookworks — a locally owned, independent bookstore in Albuquerque, NM — will include a book signing.

More About the Work

What was life like for an African American raised in the South in the 1880s? Were there paths to education and success for Black Americans facing the terrible prejudicial environment in the states that lost the War Between the States? And issues concerning the status of Black women surface, too. What kind of life and what possible hope might they have during the years before World War I to the years after the Second World War? Exploring these questions and illustrating one Black man’s life are but some of the many threads that Frank Tirro weaves into the fabric of his fascinating biography, With Trumpet and Bible.

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Published June 3, 2016
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David Lang receives two David di Donatello Awards

Lang-by-David-Serling-web

David Lang

Faculty member and alumnus David Lang ’83 MMA, ’89 DMA was recently recognized at Italy’s David di Donatello Awards, receiving accolades for Best Score and Best Original Song for his soundtrack to Paolo Sorrentino’s film, Youth.

Lang also received Oscar and Golden Globe nominations in the category of Best Original Song for “Simple Song No. 3” from the movie. The song, which was written as part of the score to the film “Youth,” was nominated among several trendy, chart-topping titles, including One Kind of Love, from Love and Mercy; See You Again, fromFurious 7; and Writing’s on the Wall from Spectre. Lang wrote both the lyrics and the music to the song.

Youth stars Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel, and is the story of a retired composer and conductor who, while on holiday with his best friend in the Swiss Alps, receives an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II to perform for Prince Philip’s birthday. The film has been described as exploring the eternal struggle of age and youth, the past and future, and life and death, as Caine and Keitel reflect on their lives.

Published April 30, 2016
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New endowment establishes Wendy Sharp ’82 BA Chamber Music Fellowship

Wendy Sharp

Wendy Sharp

The Yale School of Music is pleased to announce a new endowment to support the Chamber Music Fellowship program. The endowment is part of funds raised in honor of Wendy Sharp and Dean Takahashi. Sharp, an alumna of Yale College, is the director of chamber music at the Yale School of Music. Takahashi, her husband, is a graduate of the Yale School of Management who serves as senior director of the Yale University Investments Office.

The Chamber Music Fellowship program at the School of Music supports one- to two-year residencies by talented young string quartets. The current Fellowship ensemble is the Argus Quartet, which is mentored by the Brentano Quartet. Previous Fellowship ensembles included the Jasper String Quartet. In the mid-1980s, Sharp participated in the program as a member of the Franciscan String Quartet. The program was then called the Wardwell Fellowship, and the Franciscan Quartet studied with the Tokyo String Quartet, which was the faculty ensemble in residence 1976–2013. MORE

Published March 10, 2016
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Ettore Causa featured in new Pro Classical video

YSM faculty member Ettore Causa is featured in Viola con Variazioni, a new video presented by Pro Classical. The video, subtitled Ettore Causa: Fragments of a Violist, focuses on Causa’s approach to performing and his musical influences. A member of the YSM faculty since 2009, Italian-born Causa is considered one of the most brilliant violists performers and pedagogues of our time, having been awarded multiple international prizes, with solo and recital appearances throughout the world, and two albums on the Claves record label.

In the video profile, Causa discusses how he discovered the viola and his modern French instrument, his teacher Alberto Lysy, how he selects repertoire to perform, his teaching and collaboration with his colleagues at Yale, and his passion for photography. In addition, the video features a soundtrack of Causa performing various works including Robert Schumann’s Viola Concerto. MORE

Published March 4, 2016
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Markus Rathey publishes book on Bach’s major vocal works

Markus RatheyYSM Associate Professor of Music History and renowned Bach scholar Markus Rathey has published a new book via Yale University Press, focusing on Johann Sebastian Bach’s major vocal works. Titled Bach’s Major Vocal Works: Music, Drama, Liturgy, the book provides an introduction to the music and cultural contexts of the composer’s most beloved masterpieces, including the Magnificat, Christmas Oratorio, and St. John Passion.

In addition to providing historical information, each chapter highlights significant aspects — such as the theology of love — of a particular piece. This volume is the first to treat the vocal works as a whole, showing how the compositions were embedded in their original performative context within the liturgy as well as discussing Bach’s musical style, from the detailed level of individual movements to the overarching aspects of each work.

To purchase and read more about the book, visit the book’s page on Yale University Press’s website.

Published March 1, 2016
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Wei-Yi Yang and Sarita Kwok release a new duo album on Genuin

interchangePiano faculty member Wei-Yi Yang ’95 MM, ’96 AD, ’99 MMA, ’04 DMA and violinist Sarita Kwok ’05 MMA, ’06 AD, ’09 DMA have released their first album together on the German record label Genuin.

The recording, titled Interchange: Violin and Piano Duos of the 20th Century, features works by Janacek, Prokofiev, Ravel, and Stravinsky. The album was released on Jan. 29, 2016, and is described as:

“a balancing act that both young musicians pull off splendidly, connecting long musical lines and palpably enjoying relentless rhythmic repetitions. They provide for moments of stillness as well as veritable fireworks. So it comes as no surprise that both musicians have drawn international acclaim – competition juries and the press have not stopped singing their praises! We experience first-hand the moment the lights go out and the musicians intone the first notes of Ravel’s seductive blues…”

ALBUM WEBSITE

Published February 29, 2016
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In memoriam: Otto-Werner Mueller, conductor

Otto-Werner Mueller conducts the Yale Philharmonia in Woolsey Hall

Otto-Werner Mueller conducts the Yale Philharmonia in Woolsey Hall

Otto-Werner Mueller, Professor of Conducting at the Yale School of Music and music director of the Yale Philharmonia from 1973 to 1987, passed away at his home in Charlotte, North Carolina on February 25. He was 89.

In a statement to the Yale School of Music community, Dean Robert Blocker said, “Under Otto-Werner Mueller’s artistic direction in the 1970s and 80s, the Yale Philharmonia emerged as one of the nation’s leading University orchestras. His accomplishments with his orchestras and his talent for nurturing young conductors have influenced the careers and lives of his students at Yale, Juilliard, and Curtis – and indeed our musical landscape.”

Mueller was a commanding presence on and off the podium due to his physical stature—he stood at six feet, seven inches tall – as well as his probing intellect and uncompromising musical standards. In addition to attracting enthusiastic audiences in Woolsey Hall, Mueller and the Yale Philharmonia recorded regularly for NPR’s “Performance Today,” made frequent appearances at Carnegie and Tully halls in New York City, and served as the resident orchestra of the Evian (France) Music Festival for two seasons. MORE

Published February 26, 2016
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