Acclaimed chamber ensembles A Far Cry and Roomful of Teeth to perform works by Caroline Shaw and Ted Hearne

Caroline Shaw ’07MM

The Michigan Daily | Dayton Hare

At its heart, public music making is about the way in which we exist in the same time and place as other people. It’s about how we communicate with and relate to one another. The playing of music is a conversation of sorts, an interaction undertaken between the musicians and the listeners, each member of the dialogue giving something and taking something away. It’s not a coincidence, then, that some of the most interesting and engaging music composed both throughout history and today comes from a wellspring of mutually supportive and inspiring relationships between musicians. On Wednesday night, concert goers at Rackham Auditorium will have the chance to witness the fruits of some of these relationships in a joint concert by the contemporary music ensembles A Far Cry and Roomful of Teeth.

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Published April 11, 2017
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A Chelsea Manning-WikiLeaks Opera, Seen in a New Light

Ted Hearne

Ted Hearne

The New York Times | By Zachary Woolfe

When you make art about current events, there’s a catch: Events change.

The SourceTed Hearne’s slippery, stunning opera about Chelsea Manning and WikiLeaks, had its premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2014. The year before, Ms. Manning had been sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking secret material on the Iraq war and other American military and diplomatic activities. Many on the left viewed WikiLeaks with wary sympathy for publishing her revelations.

Since then, of course, WikiLeaks has become a liberal pariah for publishing hacked emails belonging to Hillary Clinton’s political advisers. And Ms. Manning, who transitioned from male to female in prison, will be freed in May since her sentence was commuted by President Obama just before he left office.

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Published February 22, 2017
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Yale Opera presents “Così fan tutte” at Shubert Theater for 3 shows

Giasone

Chas Rader-Shieber. Photo by Bridget Elliot

New Haven Register | By Joe Amarante

If you’re not taking advantage of the best entertainment options Yale University has to offer, it’s on you. Yale Opera, for example, does a sterling job, and the next opportunity to see a polished production comes Feb. 17-19 at the Shubert Theatre.

Così fan tutte offers not only Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s impeccable music (the overture should be very familiar) but also comedy and, as classicfm.com puts it, “a satirical tale of love that takes a cynical swipe at men and women.”

Chas Rader-Shieber, the veteran opera stage director handling the two-act production for the first time since the mid-2000s, said while he’s done unconventional things with certain operas before, there’s no reason to mess with this one.

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Published February 13, 2017
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CalArts names Ravi Rajan president, the first Asian American to be named to the post

Los Angeles Times | By Carolina A. Miranda

Ravi Rajan '00MM

Ravi S. Rajan ’00MM

Ravi S. Rajan, the dean of the School of the Arts at Purchase College, State University of New York, was named president of the California Institute of the Arts on Tuesday following a unanimous board vote.

Rajan, a musician, teacher and administrator who has also worked in computer animation, will be CalArts’ fourth president — and its first Asian American head.

Rajan says he is excited to take the helm at a school that has long harbored a confluence of ideas and an institutional ethos of experimentation.

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Published December 15, 2016
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Andrew Norman ’09AD Wins the Grawemeyer Award for Music

Andrew Norman

Andrew Norman

NPR | Tom Huizenga

A rambunctious 45-minute orchestral piece called Play, by American composer Andrew Norman, has been named the winner of the 2017 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition. The prize, which includes $100,000, was announced this evening by the University of Louisville, which sponsors the award. Former winners include Pierre Boulez, John Adams, Kaija Saariaho and Thomas Adès.

Norman, 37, wrote Play for the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, an ensemble led by Gil Rose, which premiered the work in 2013 and released a critically acclaimed recording last year. The work has had subsequent performances by three other orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic in October. In 2012, the young composer’s string trio The Companion Guide to Rome was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Grawemeyer Award Director Marc Satterwhite, who is also a composer, praised Playin a media statement for its brilliant orchestration, calling it “wildly inventive and idiomatic.” In an age of shortened attention spans, he noted how well the piece, divided into three “levels,” held the listener’s interest. “It ranges effortlessly from brash to intimate, and all points in between,” Satterwhite said. …

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Published November 30, 2016
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Poet laureate Robert Pinsky to set scene for final Laderman work at Yale

Robert Pinsky | Photo by Eric Antoniou

Robert Pinsky | Photo by Eric Antoniou

New Haven Register | By Joe Amarante

Ezra Laderman came out of retirement to work at Yale in 1988. The composer then spent more than a quarter-century at the School of Music, serving six years as dean. He retired from Yale in 2014 and died in 2015.

But his influence continues. Saturday brings a world premiere of his last completed work, Voices, which is based on Dante’s Inferno and will include a libretto by former United States poet laureate to the Library of Congress Robert Pinsky. The free event will be at 7:30 p.m. at Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Hall on College Street.

“I’m glad to learn that the program will include the words of the libretto,” said Pinsky. “I think that will be helpful, as people listen to Ezra’s splendid composition.”

Pinsky, who worked closely with Ezra Laderman on the piece, published (in 1995) his own translation of the 14th-century poet Dante’s odyssey through hell, called The Inferno of Dante. …

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Published October 14, 2016
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Transformative Juilliard President Will Step Down After Three Decades

Joseph Polisi | Photo by Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

Joseph Polisi | Photo by Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

The New York Times | By Michael Cooper

One of the most influential offstage figures in the New York arts world is stepping down. Joseph W. Polisi [’73MM, ’75MMA, ’80DMA], who transformed the Juilliard School during three decades as its president, announced on Wednesday that he plans to leave the post in June 2018.

Mr. Polisi, 68, has kept Juilliard at or near the top of any list of the world’s most important conservatories. And during his tenure as the school’s longest-serving president, he instituted a number of sweeping changes to adapt to big shifts in the worlds of culture and education at a time when the job market for even the best-trained artists was more uncertain than ever.

Mr. Polisi built Juilliard’s first dormitory to foster a sense of community at what had always been a commuter school; oversaw the school’s expansion during Lincoln Center’s recent renovation; and added programs in jazz studies and historical performance.

He proved himself a prodigious fund-raiser: The value of the school’s endowment fund had grown to about $930 million as of June, from about $63 million soon after his arrival in 1984. And in recent years, Mr. Polisi has started a series of sometimes controversial projects to create fresh revenue streams for the school, including building a new Juilliard in China. …

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Published October 13, 2016
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A MacArthur for the composer Julia Wolfe ’86MM

Julia Wolfe | Photo by Peter Serling

Julia Wolfe | Photo by Peter Serling

The New Yorker | By William Robin

“I know the music I write isn’t for everyone,” a talking wolf remarks in a 2014 episode of the beloved PBS cartoon “Arthur.” The wolf holds up a page of sheet music, points to her head, and explains to another character what it means to be a composer: “Everything that goes on up here winds up in the score.” The show’s cohort of animated creatures has just emerged from a raucous performance: a rendition of the amplified chamber work Big Beautiful Dark and Scary written by the real-life composer Julia Wolfe, who voiced the cartoon character.

Such explanations may no longer be necessary, as today Wolfe was selected as a 2016 MacArthur Fellow. She is the first full-time classical composer to receive a MacArthur since Osvaldo Golijov, in 2003. At fifty-seven, Wolfe is known equally as a composer and as a co-founder of the new-music collective Bang on a Can. Though Wolfe and Bang on a Can often position themselves as outside the mainstream—“I think of myself as a renegade,” she told NPR, in 2015—both the MacArthur award and the “Arthur” appearance testify to the centrality that they occupy in the world of composition today. MORE

Published September 23, 2016
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Music’s Newest Career Track has a Social Conscience

21CM | By Diane Haithman

Sebastian Ruth

Sebastian Ruth

The word “outreach” in the performing arts conjures up visions of the local orchestra performing for underserved communities – then rushing back to the concert hall in time for the 8 p.m. curtain.

But a new crop of classical music entrepreneurs wants to make social activism the main event. Musicians are forming more ensembles outside the orchestra in pursuit of new models of giving back. They are devoting their careers to music as social entrepreneurship.

Sebastian Ruth is a violinist, violist and the founder of Providence, R.I.’s Community MusicWorks, which provides music education for at-risk kids. The landscape was different 19 years ago when he founded MusicWorks. “When we started in the late ’90s, our work was much more of a marginal activity,” Ruth says. “I would say people were not flocking to do this kind of work. That seems to have shifted pretty dramatically.”

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Published June 7, 2016
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NYT: Yale Composers Showcase Their Works at New Music New Haven

Ani Kavafian, Lisa Morre, and David Shifrin | Photo by Chris Lee

Ani Kavafian, Lisa Moore, and David Shifrin | Photo by Chris Lee

The New York Times | By Vivien Schweitzer

It’s rarely a compliment to describe a composer as “academic”: the word is usually applied to those perceived as being sequestered on campus creating esoteric, dreary works. Conversely, being too “accessible” (i.e., not challenging enough) has also been deemed a negative. But there’s nothing pejoratively “academic” or “accessible” about any of the Yale faculty composers featured during a concert on Wednesday at WQXR’s Greene Space in SoHo.

David Lang, Hannah Lash, Christopher Theofanidis, Aaron Jay Kernis and Martin Bresnick represent an accessible aesthetic that draws on multiple stylistic influences. Some of their music has been championed by Bang on a Can, the lively genre-bending collective whose three founders, all Yale alumni, include Mr. Lang. The vocalist Helga Davis hosted Wednesday’s event, part of the NY Phil Biennial, and interviewed each composer and Alan Gilbert, the Philharmonic’s music director, onstage. MORE

Published May 26, 2016
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