Pianists Sun-A Park and Rachel Cheung to participate in Van Cliburn Competition

Sun-A Park

Pianists Sun-A Park ’16AD ’17MMA and Rachel Cheung ’13MM have been selected to compete in the 15th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Park and Cheung are two of 30 young pianists, selected from a pool of more than 120 applicants, who were invited to the competition based on auditions held earlier this year.

The competition, which takes place May 25-June 10 in Fort Worth, Texas, consists of four rounds and requires candidates to prepare about four hours of music.

“It’s a huge preparation process,” Park said. “I have to play three solo recital programs, one chamber music (program), and two concerti. I am practicing and playing for friends, teachers, and running it through in other concert venues.” Park has been studying with YSM faculty pianist Boris Berman.

Rachel Cheung

According to its website, the Van Cliburn Competition is widely recognized as “one of the world’s highest-visibility classical-music contests” and has been responsible for launching the careers of some of the world’s most prominent pianists. In addition to cash prizes, winners receive three years of career management, multiple concert engagements, and extensive media coverage. The competition is held every four years.

Park and Cheung have each participated in many competitions and agree that their respective preparation and practice routines have evolved with each one.

“I have done quite a number of competitions prior to the Cliburn,” Cheung said, “and I would say that each competition has given me something different but important to learn. I understand my strengths and weaknesses more clearly after each competition, and I know what to work on to improve.” While at YSM, Cheung studied with Peter Frankl.

“My first international competition was when I was 12,” Park said. “My preparation changed as the repertoire grew bigger. Now I practice in cycles of days to make sure I can cover all the repertoire I am playing. I try to eliminate any kind of distraction and really focus on practicing. I don’t know if there is a ‘strategy,’ just honest practicing, slowly, to process it in my brain, and most of all not getting sick or too stressed!”

Live performances from the competition will be broadcast on YouTube as well as in select movie theaters. Visit cliburn.org for more information. 

Published May 11, 2017
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Argus Quartet wins Senior Strings division of M-Prize competition

The Argus Quartet, left to right: cellist Jo Whang ’09MM, violist Dana Kelley, violinist Jason Issokson, and violinist Clara Kim

The Argus Quartet, YSM’s fellowship quartet-in-residence, has been named the first place winner in the Senior Strings division of the University of Michigan’s M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition. In addition to a cash prize of $20,000, the quartet will return to the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance for a residency during the 2017-18 academic year.

Now in its second year, the M-Prize seeks “to identify and showcase the highest caliber of international chamber arts ensembles,” according to the competition’s website. In addition to distributing more than $200,000 of cash prizes (an increase from last year) the M-Prize provides competition winners with platforms for professional development and performance opportunities.

This year, 29 applicants were selected to compete as semifinalists for the grand prize in Michigan. The ensembles, which are made up of 112 artists from seven countries, were selected from an pool of more than 100 ensembles representing 41 countries. In addition to increased prize coffers, this year’s competition featured an interview round during which each of the senior division winners (strings, winds, and other) were asked to advocate on behalf of their ensemble’s repertoire and program plan.

Having been praised by the Calgary Herald for its “supreme melodic control and total authority,” the Argus Quartet is quickly gaining a reputation as one of today’s most dynamic and versatile young ensembles.

MORE

Published May 10, 2017
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YSM pianists participate in Rubinstein Competition

Yevgeny Yontov. Photo by Grace Song

Two YSM students are competing at the 15th Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition, in Tel Aviv, Israel. Pianist Yevgeny Yontov ’14MM, who’s currently a DMA candidate studying with Boris Berman, is scheduled to perform a first-round recital of works by Haydn and Debussy on Saturday, April 29. And pianist Szymon Nehring, an incoming artist diploma candidate who’ll also be studying with Prof. Berman, is slated to perform an opening-round program of music by Scarlatti, Beethoven, and Szymanowski on Sunday, April 30.

The competition’s second and final rounds are scheduled to take place in the first week and a half of May and require each of those who advance to present a recital program of different pieces than they performed in the first round, along with chamber music and concertos. Thirty-one competitors are vying for medals, cash prizes, the chance to perform a string of concerts in Israel, Europe, Asia, and North America, and recording opportunities. The competition is a program of the Arthur Rubinstein International Music Society. MORE

Published April 28, 2017
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Joseph Guimaraes ’18MM receives Soros Fellowship

Tubist Joseph Guimaraes ’18MM has received one of 30 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans. Each year, the program, according to language on the organization’s website, “supports thirty New Americans, immigrants or the children of immigrants, who are pursuing graduate school in the United States.”

“Selected from 1,775 applicants, each of the recipients was chosen for their potential to make significant contributions to U.S. society, culture, or their academic fields,” the Soros Fellowships website indicates. Each awardee receives up to $90,000 to help with costs associated with graduate school.

“I am both hopeful and confident that this lifelong platform will afford me the network needed to achieve my goal of national music-education reform in the United States,” Guimaraes said. “Music is so much more than an auditory art form; it can be seen and felt as a working construct of the human condition. Through music, we can learn to listen, instruct, be instructed, be critiqued, work as​ ​a team, lead, follow, and so much more. These are skills that go far beyond the realm of just music-making, skills that should not be seen as extra-curricular or secondary, but rather as the fundamental building blocks of society. If we​ ​allow every child the opportunity to learn these skills in the proven model of a functional music ensemble, we will instill a greater sense of self, community, and a place in the world. I hope that myself, alongside the greater community of ​Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows, will be able to reach far and wide to the towns, cities, states, and eventually the federal government to … give every child​ the ability to be stronger members of society through music.”

A native of Recife, Brazil, Guimaraes is currently pursuing his master of music degree at the Yale School of Music, where he studies with Carol Jantsch. He has served as principal tubist at the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan, and of the Chautauqua Institution’s Music School Festival Orchestra in New York and the AIMS Festival Orchestra in Graz, Austria. Guimaraes is the founder of The Valve Beanie and the Mouthpieces for All Initiative, whose mission, according to his website, is “to furnish musical tools and services to underserved community members with which they may develop a sense of hope, empowerment and self-worth through engagement in the performing arts.”

JOSEPH GUIMARAES

YALE NEWS

Published April 24, 2017
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Katherine Balch named composer-in-residence at California Symphony

Composer Katherine Balch ’16MM was recently named the California Symphony’s Young American Composer-in-Residence. Over the course of a three-year residency, which begins in August, Balch will work closely with the ensemble and its music director, Donato Cabrera, to premiere and record three new large-scale orchestral works.

“My residency with the California Symphony will entail both the commissioned new works and outreach,” Balch said. “I’ll be writing three pieces for the orchestra of increasing size and scope over the course of three seasons. The first season, I will write a concert opener for the season finale concert in May. The second season, I’m hoping to write a concerto for a longtime collaborator and friend, and we are dreaming big for the third season.”

Balch, whose orchestral works have been performed by such prestigious ensembles as the Minnesota Orchestra and American Composers Orchestra, described her approach to writing for orchestra. MORE

Published April 20, 2017
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YSM composers win American Academy of Arts and Letters awards

Hilary Purrington

Three YSM alumni composers and one current student have received awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the organization announced last month. Awardees were selected by a committee of Academy members including Yehudi Wyner ’50BA ’52BM ’53MM, Martin Boykan ’53MM, YSM faculty composer Aaron Jay Kernis, Samuel Adler, Sebastian Currier, Stephen Jaffe, Tobias Picker, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. Sixteen composers in all received awards this year from the Academy.

Carl Schimmel ’99MM earned a Goddard Lieberson Fellowship, which is awarded to two composers each year. The fellowship, which comes with a $15,000 prize, was created in 1978 with an endowment from the CBS Foundation in memory the former Columbia Records president, who had died a year earlier.

Andrew Norman ’09AD received a $10,000 Arts and Letters Award in Music, which honors outstanding artistic achievement. The Academy established the award in 1941 to encourage creative work in the arts. Each year, five artists, eight authors, four composers, and four architects receive the prize. Composers receive an additional $10,000 to facilitate a recording of their work.

Katherine Balch ’16MM and current YSM student Hilary Purrington ’17MMA each received a $7,500 Charles Ives Scholarship, which is given to composition students of “great promise.” The scholarship was created when Ives’ widow, Harmony Ives, bequeathed the royalties from her husband’s music to the Academy of Arts and Letters. Two fellowships of $15,000 and six scholarships of $7,500 are awarded each year to composers.

The American Academy of Arts and Letters was founded in 1898 to “foster, assist, and sustain an interest in literature, music, and the fine arts,” according to language on the organization’s website. Each year, the Academy honors more than 50 composers, artists, architects, and writers with cash awards ranging from $5,000 to $100,000. The Academy also presents exhibitions of art, architecture, and manuscripts and organizes readings of new musicals.

CARL SCHIMMEL
ANDREW NORMAN
KATHERINE BALCH
HILARY PURRINGTON
AMERICAN ACADEMY OF ARTS AND LETTERS

Published April 6, 2017
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Conductor Dante Anzolini named music director of Orquesta Sinfónica de Guayaquil

Photo by Sarah Wilson

Conductor Dante Santiago Anzolini ’89MM ’97DMA has been appointed music director of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Guayaquil, in Ecuador. Anzolini is the subject of a March 1 blog post (“How to Choose a Music Director Without Talking to Agents”) on Norman Lebrecht’s website, Slipped Disc. Lebrecht’s blog post details the compelling and rather straightforward process by which the OSG chose Anzolini from an initial group of nearly 100 applicants. Every member of the orchestra in Guayaquil was involved in the selection process.

Anzolini was one of five conductors to be invited to conduct the orchestra in a three-hour rehearsal. He is enthused about leading the group, whose “potential,” he said, “is bigger than even they think.” Anzolini is no stranger to capable ensembles, having conducted such orchestras as the Vienna Symphony, German Opera on the Rhine, Bonn Opera, Munich Symphony Orchestra, Beethoven Orchester Bonn, American Composers Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and the Washington National Opera, among others.

Anzolini recently paid a visit to the Yale School of Music, where he studied with Eleazar de Carvalho.

“When he saw that I was serious,” Anzolini said, “he offered me lessons every day,” explaining that “if it wasn’t for Yale, I would not be a conductor.”

SLIPPED DISC

DANTE ANZOLINI

Published March 31, 2017
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Farkhad Khudyev wins third prize in Solti International Conducting Competition

Farkhad KhudyevFarkhad Khudyev ’10MM was named the third prize-winner in the 8th annual Sir Georg Solti International Conducting Competition on February 16, 2017. Khudyev was one of 22 aspiring young composers selected from a pool of nearly 300 applicants to participate in the live rounds of the competition, and his 3rd place finish earned him the opportunity to conduct the Frankfurt Radio Symphony in addition to cash prizes.

“It felt incredible conducting one of the best orchestras in Europe and performing for the German audience,” Khudyev said. “I could strongly feel the traditions and the culture of the orchestra.”

Khudyev’s performance of Weber’s Oberon Overture in the final round was praised by the Frankfurter Neue Presse as “graceful, very sensitive, with almost magically bright winds.”

Khudyev has been the recipient of the “Best Interpretation Prize” at the 1st International Taipei Conducting Competition in Taiwan, the Grand Prize and Gold Medal at the 2007 National Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, and the recipient of the Glenn Miller Competition Prize and the Neil Rabaut Prize. He has performed around the United States, Europe and Asia at world-class venues and festivals including the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Emilia Romagna Festival in Italy, the Alte Oper Great Hall and the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festpiele in Germany. MORE

Published March 23, 2017
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YSM alumni take home Grammys

Michael Daugherty. Photo by Grant Leighton

Michael Daugherty. Photo by Grant Leighton

Yale School of Music alumnus Michael Daugherty ’82MMA ’87DMA received three 2017 Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 12, for his Tales of Hemingway for cello and orchestra, which was recorded by cellist Zuill Bailey and the Nashville Symphony conducted by Giancarlo Guerrero. The piece won in the Best Classical Instrumental Solo, Best Contemporary Classical Composition, and Best Classical Compendium categories.

Tales of Hemingway was commissioned and premiered by Guerrero and the Nashville Symphony, whose live recording of that performance was released on an album with Daugherty’s American Gothic and a 2015 revision of his Once Upon a Castle, a work for organ and orchestra whose solo part was performed by YSM alumnus Paul Jacobs ’02MM. Guerrero recently conducted the Yale Philharmonia in a program that included Wagner’s Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde and Shostakovich Symphony No. 10.

Percussionist David Skidmore ’08MM earned a 2017 Grammy as a member of Third Coast Percussion, whose recording of works by Steve Reich won in the Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance category. MORE

Published February 13, 2017
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Sirena Huang ’18MM wins inaugural Elmar Oliveira International Violin Competition

Sirena Huang

Sirena Huang

Violinist Sirena Huang ’18MM has won the inaugural Elmar Oliveira International Violin Competition, the final round of which was held on Saturday and Sunday at the Lynn University Conservatory of Music, in Boca Raton, Florida. Huang earned a $30,000 prize, artist management and promotional support, and a new instrument, bow, and case, according to a press release issued on Sunday by competition organizers.

In the competition’s final round, Huang performed the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Lynn Philharmonia under the direction of music director Guillermo Figueroa. Performances by four finalists were streamed live on YouTube and on the competition’s Facebook page.

“The 2017 judges were Andrés Cárdenes, Charles Castleman, Alexander Gilman, Gudny Gudmundsdottir, Daniel Heifetz (chairman of the jury), Ilya Kaler, and Vera Tsu Wei-ling,” the press release said. “The 20 competitors who were selected to compete in the inaugural 2017 Elmar Oliveira International Violin Competition were chosen from more than 80 applicants from 16 countries.” The competition was established by its namesake, violinist Elmar Oliveira, who is a distinguished artist-in-residence at Lynn University. MORE

Published February 6, 2017
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