Violinist Ariel Horowitz ’19MM, on broadening her horizons and playing “Ein Heldenleben”

Ariel Horowitz

Violinist Ariel Horowitz’s first performance at the School of Music was the Yale Philharmonia’s season-opening concert, which included a performance of Stravinsky’s revolutionary Rite of Spring. “It was really an amazing experience,” she said. “The second I sat down, I felt like a professional. I felt like I needed to bring my best artistry, because my colleagues were bringing theirs.”

Horowitz ’19MM, who was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Bloomington, Indiana, earned a bachelor of music degree from The Juilliard School, where she studied with Itzhak Perlman and Catherine Cho, before enrolling at YSM. Here, Horowitz studies with Ani Kavafian while exploring what Yale University has to offer.

Studying at YSM, she said, was an “opportunity to … develop myself as a person and an intellectual and an artist.”

In addition to playing the violin, Horowitz’s artistic practice includes composition. Her Juilliard recital featured a performance of Woman, a performance “collage” she created that includes music, dance, and the recorded voices of various women in her life. For Horowitz, art is a vehicle through which she contributes to the needs of several communities. She’s a co-founder of The Heartbeat Project, which provides music training for Navajo schoolchildren in Crownpoint, New Mexico.

Horowitz hopes that being a student at Yale will “contribute to my understanding of global politics and global affairs.”

“To just be around people who are scholars, I think, is just going to be such a unique and different experience for me,” she said.

Still, she’s here at YSM to play and study the violin. And that includes playing in the Yale Philharmonia. When the orchestra performs Strauss’ tone poem Ein Heldenleben on Friday, Oct. 13, under the direction of guest conductor David Robertson, she’ll be the concertmaster, playing the solo part.

“I have never played it in context,” Horowitz said.

Talking about Strauss’ storytelling, she said, “I almost feel like Heldenleben is more of a dramatic work” than a piece of music. The violin solo “is a depiction of [Strauss’] wife, Pauline.” Having studied and read about the piece, Horowitz said, “I feel like I have a lot of insight into how Pauline was actually feeling,” and that the composer, “whether he intended to or not, shows how much power Pauline has.”

The solo part is challenging, particularly in terms of having “enough variation in my sound to be able to express the depths of Pauline’s character. Those character changes are so important to bring that story out.”

Practicing the part, Horowitz said, “really feels like learning lines to a play. I don’t want to be Ariel when I’m playing,” she said. “I want to be Pauline.”

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Published October 5, 2017
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Vijay Gupta ’07MM, on music as a vehicle for social justice

Vijay Gupta

Violinist and YSM alum Vijay Gupta ’07MM is a member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the founder and artistic director of Street Symphony, an organization that “serves to foster a dialogue which tells the unheard stories of the most marginalized communities in Los Angeles through the power of musical expression,” according to language on its website. We spoke with Vijay about the artist’s role in society.

Q: What experiences at Yale and the Yale School of Music, and in New Haven, inform the work you’re doing now with Street Symphony and in terms of how the arts can be a vehicle for social justice in a larger sense?

A: Well, it was two classes in particular. One was my Hearing class with Joan Panetti, which totally transformed the way that I teach and perform and collaborate. I was actually Dr. Panetti’s TA for my second whole year at YSM, so that was really, really special for me. And it’s kind of amazing, I kind of feel Dr. Panetti coming up in my voice and in my steps when I teach, so that’s very cool. The second class was a survey of late Beethoven by Markus Rathey, and he went through, I think, from Op. 90 until the end of Beethoven. And just being able to present in his class, and being able to look at the composers for who they were as people and not just as these marble busts of dead white guys, really, really changed the way that I approach playing. And it’s a direct correlation to the way that I lead programs when I play Beethoven or Schumann in a county jail, because our audiences are not interested in how well we play, they’re interested in the stories. They’re, in a sense, interested in the humanity of the composers. So those are two things that I got from those two classes. And of course I have to give credit to my amazing teacher, who was Ani Kavafian. She was just so wonderful and kind and got me to think about different aspects of my playing that I hadn’t even thought about before, but she also cared about me as a person, which was kind of new for me having come from the conservatory system. Oftentimes in those situations my personhood didn’t count as much as how well I played my etudes. But I played a lot of Baroque violin at school with ISM; I was playing with Robert Mealy and that was an extension of what I was getting from Markus Rathey’s class and from Joan Panetti’s class. It was a very natural extension of what was going on in the life of these composers as they were composing. And one direct example of how that’s showed up for me in my organization is in our Messiah project. We do a yearly sing-along of Handel’s Messiah in Skid Row at a homeless shelter. And we’ve actually now started placing formerly homeless Desert Storm combat veterans as our soloists, and we give them lessons all year long. And when you look at the situation in which Handel performed his Messiah, it wasn’t in a concert hall, it was in an orphan’s hospital, and the first concert released 142 men from debtor’s prison. So if we’re really doing authentic performance practice, if we’re really going to put our mouth where our money is with regard to what these composers were actually dreaming and thinking as they composed, then we also have to have the same kind of social understanding of what kind of music our community needs. It became very clear to me at school that these composers were writing for their communities. I’m sorry to go on a little bit here, but Bach’s passions would have been called engagement sing-along concerts today, because everybody in the audience knew those chorales and they stood up and sang them. So what’s our modern day Messiah? That’s the kind of question that I’m asking in my head right now as I lead my life and do my stuff.

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Published August 29, 2017
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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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[ concerts ]

Frankl and colleagues present celebratory recital Feb 6

Peter Frankl, piano

Peter Frankl, piano

The Faculty Artist Series at the Yale School of Music presents a concert celebrating Peter Frankl‘s 80th birthday year on Saturday, February 6 at 4:00 pm.

Frankl, a pianist, will team up with fellow YSM faculty members Ani Kavafian, violin; Ettore Causa, viola; Ole Akahoshi, cello; Stephen Taylor, oboe; David Shifrin, clarinet; Frank Morelli, bassoon; William Purvis, horn; and Janna Baty, soprano. In various configurations, they will perform music from Schumann and Saint-Saëns to Dohnányi and Dutilleux.

The program opens with three duets: Camille Saint-Saëns‘ Five Songs for oboe d’amore and piano; Robert Schumann‘s Three Romances for bassoon and piano; and Henri Dutilleux‘s Choral, Cadence et Fugato for trombone and piano. MORE

Published January 12, 2016
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[ concerts ]

Yale School of Music, School of Drama present a fresh take on Stravinsky’s “The Soldier’s Tale”

Michael-Cerveris2

The Yale in New York concert series, under the artistic direction of David Shifrin, presents a new collaboration between the Yale School of Music and Yale School of Drama: a fully-staged original production and new translation of Igor Stravinsky’s darkly comic The Soldier’s Tale. Performances will take place Tuesday, April 1 at 8 pm in Morse Recital Hall on the Yale campus (details), and Sunday, April 6 at 7:30 pm in Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

This production marks one of the largest collaborations between the Yale School of Music and Yale School of Drama. It brings together School of Music faculty and student musicians with the School of Drama faculty, student, and alumni designers, actors, and technicians.

Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale (L’histoire du Soldat) was written in response to the events of World War I, and premiered in 1918. Marking one hundred years since the outbreak of the war, the Schools of Music and Drama bring a fresh perspective to the work with a lively new translation by Liz Diamond, OBIE Award winning Resident Director at Yale Repertory Theatre and Chair of the Directing Department at Yale School of Drama. Diamond will also stage the production. MORE

Published February 26, 2014
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New video: Mozart’s Piano Quartet in G minor

Ani Kavafian, violin; Ettore Causa, viola; Ole Akahoshi, cello; and Peter Frankl, piano, performed Mozart’s Piano Quartet in G minor, K. 478, on the Faculty Artist Series on January 23, 2013.

Published September 18, 2013
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Yale in New York presents “Serenade and Metamorphosis” in New York and New Haven

A past Yale in New York performance in Zankel Hall

The Yale School of Music and the Yale in New York concert series present “Serenade and Metamorphosis,” a program celebrating the tradition of the instrumental serenade. Concertmaster Ani Kavafian will lead an ensemble of fellow faculty as well as alumni and student string players.

The concert takes place in Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall on Friday, April 12, 2013, at 7:30 pm. There will be a preview concert in New Haven on Thursday, April 11 at 8 pm in Morse Recital Hall.

The program pairs Richard Strauss’s Metamorphosen for 23 solo strings with a new piece for the same instrumentation written by YSM graduate Matthew Barnson’12DMA. This will be the world premiere of Barnson’s The Rule and Exercises of Holy Dying, a work inspired by Jeremy Taylor’s masterpiece of the 17th-century English cult of melancholia and the sound of Gerhard Richter painting.

Strauss’s Metamorphosen, written in the concluding months of the World War II, is regarded as an elegy for the destruction wrought on Germany by the devastating bombing of Munich. The piece features the complex counterpoint that became a hallmark of Strauss’s compositions.

The concert will conclude with Tchaikovsky’s lush Serenade for Strings, a definitive piece of the late Romantic era. In addition to concertmaster Ani Kavafian, faculty violinists Wendy Sharp and Kyung Yu will also perform in the ensemble.

Yale in New York, led by artistic director David Shifrin, is now in its sixth season. Tickets from $15–$20 are available at the Carnegie Hall box office, online at www.carnegiehall.org, or through CarnegieCharge: 212 247-7800. Admission to the preview concert is free.

Published March 15, 2013
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Peter Frankl, Ani Kavafian, Ettore Causa, Ole Akahoshi perform together Jan. 23

Concert features piano quartets by Mozart and Dvorák

The Yale School of Music presents four faculty performers in a performance of piano quartets on Wednesday, January 23 at 8 pm. The concert, which is part of the Faculty Artist Series, features Ani Kavafian, violin; Ettore Causa, viola; Ole Akahoshi, cello; and Peter Frankl, piano.

The concert will feature three quartets for piano and strings, beginning with Mozart’s Piano Quartet in G minor, considered the first major piece in the genre, and Quartet in E-flat major, written less than a year after the first piece.

Also on the program is Dvorák’s masterful Quartet in E-flat major, Op. 87, “an unfailing crowd-pleaser… possessed of an originality that makes it worthy to stand beside the more complex corners of Brahms’ chamber output” (All Music Guide).

The concert begins at 8 pm in Morse Recital Hall, located in Sprague Hall at 470 College Street (corner of Wall Street). Admission is free. For more information, visit music.yale.edu or contact the Yale School of Music concert office at 203 432-4158. MORE

Published January 7, 2013
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Yale in New York announces 2012–2013, its sixth season at Carnegie Hall

“Many magnificent evenings of inventive programming.”
— The New York Times

Yale in New York, the concert series directed by David Shifrin, announces its 2013–2013 season. At the center are celebrations: of composers, performing artists, and musical forms.

Four concerts presented in Zankel Hall and Weill Recital Hall explore the deep, creative, and exciting collaborations that are the heart and history of the Yale School of Music, while paying tribute to a number of music icons. Highlights include:

• The Tokyo String Quartet, which has served on the faculty of the Yale School of Music since 1976, and embarks on its final tour as a Quartet.

• Star faculty members Ettore Causa, Peter Frankl, Ani Kavafian, Ole Akahoshi and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis celebrate the birth of Mozart.

• Richard Strauss’ Metamorphosen is paired with the world premiere of a Yale commission by alumnus Matthew Barnson, also for 23 strings, capped by Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings.

• Composer and former Yale faculty member Paul Hindemith is feted on the 50th anniversary of his death by pianist Boris Berman and members of the Yale Philharmonia, with a program that features some of his lesser-known high-spirited early works.

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Published June 15, 2012
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Faculty artists perform Yiddish cantata, Shostakovich, Beethoven, Schumann, de Falla

Soprano Janna Baty and friends perform multilingual program Oct. 9

The Yale School of Music presents the acclaimed pianist Peter Frankl and soprano Janna Baty in a Faculty Artist Recital on Sunday, October 9, 2011 at 4 pm in Morse Recital Hall. Along with faculty colleagues Ani Kavafian, violin; Ole Akahoshi, cello; and Allan Dean, trumpet, they will perform vocal works of Beethoven, Schumann, Shostakovich, and more.

The concert will open with selections from Beethoven’s Folkslieder and Neue Folkslieder for voice, violin, cello, and piano. Next will be a rarely performed piece: Iván Fischer’s Eine Deutsch-Jiddische Kantate: Die Stimmen der Geister for mezzo-soprano, trumpet, and piano. Fischer, widely known as a conductor, has recently gained fame for his daring production of Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni. He wrote this cantata partly out of fear that without musical compositions, the Yiddish language “may be forgotten.”

The first half of the recital will close with Schumann’s beloved song cycle Frauenliebe und –leben (A Woman’s Life and Love), written as a wedding gift for the composer’s wife Clara.

The second half opens with Shostakovich’s Seven Romances on Poems of Alexander Blok, Op. 127, for voice, violin, cello, and piano. Gerard McBurney calls the piece “an extraordinarily intense sequence: sweet and deeply personal meditations about love, intimacy, friendship and the power of art.” Another collection of seven will conclude the concert: Siete canciones populares españolas by the Spanish composer Manuel de Falla.

The concert is free and open to the public; no tickets are required. MORE

Published September 20, 2011
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