Emily Kruspe Joins Rolston String Quartet

Emily Kruspe

We spoke recently with violinist Emily Kruspe about joining YSM’s fellowship quartet-in-residence, the Rolston String Quartet, whose other three members have been working together for five years. Kruspe succeeds violinist Jeffrey Dyrda, who left the quartet to pursue new career opportunities.

“I’ve played a lot with professional ensembles, but never with a group so specialized as a quartet,” Kruspe said. “The other three have been playing together since 2013, and pretty much exclusively with each other, so they are extremely aware and good at reading each other’s body language, among many other things. The challenge for me is fitting in enough so as not to disrupt what has already been so well established, yet to have my own personality and voice in the group. In our rehearsals, there is actually a lot of discussion and demonstration. Not everything can be picked up by listening and imitation—ideas must be translated in other forms.”

Kruspe discussed the challenges of learning repertoire that the rest of the ensemble already knows. “Up until very recently, I have been playing pieces the quartet has rehearsed, been coached on, and performed,” Kruspe said. “To fit into an established interpretation of a work that has already been meticulously analyzed is difficult, but very rewarding. I am using parts of my brain I have never exercised before! What makes a lot of the challenging stuff easier is that these three musicians are among the easiest people to play with. They are very accommodating and clear, and it simplifies a lot for me.”

Kruspe also spoke about the opportunity to be mentored by the Brentano String Quartet, YSM’s quartet-in-residence. “Working with the Brentano Quartet—what can I say—I feel extremely fortunate. They are among the best quartets in the world, and are such wonderful people. I am so looking forward to working with and learning from them.”

ROLSTON STRING QUARTET

BRENTANO STRING QUARTET

Published June 21, 2018
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Argus Quartet, pianist Dominic Cheli share first prize at Concert Artists Guild competition

The Argus Quartet (photo by Ben Gibbs) and Dominic Cheli (photo by Gallia Kastler)

The Argus Quartet, the ensemble that served from 2015 to 2017 as YSM’s fellowship quartet-in-residence, and pianist Dominic Cheli ’16MM, have been named joint first-prize winners of the annual Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition. The quartet and Cheli will each receive a $5,000 cash prize and a management contract and will be presented in recital at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, in addition to other opportunities.

The final round of the competition took place on October 17 at Merkin Concert Hall at the Kaufman Music Center in New York City and was judged by a nine-person jury. Two YSM students won prizes at last year’s Concert Artist Guild competition. Guitarist Jiyeon “Jiji” Kim ’17MM won the top prize, and double bassist Samuel Suggs ’14MM ’20DMA was named the organization’s New Music/New Places Fellow.

The Argus Quartet, which was founded in Los Angeles in 2013, was named the first-place winner in the Senior Strings division of the University of Michigan’s M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition in May, which earned the group a $20,000 cash award and a residency at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance during the 2017-2018 academic year. At YSM, the Argus Quartet was the first ensemble to be mentored by the School’s ensemble-in-residence, the Brentano String Quartet. The Argus Quartet is currently the graduate quartet-in-residence at The Juilliard School.

Cheli, who studied at the Yale School of Music under the tutelage of pianist Peter Frankl, has performed at such venues as Carnegie Hall, Le Poisson Rouge, and Sheldon Concert Hall in his hometown, St. Louis. He is currently an artist diploma candidate at the Colburn Conservatory of Music, where he studies with Fabio Bidini. Cheli recently recorded a CD of music by Muzio Clementi at the Yale School of Music for an album that was released on the Naxos label.

ARGUS QUARTET

DOMINIC CHELI

Published October 19, 2017
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Rachel Cheung ’13MM reaches finals, wins Audience Award at Van Cliburn Competition

Rachel Cheung performs with Leonard Slatkin and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra in the final round of the Van Cliburn Competition. Photo by Ralph Lauer/The Cliburn

School of Music alumna Rachel Cheung ’13MM was one of six finalists at the Fifteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, which took place May 25 through June 10 in Fort Worth, Texas. She took home $12,500 in cash prizes — $10,000 for reaching the final round and $2,500 for earning the Audience Award. As a finalist, Cheung also received a promotional package, which includes photos, additional marketing materials, and media training.

In the course of the competition in Fort Worth, Cheung, who studied at YSM with Peter Frankl, performed three different recital programs, a piano quintet with the Brentano String Quartet — YSM’s quartet-in-residence — and two concerti.

YSM alumna Sun-A Park ’16AD ’17MMA, who studied at YSM with Boris Berman, also participated in the prestigious competition, performing a recital in the preliminary round and taking home a $1,000 cash prize.

Of the 290 pianists who applied, 140 were selected for live auditions. Cheung auditioned in Seoul, in January, and Park auditioned in New York, in February. Only 30 pianists, including Cheung and Park, were invited to compete in Fort Worth.

Sun-A Park performs during the preliminary round of the Van Cliburn Competition. Photo by Ralph Lauer/The Cliburn

According to its website, the Van Cliburn Competition, which is held every four years, 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.

Related:
PIANISTS SUN-A PARK AND RACHEL CHEUNG TO PARTICIPATE IN VAN CLIBURN COMPETITION

Published June 12, 2017
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Rolston String Quartet named YSM’s new fellowship quartet-in-residence

Rolston String Quartet | Photo by Tianxiao Zhang Photography

The Rolston String Quartet ’16Norfolk has been named the new fellowship quartet-in-residence at the Yale School of Music. The group, whose previous residencies include the Yale Summer School of Music/Norfolk Chamber Music Festival in the summer of 2016, will begin their tenure at YSM this fall. While at Yale, the quartet will work closely with the Brentano String Quartet — YSM’s quartet-in-residence — perform recitals, and participate in education-outreach programs.

“The Rolston String Quartet is very eager to come to New Haven as the Yale School of Music’s fellowship quartet-in-residence,” the group said in a statement. “We are incredibly optimistic about the possibilities for development and growth provided by Yale’s stimulating environment. We can’t wait to meet the Yale students and faculty who will illuminate and influence this new experience. Working closely with the Brentano Quartet is a dream come true. They are endlessly generous and inspiring people whose artistic spirits are to be admired. We look forward to deepening our musical understandings, refining our interpretations, and benefiting from their extensive professional experience.

“We will be so lucky to be able to coach chamber ensembles made up of Yale (undergraduate) students; this opportunity is a rare one that will yield immense insight into the complexities of teaching music. The fellowship program at Yale will aid our growth as we cultivate an ensemble that reflects the values of community, the highest levels of artistic and academic excellence, and the important traditions of chamber music,” the group said.

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Published May 16, 2017
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Convocation 2016 Celebrates “Transcendent Yale Legacy”

YSM Dean Robert Blocker | Photo by Harold Shapiro

YSM Dean Robert Blocker | Convocation 2016

In his Convocation address, titled Music: A Transcendent Yale Legacy, School of Music Dean Robert Blocker told incoming and returning students, faculty, staff, and guests that “transcendent qualities are born and nurtured by people. Yale University and the School of Music are a collection of voices, a community and society of mutual learners. We, along with our predecessors, came here to better prepare ourselves to repair the world.

“It may surprise some of you to know that when the Yale Corporation voted to establish a School of Music in 1894, they also approved a Bachelor of Music degree that was open to women and men,” Blocker said in his remarks during the September 8, 2016, ceremony. “Cynics might say that not offering a Bachelor of Arts in Music retained the exclusivity of Yale College as a male enclave, but I find it a lot more interesting and compelling that music was Yale’s very first commitment to diversity and inclusivity.”

Celebrating the “transcendent voices” that have shaped the School’s legacy, Blocker recognized Ellen and Carl Stoeckel, Helen Hagan, Elaine Toscanini, Aldo Parisot, and Willie Ruff, among others.

“These transcendent musical voices of Yale and their cultural leadership transform lives, enrich communities, and bring hope to a broken world,” Blocker said. “Yale’s sons and daughters entrusted some of humankind’s treasures to us so that the transcendent qualities of character and mind, of light and truth – Yale’s motto, lux et veritas – can live through each of us and can bring hope to our planet. That is our responsibility, and it is our joy.” MORE

Published September 12, 2016
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[ concerts ]

Brentano String Quartet presents music by Dvorák, Haydn, and Shostakovich Jan. 26

brentano-homeThe Oneppo Chamber Music Series at the Yale School of Music presents the acclaimed Brentano String Quartet on Tuesday, January 26 at 7:30 pm. The quartet, which joined the Yale faculty in 2014, will perform music by Joseph Haydn, Dmitri Shostakovich, and Antonin Dvorák.

The concert will begin with Haydn‘s Quartet in F-sharp minor, Op. 50, No. 4, Hob. III:47. The work is part of a set of six quartets that Haydn dedicated to King Frederick William II of Prussia, himself an amateur cellist, and the piece contains some notable passages for the cello.

Next on the program is Shostakovich‘s String Quartet No. 14 in F-sharp major, Op. 142. Like the preceding work, this quartet was dedicated to a cellist, Sergei Shirinsky (who premiered several of Shostakovich’s string quartets), and features the instrument throughout the piece. MORE

Published December 21, 2015
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[ career strategies ]

Career Strategies presents a conversation with the Brentano Quartet Sep. 30

brentano_vOn Wednesday, September 30, Astrid Baumgardner will interview the members of the Brentano Quartet on the topic of artistic careers and collaboration in the 21st century. The interview takes place at 4:30 pm in Morse Recital Hall (located in Sprague Hall at 470 College Street).

The Brentano String Quartet is ensemble-in-residence at the Yale School of Music, where they perform in concert each semester and work closely with students in chamber music contexts. The members of the quartet are Mark Steinberg, violin; Serena Canin, violin; Misha Amory, viola; and Nina Lee, cello. Read more about the quartet here.

Students will have the opportunity to ask questions. The event will be streamed live on the School of Music’s website.

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Published September 22, 2015
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[ concerts ]

Brentano Quartet plays music of youth and of old age Sep. 29

brentano_vThe Oneppo Chamber Music Series at the Yale School of Music presents the acclaimed Brentano String Quartet on Tuesday, September 29 at 7:30 pm. The Brentano Quartet, which joined the Yale faculty in 2014, will play music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Benjamin Britten, and Felix Mendelssohn.

Selections from Bach‘s masterful Art of the Fugue will open each half of the concert. The first half features Britten‘s String Quartet No. 3, Op. 94, written late in the composer’s life. Britten wrote the quartet on his last visit to Italy and incorporated quotations from his opera Death in Venice.

The concert will conclude with Mendelssohn‘s youthful, lyrical String Quartet in E-flat major, Op. 12, written when the composer was only 20 years old. MORE

Published September 18, 2015
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[ concerts ]

Brentano String Quartet performs season-closing concert May 13

brentano_vThe Yale School of Music presents the Brentano String Quartet on Wednesday, May 13, 2015 at 7:30 pm. The acclaimed ensemble will play music by Haydn, Brahms, and James MacMillan.

This concert, which was rescheduled from January because of snow, is the last event in the 2014–2015 season of the Oneppo Chamber Music Series, which is under the artistic direction of David Shifrin. The concert will also stream live on the School of Music’s website.
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The concert will begin with the first in Haydn‘s set of “Prussian” quartets, his Quartet No. 36 in B-flat major, Op. 50, No.1. Haydn’s six quartets comprising Op. 50 were a response to a gift of a golden ring to Haydn by King Frederick William II of Prussia. The B-flat major quartet features the cello in an interesting solo role, playing lone B-flats at significant moments throughout the piece. It is no coincidence that the King of Prussia happened to be an avid cellist. MORE

Published May 8, 2015
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[ concerts ]

New Music New Haven features composer-pianist Vijay Iyer April 2

iyer-nmnhThe Yale School of Music presents a New Music New Haven concert featuring composer/pianist Vijay Iyer  on Thursday, April 2 at 7:30 pm. The concert features Iyer performing with the Brentano String Quartet, as well as new pieces by YSM student composers.

Iyer’s Time, Place, Action, a 25-minute quintet for piano and strings, was written for the Brentano Quartet’s “Fragments” project. In Iyer’s words, the ensemble asked composers “to start with a fragment by an Old Master, and create something out of it. I used a short fragment by Mozart and built something.” MORE

Published March 18, 2015
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