Yale Percussion Group to perform music by Matt Keown and recent graduates

Left to right: YoungKyoung Lee, Matt Keown, and Sam Um

In early November, six members of the Yale Percussion Group arranged themselves in a line and rehearsed a snare-drum piece by current DMA candidate Matt Keown, who guided his colleagues, measure by measure, through the rudimental-style drumming that he grew up with. “My first instrument was a drum pad,” Keown ’16MM said, explaining that he followed his father, Alan Keown, into the practice of percussion — specifically, marching percussion, a world that for most is far-removed from the styles and techniques that Matt and his colleagues are studying with YPG Director Robert van Sice at YSM.

In composing Mélange, so named because it commemorates his time at YSM, Keown said, “I was really worried about it,” because “there’s still this stigma that marching percussion is ‘less than’ art music.” Keown also said he “had to be really careful about how difficult to make it,” given that his colleagues didn’t grow up with the style. While “it’s technically really challenging,” he said, “if they didn’t like it, they wouldn’t work on it.” In addition to the music in Mélange, there is a theatrical element, based on the visual aspects of drum-corps performances.

If Keown was worried about his colleagues warming to his piece, van Sice was not. “They’re all over it,” the YPG director said.

On Sunday, Nov. 12, van Sice will lead the YPG in a program that’s rich in music by YSM alumni — including percussionist Leonardo Gorosito ’11MM ’12AD and composer Andy Akiho ’11MM — in addition to works by Philippe Manoury and Alejandro Viñao.

The program begins with Seeds, a piece by Gorosito and Rafael Alberto for various shakers that’ll be played by Keown and Yale College student Adrian Lin, whom van Sice called the “adopted younger brother of the YPG.” The first half also includes Akiho’s Pillar IV, which van Sice described as “groove music,” Manoury’s Le livre des claviers (II. Duo de marimbas), and Keown’s Mélange. The second half of the program features Viñao’s Water.

During rehearsals for the performance, van Sice talked about the approach he’s taken, over the past 20 years, in developing artists who think, always, like the most musically selfless of chamber-music practitioners. Playing chamber music, van Sice has said, is like “group parachuting.”

“Music and the art of playing music is something that is larger than we are,” he said, explaining, proudly, that the members of the YPG “know how to musically interact with other people.” And while that might seem like a no-brainer, it’s not necessarily the case elsewhere. Flowery talk is common in chamber-music circles, van Sice said, “but we really do try to walk that walk.”

The professionalism on display during YPG rehearsals is its own reward. As much as he gives them direction, van Sice said, “they inspire me back. They’re an inspiring group to work with.”

BUY TICKETS TO THE NOVEMBER 12 YALE PERCUSSION GROUP CONCERT

Published November 8, 2017
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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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Violinist and YSM alum Jessica Oddie, on music education in the United States and abroad

Jessica Oddie

Since she graduated from the Yale School of Music, violinist Jessica Oddie ’13BA ’15MM has been living in Germany, “playing chamber music of all varieties and working in educational initiatives, supported by a DAAD [German Academic Exchange Service] fellowship to research the differences between the European and American systems of music education.” We talked recently with Oddie, who was immersed in the Lincoln Center Teaching Artist Development Labs “discovering how I can deepen my teaching artistry further,” about her time at YSM and how it informed what she’s doing now.

Q: How did participating as a Teaching Artist in YSM’s Music in Schools Initiative influence what you’re doing today?

A: My time in MISI strengthened my belief that we as artists have a strong imperative to share our passion and knowledge, not only through performance but also through teaching. MISI offered me an opportunity to be involved in my community as a musician and educator, while also providing a platform to engage with ideas about art and education with colleagues, mentors, and other professionals. MISI’s commitment to creating another musical community in New Haven, and YSM’s support for innovation in that field, inspired me to continue this work when I moved to Germany, at a time when cultural exchange, multiculturalism, and how these themes influence music education are particularly important topics.

In Germany, I’ve worked in collaborations between music schools and normal schools, bringing music education to students who would not otherwise have an opportunity to try out an instrument, including students from difficult socioeconomic or refugee backgrounds. I’ve been involved in conversations at the Musikhochschule Stuttgart and the recent Germany-wide Musikschule Kongress, exploring how music education can be inclusive of new members of European society, especially through intercultural music collaboration and exchange. I started a project at a local middle school aimed at getting young string players excited about upcoming orchestral performances in the area, by arranging orchestral repertoire for players of all levels. By playing this repertoire, whether they were beginners who were pizzing open strings or advanced students playing an excerpt from the solo line of the Beethoven Violin Concerto, students got to know the pieces from the inside out.

Q: How is the work you’re doing there similar to and how is it different than what you did in New Haven as a YSM Teaching Artist?

A: My students in Germany have an enormous amount in common with my students in New Haven. Children are children, and the joy of exploring or creating something beautiful together is the same regardless of the culture. My work is therefore largely the same. One of the most important things we as teachers can do is to affirm to children the value of their experiences and the power of their creativity, and to provide them with tools to express their own voices.

The biggest difference logistically is that funding in Germany is generally from the state, so initiatives are developed in conjunction with the local government, whereas in the United States, most are developed by entrepreneurial individuals who have an idea and find the funds to make it happen.

Q: Can you share some words about the importance of programs like the Music in Schools Initiative and the one with which you’re involved now? 

A: I believe there is no task more essential to crafting a brighter future than engaging with young people about ideas, seeking and creating meaning together, and celebrating a multitude of voices. Programs like MISI inspire creativity, connect people, and strengthen communities.

Q: What would you say to incoming YSM students who might not be familiar with the Music in Schools Initiative? 

A: Absolutely get involved! You will share a lot and learn even more, from colleagues, mentors, and most of all your students. I am constantly surprised by how much I learn through teaching. I also can’t think of a more fulfilling way to spend your Saturday mornings than working with young New Haven orchestral players.

Published July 26, 2017
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Szymon Nehring wins Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition

Szymon Nehring. Photo by Piotr Markowski

Incoming YSM artist diploma candidate Szymon Nehring was named the first prize-winner of the 15th Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition in Tel Aviv, Israel. In addition to winning the Arthur Rubinstein Award (Gold Medal), Nehring won the Best Performer of a Chopin Piece, Advanced Studies, and Junior Jury prizes, as well as the Audience Favorite in the Periphery prizes for Or Yehuda and Jezrael Valley. In addition to earning $49,000 in cash awards, Nehring will perform numerous recitals as part of a concert tour organized by the Arthur Rubinstein International Music Society, which administers the competition. One of those performances, on October 26, will take place in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. MORE

Published May 16, 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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Domenic Salerni joins Dalí Quartet and wins silver in the M-Prize Competition

Salerni

Domenic Salerni

Domenic Salerni ’11 MM has been appointed first violinist of the Dalí Quartet, an ensemble that is known particularly for its excellence in Latin-American repertoire.

Furthermore, as a part of the septet Foundry, Salerni and YSM alumni Ian Rosenbaum ’10 MM ’11 AD, Andy Akiho ’11 MM, and Samuel Suggs ’14 MM, won second prize in the M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition in the open division. Foundry is an ensemble that crosses and transcends genres, innovating new sounds through the synthesis of contemporary classical techniques and jazz, reggae, Caribbean, and Soca.  The M-Prize Competition (through the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance) awarded Foundry $7000.

THE FOUNDRY
DALI QUARTET
MORE

Published June 28, 2016
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[ concerts ]

Miami String Quartet performs April 5

Miami String Quartet

Miami String Quartet

The Oneppo Chamber Music Series at the Yale School of Music presents the Miami String Quartet on Tuesday, April 5 at 7:30 pm. The quartet will perform works by Beethoven, Schulhoff, and Mendelssohn.

The program will open with Beethoven‘s String Quartet No. 11 in F minor, Op. 95, “Serioso,” which Beethoven initially composed to experiment with compositional techniques, never intending it for public performance. The resulting work contains the initial attempts at many techniques that Beethoven would come to perfect in his later works.

Next on the program is Schulhoff‘s Five Pieces for String Quartet, a neoclassical work that offers a glimpse into two eras by layering the spiky dissonances and rhythmic drive of the avant-garde atop an ornate baroque dance suite.    MORE

Published March 9, 2016
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[ faculty ]

Martin Bresnick to present session at Chamber Music America

Martin Bresnick, composer

Martin Bresnick, composer

YSM composition faculty member Martin Bresnick will offer a free session at Chamber Music America on Tuesday, March 1. The session will focus on the composer-ensemble-commissioner relationship, including how to keep fee negotiations fair and amicable, along with advice on responding to commissioning requests, setting pay scales, negotiating creative control, and getting one’s work performed more often.

The session will be held at 3pm on March 1 at Chamber Music America’s offices, located at 12 W 32nd St. in New York City. It will also be available for viewing via CMA’s live stream.

For more information and to RSVP, click here.

Published February 24, 2016
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[ concerts ]

Vista concert March 3 illuminates Mozart, Taffanel, and Stravinsky

chamber_music3The Yale School of Music presents its spring Vista concert on Thursday, March 3 at 7:30 pm. The series offers performances by YSM’s outstanding chamber ensembles, enhanced by the students’ personal commentary on the music.

Featured on this program is Mozart‘s Trio in E-flat major for clarinet, viola, and piano, K. 298, a work which helped to popularize the relatively new (at the time) clarinet. The program will also feature the Wind Quintet in G minor by nineteenth century composer Paul Taffanel. Stravinsky‘s The Rite of Spring, arranged for two pianos, will close the evening.

Wendy Sharp is the director of the chamber music program at the Yale School of Music. The concert takes place at Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Hall (470 College Street, New Haven), and is free and open to the public.

Published February 22, 2016
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[ concerts ]

Violist Ettore Causa, pianist Wei-Yi Yang perform Feb. 12 with violinist Julie Eskar

Ettore Causa, Wei-Yi Yang, and Julie Eskar

Ettore Causa, Wei-Yi Yang, and Julie Eskar

The Yale School of Music’s Faculty Artist Series presents a recital featuring violist Ettore Causa and pianist Wei-Yi Yang, along with guest violinist Julie Eskar, on Friday, February 12 at 7:30 pm. The concert will include music by Mendelssohn, Nielsen, Penderecki, Fauré, and Bruch.

The program opens with two sonatas: Felix Mendelssohn’s Sonata for Viola and Piano in C minor, MWV Q14, and Carl Nielsen’s Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 2, Op. 35. The two string players will team up for Krzysztof Penderecki’s Ciaccone for Violin and Viola.

Causa will perform his own arrangement of Gabriel Fauré’s Elegie, Op. 24, originally written for cello and orchestra. All three musicians will come together to close the concert with four selections from Max Bruch’s Pieces for Violin, Viola, and Piano, Op. 83. MORE

Published February 9, 2016
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