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.

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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
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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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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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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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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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Mark your calendar: Lunchtime Chamber Music concerts in spring 2016

chamber_music3The Yale School of Music will present four Lunchtime Chamber Music concerts in the winter and spring of 2016. These free concerts feature a variety of chamber music and ensembles composed of graduate musicians who have come from around the world to study at the Yale School of Music.

The chamber music program at the Yale School of Music is directed by Wendy Sharp.

All concerts begin at 12:30 pm and are free and open to the public; no tickets are required. Details on the venues are below. MORE

Published January 13, 2016
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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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