Convocation 2017 defines YSM as place for “Music Among Friends”

School of Music Dean Robert Blocker often describes music as “the currency of hope” and has long championed the School’s commitment to inclusivity and diversity. That commitment was reiterated emphatically on Thursday night in his 2017 Convocation speech, “Music Among Friends,” in which he celebrated “courage, inclusivity and diversity, connectedness, tolerance and respect, and compassion.” Upon its founding, he said, “the School of Music opened wide its doors and heart to all those who brought their gifts of talent and intellectual curiosity to campus.” Today, Blocker pointed out, the School stands in solidarity with those whose place in our community hangs in the balance.

“All of us bring anxieties, concerns, and even fears about the human condition to this room tonight,” he told new and returning students, faculty, staff, alumni, and guests, “for we live in a time in which human dignity and indeed humanity are being assaulted throughout the world. Nothing, I think, is as incomprehensible and unimaginable as the vengeful rescindment of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, known as DACA. Now, these young people we call Dreamers live with fear rather than hope. This action touches our community profoundly because we are witnesses to the deep grief and stressful uncertainty these Dreamers and their families suddenly face. I do believe reasonable and compassionate leaders among us hear and feel the anguished cries of Dreamers and that they, with our encouragement and support, will find a way to keep their American dream alive.”

Connecting YSM’s values to its mission, Blocker said, “music teaches us that every voice is distinct and important, that each is necessary for harmony, and that is precisely why we know that our combined voices will help repair our troubled world.”

Following University Provost Benjamin Polak’s installation of the incoming class, whose members come from five continents, 25 countries, 26 states, and 58 institutions, Convocation attendees sang Schubert’s An die Musik (with Franz von Schober’s text, as translated by YSM faculty bass-baritone Richard Cross), as is School tradition. Blocker then delivered his remarks before introducing the faculty, alumni, and current students who performed as part of the ceremony.

Violinist Daniel S. Lee ’06MM ’08AD, a newly appointed faculty member in early music whose ensemble, The Sebastians, is in residence at the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments, performed Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber’s Sonata No. 3 in F major, C. 140 (from Sonatae, violino solo) with faculty harpsichordist Arthur Haas. Bass-baritone Dashon Burton ’11MM sang “Grosser Herr, o starker König,” from Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248, and “Mache dich, mein Herze rein,” from the St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244, with pianist David Fung ’11MM ’13MMA ’17DMA. And violinist Sirena Huang ’19AD performed Tchaikovsky’s Valse-Scherzo, Op. 34, with pianist Lam Wong ’18MM.

The performances added punctuation to Blocker’s remarks, which concluded with him telling members of the incoming class that “here at YSM, you will experience fully the gift that is ‘Music Among Friends,’ and encouraging all in attendance, referencing a favorite story about Robert Louis Stevenson, to “take hope, and make holes in the dark with the beauty and light of your music.”

Photos by Harold Shapiro

Published September 8, 2017
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[ concerts ]

Arthur Haas and friends perform chamber works on period instruments Jan. 30

Arthur HaasThe Faculty Artist Series at the Yale School of Music presents a recital featuring harpsichordist Arthur Haas on Saturday, January 30 at 7:30 pm. Haas will be joined by Yale alumnus Daniel S. Lee on Baroque violin, as well as by Sang Joon Park, Baroque flute, and Martha McGaughey, viola da gamba.

The program, entitled Crossing the Rhine, will showcase early 18th-century chamber music from France and Germany, including selections by Rameau, Couperin, Telemann, and Bach. MORE

Published January 7, 2016
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The Sebastians perform at the Collection of Musical Instruments Oct. 25

sebastians-webThe Yale Collection of Musical Instruments presents The Sebastians in a concert on Sunday, October 25 at 3:00 pm.

The performance, called Orfeo del Violino, will feature solo and trio sonatas by Arcangelo Corelli and his predecessors.

“As the legendary Orpheus used his music as a rhetorical weapon, Corelli brought a new level of virtuosity and expression to violin playing,” explain The Sebastians about this program. “Corelli’s infectious harmonic and structural language took Europe by storm, but it was his older Roman compatriots, including Lelio Colista, Girolamo Frescobaldi, and Alessandro Stradella, who set the stage.”

Published October 14, 2015
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[ reviews ]

New York Times: Violin Sonatas Suffuse Lent

New York Times
By Vivien Schweitzer

The Sonata No. 10 “The Crucifixion,” by the 17th-century virtuoso violinist Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber, unfolds in a blaze of effects, beginning with slashing chords perhaps intended to depict the nailing of Jesus to the cross.

The violinist Daniel S. Lee offered a fleet-fingered, passionate interpretation of the work on Saturday at St. Ignatius of Antioch Episcopal Church on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, part of Tenet’s TENEbrae series commemorating Lent.

The 18th-century English historian Charles Burney wrote that “of all the violin players of the last century, Biber seems to have been the best, and his solos are the most difficult and most fanciful of any music I have seen of the same period.” Biber composed a large catalog of instrumental and vocal music, but is largely remembered for his violin sonatas. MORE

Published March 24, 2014
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