YSM alumni take home Grammy Awards

The National’s “Sleep Well Beast”

Several Yale School of Music alumni won Grammy Awards on Sunday, Jan. 28. Please join us in congratulating the following musicians on this exciting accomplishment.

Guitarist Bryce Dessner ’99MM won as a member of The National, whose album Sleep Well Beast won in the “Best Alternative Music Album” category.

Saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom ’77MM earned an award as a surround producer in the “Best Surround Sound Album” category for her Early Americans.

Violinists Irene Cheng ’94MM and Louis Lev ’90MM and trombonist Rebecca Cherian ’81MM won as members of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in the “Best Orchestral Performance” category for the ensemble’s recording of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 and Barber’s Adagio for Strings. For that recording, which was engineered by Mark Donahue, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra also won in the “Best Engineered Album, Classical” category.

Violinists Maureen Nelson ’00MM and Kayla Moffett ’13MM and cellist Joshua Koestenbaum ’80MM won as members of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra in the “Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance” category for the ensemble’s Death and the Maiden album, which features music by Dowland, Gesualdo, Kurtág, Normiger, and Schubert.

Published January 29, 2018
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YSM now accepting applications for fall 2018 enrollment

Violinist Wynton Grant ’17MM. Photo by Matt Fried

The School of Music is now accepting applications for enrollment in fall 2018. “We have openings in all areas, including the tuba and harpsichord studios and the orchestral conducting program,” Donna Yoo, YSM’s director of admissions and alumni affairs, said. “It is unusual for us to have available spaces across all programs, and we are looking forward to welcoming new students to all areas of study.”

The Admissions Office anticipates interest in the School’s revamped B.A./M.M. program, which is now open to applications from high-school seniors. The program, Yoo said, “should appeal to students who are interested in pursuing both academic and musical excellence at an Ivy League institution.”

The School will announce available fellowship opportunities in December. These would include openings in the string quartet fellowship program and the recently launched collaborative piano program. Applications for the Morse Postgraduate Teaching Artist Fellowship will also be accepted starting in December.

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Published September 15, 2017
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Achievements celebrated at annual Honors Dinner

Carol Colburn Grigor, recipient of the Samuel Simons Sanford Award

Left to right: Benjamin Polak, Peter Salovey, Samuel Simons Sanford Award winner Carol Colburn Grigor, and Robert Blocker

The Yale School of Music held its annual Honors Dinner on Sunday, May 7, welcoming students and alumni, faculty and staff, and distinguished guests to the Yale Commons for an evening of celebration. After thanking recently retired staff members for their service and acknowledging the University officers who were in attendance, YSM Dean Robert Blocker presented Carol Colburn Grigor ’69MMA CBE with the School’s highest honor, the Samuel Simons Sanford Award. Grigor, Blocker, said, “is one of America’s most generous … most thoughtful philanthropists.” Composer and former Edinburgh International Festival director Jonathan Mills congratulated Grigor via video.

Willie Ruff, recipient of the Nathan Hale Award

Left to right: Benjamin Polak, Peter Salovey, Nathan Hale Award recipient Willie Ruff, and Robert Blocker

Dean Blocker, with University President Peter Salovey and Yale Provost Benjamin Polak at his side, presented longtime YSM professor Willie Ruff ’53BM ’54MM, who will retire at the end of the semester, with the University’s prestigious Nathan Hale Award. “He’s changed all our lives,” Blocker said, before attendees were shown a video tribute to Ruff’s life and work. In a nod to the man who indirectly inspired him decades ago to study at YSM, Ruff said, “I thank, most of all, Charlie Parker.” The jazz office in the Yale School of Music’s Adams Center for Musical Arts was recently named in Ruff’s honor.

Left to right: Benjamin Polak, Peter Salovey, Ian Mininberg Distinguished Service Award winner Warren Lee, and Robert Blocker

Blocker presented the Ian Mininberg Distinguished Service Award to pianist Warren Lee ’00MM and the Cultural Leadership Citation to retiring Yale Collection of Musical Instruments curator William Nicholas Renouf ’71MMA. The Collection’s director, William Purvis, accepted the Citation on behalf of Renouf, who was unable to attend the Honors Dinner. Before presenting student prizes, Blocker referenced an impressive number of awards and successes earned and realized this year by students, faculty, and staff. He recognized longtime YSM faculty pianist Peter Frankl, who plans to retire in the fall, for his dedication to the School community.

At the end of the evening, Blocker told the students in attendance, “Claim the future. It belongs to you. You will make us better.” What follows is a list of the student prizes awarded during YSM’s 2017 Honors Dinner. MORE

Published May 9, 2017
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YSM students receive grant from Yale Entrepreneurial Institute’s Venture Creation Program

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Left to right: Igor Lichtmann, Jiwon Sun, Lydia Consilvio, Chris Garwood, and Felice Doynov

A group of five Yale School of Music students have received a grant from the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute’s Venture Creation Program to create a Practice Portal designed to foster dialogue about effective approaches to practicing. The grant includes a $1,000 cash investment and enrollment in YEI’s five-week series of lean-startup workshops. Grantees are also connected with YEI’s network of mentors and a dedicated student Venture Creation Advisor from the Yale School of Management.

The YSM students — oboist Lydia Consilvio ’17MM, flutist Felice Doynov ’17MM, guitarists Chris Garwood ’17MM and Igor Lichtmann ’18MM, and violinist Jiwon Sun ’17MM — developed their project idea after having related discussions during a course taught by YSM’s coordinator of career strategies, Astrid Baumgardner.

“A huge part of our daily life consists of practicing, three to eight hours a day for most people,” Doynov said. “And if we’re not practicing as effectively as possible, we’re not getting better as quickly as possible. What we want to do is use modern technology and the resources we have at Yale to bring musicians valuable information in an online community that focuses on practicing.”

Doynov and her colleagues are in the process of launching a website and have been uploading content to Practice Portal Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. Doynov said they hope to launch a Practice Portal app, as well.

“The Venture Creation Program,” according to the YEI website, “was created to catalyze and support the growth of new, early-stage ventures at Yale. It is dedicated to providing resources for entrepreneurial teams to commercialize promising, unique products or services.”

Kassie Tucker, YEI’s program director, said the students who conceived Practice Portal are “trying to be innovative in a not-always-innovative space” and are trying to improve on an area that’s a “pain point” for many musicians.

YALE ENTREPRENEURIAL INSTITUTE

Published November 18, 2016
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Jiyeon “Jiji” Kim, Samuel Suggs take top honors at Concert Artists Guild competition

Jiyeon "Jiji" Kim and Samuel Suggs

Jiyeon “Jiji” Kim and Samuel Suggs

Guitarist Jiyeon “Jiji” Kim ’17MM has won the Victor and Sono Elmaleh First Prize at the Concert Artists Guild’s 2016 Victor Elmaleh Competition and double bassist Samuel Suggs ’14MM ’20DMA has been named the organization’s New Music/New Places Fellow. Each will receive a management contract from the Concert Artists Guild and will be presented in recital in New York City. Kim also earned a $5,000 cash award.

The final round of the competition took place on October 27 at Merkin Concert Hall at the Kaufman Music Center in New York City and was judged by an eight-person jury.

Steven Shaiman, the Concert Artists Guild’s senior vice president and director of artist management, said Kim’s “musical skill and talent combined with [her] overall stage presence and persona as an artist who has real potential for a career” factored into her success at the competition.

“Sam also stood out as a unique artist worthy of having the opportunity to develop what he’s doing,” Shaiman said. The Concert Artists Guild’s New Music/New Places program, Shaiman said, was devised a little more than 10 years ago to help develop artists’ unique visions and to bring those visions into “non-traditional venues” such as bars, clubs, cabarets, and art galleries.

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Published November 2, 2016
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[ students & alumni ]

Guitarist Rupert Boyd ’08AD releases new album

Rupert Boyd

Rupert Boyd

Classical guitarist Rupert Boyd ’08AD has released a new solo CD, Fantasías, on the Little Mystery Records label. The album was first released in Boyd’s native Australia and was released in the United States in June.

Guitar Salon International uploaded three videos featuring tracks from the recording, including Astor Piazzolla’s Otono Porteno, the album’s opening track.

Boyd’s playing has received overwhelmingly positive reviews both in the United States and in Australia. In the words of The Canberra Times, “Boyd handles shifts in style and period with aplomb … this whole disc is a high-quality achievement by one of Canberra’s impressive talents.” The guitar review site Minor 7th also heaped praise on the album, writing that “the recording took place in an English church and one can almost see the smile of satisfaction and approval on God’s face as if in validation of Boyd’s flawless technique and expressive interpretation. Fantasías is a ‘must hear’ experience for the avid classical guitar audience …  You won’t be disappointed.” MORE

Published October 21, 2016
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YSM guitarists launch record label, issue new releases

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Benjamin Verdery

In June, Elm City Records released new albums by Yale School of Music faculty member Benjamin Verdery and alumnus Solomon Silber ’14BA ’16MM. The record label was founded by the two guitarists as a platform for “giving the public so much more than a traditional CD,” Silber said. “That’s the new paradigm we’re trying to create.”

Four projects were released with the label’s launch: The Ben Verdery Guitar Project: On Vineyard Sound, which features music by Yale composers as well as a piece by Verdery himself; Silber’s latest release, Mano a Mano; a documentary film about Australian composer Nicole Murphy’s Stolen, a work written for Silber and chamber ensemble that was inspired by Richard James Allen’s poem A Scheme for Brightness; and a recording (with accompanying video) by Verdery’s students of Terry Riley’s Y Bolanzero. The label’s website also features audio clips, videos of Verdery and Silber performing music from their new albums, and extensive liner notes.

Two additional recordings by Silber, Diabolico and Waterfront Sessions, are also available through Elm City Records. MORE

Published July 27, 2016
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An Tran ’16MM wins first prize at 2016 Hamilton International Guitar Competition

An Tran

An Tran

An Tran ’16MM won first prize at the 2016 Hamilton International Guitar Competition in Ontario, Canada, earning a cash prize, custom handmade guitar, and an appearance at the 2017 Hamilton Guitar Festival.

At age 12, Tran won the top prize at the Vietnam National Guitar Competition. He has since won the Lincoln Academy of Illinois’ Student Laureate Award and top prizes at the Society of American Musicians Guitar Competition, Evanston Music Club Competition, and Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra Young Artist International Competition, among others. In 2010, Tran earned the Best Overseas Student Award, which was presented by the vice president of Vietnam. In 2015, he was invited to perform Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez with the Hanoi Philharmonic Orchestra.

A native of Hanoi, Tran studied at the Vietnam National Academy of Music, and received his Bachelor of Arts in Music from North Park University in Chicago, where he studied with Julie Goldberg and Tom Zelle. In May 2016, Tran graduated with his Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music, where he studied with Benjamin Verdery. While at Yale, he also served as a Teaching Artist for YSM’s Music in Schools Initiative. Tran will begin pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Northwestern University in the fall.

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Published July 15, 2016
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[ students & alumni ]

Scott Morris ’96 MM elected Music Department Chair at CSU Dominguez Hills

Scott Morris

Scott Morris

The California State University Dominguez Hills Department of Music has announced that Scott Morris ’96 MM has been unanimously elected by the faculty to serve as its next Department Chair. Morris had previously served as the Supervisor of Guitar Studies for the past decade at CSU Dominguez Hills.

Morris is responsible for a number of exciting new hires at the department including Julian Coryell (guitarist, producer, and member of Alanis Morrisette’s band), Matthew Greif (member of the GRAMMY-winning LAGQ), and David Isaacs (classical guitarist). He also directed the 2007 GFA Convention and Competition at CSU Dominguez Hills as well as a number of guitar festivals and events.

Scott Morris is an accomplished classical guitarist with numerous commercially available recordings on record labels such as AIX Records, Eroica Classical Recordings, and Centaur Records. He is also the author of the popular guitar method book series Classical Guitar Complete: From Basics to Bach (MidShelf Music Publications). His latest project is a book of his original arrangements and CD recording of the music of Erik Satie entitled Phonology: The Music of Erik Satie for Guitar. AIX Records released the recording and MidShelf Music published the book of scores. The project featured rare French guitars by makers such as Bouchet, Friedrich, Rohé, Ligier, and Field supplied by Guitar Salon International. GRAMMY-winner Andrew York joined him as a guest artist on the recording.

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Published June 15, 2016
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[ concerts ]

Guitar Chamber Music May 12 features a premiere by Max Lyman

yale-guitars-ny

The Yale School of Music presents Guitar Chamber Music on ThursdayMay 12 at 7:30 pm. The recital will feature students in the guitar studio of Benjamin Verdery as they perform chamber works that feature the guitar in a variety of ensembles.

The first half of the program features three duos for guitar with other solo instruments. It begins with Manuel de Falla’s Siete Canciones Populares Españolas for cello and guitar, followed by Paul Lansky’s Partita for percussion and guitar.

Current YSM student and a guitarist Max Lyman will premiere his duo Elevenses, scored for double bass and guitar, followed by Steve Goss’s American Pastoral and Antonio Vivaldi’s Lute Concerto in D major.

The concert takes place at Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Hall (470 College Street, New Haven), and is free and open to the public. The event will also stream live online.

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Published May 10, 2016
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