Concert to showcase former students of Boris Berman

Boris Berman

On Wednesday, April 4, several former students of faculty pianist and Horowitz Piano Series Artistic Director Boris Berman will perform a concert that celebrates his 70th birthday, which takes place the day before, and the work Berman has done at YSM since joining the School’s faculty in 1984.

“We have so many wonderful alums among the graduates of the piano department,” Berman said. The challenge in putting this concert together was identifying which alumni would perform. He decided to build a program around recent graduates who have had success at international competitions.

The program will feature sisters Esther Park ’12AD ’13MMA ’17DMA and Sun-A Park ’16AD ’17MMA, performing together as Duo Amadeae; Ronaldo Rolim ’20DMA; Henry Kramer ’13AD ’19DMA; and Larry Weng ’14MMA ’19DMA and Yevgeny Yontov ’14MM ’20DMA, performing as part of the icarus Quartet, which also includes percussionists Jeff Stern ’16AD and Matthew Keown ’16MM ’20DMA. Berman asked each pianist to propose several pieces of repertoire, then “tried to make a varied program of different styles.” The program will feature works by Schubert, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Albéniz, Ravel, and Bartók.

Duo Amadeae won first prize at the Chicago International Duo Piano Competition in 2016. Rolim won Astral Artists’ 2017 national auditions. Kramer earned second prize at the 2016 Queen Elisabeth Competition, of which Weng was named a laureate. And Yontov was a finalist at the 15th Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition.

While the April 4 program showcases Berman’s students, he is quick to celebrate the collaborative nature of YSM’s piano department. When pianists arrive at YSM to study, they can expect to cross paths with all piano faculty members. “We have a department in which we truly enjoy being together,” Berman said. “Very often, I send my students to play for my colleagues.” Two of those colleagues, Wei-Yi Yang and Deputy Dean Melvin Chen, are Berman’s former students. The primary criteria Berman and his piano faculty colleagues use in selecting pianists for admission is artistic individuality. “We are in the position to select people who are both very engaged intellectually and also wonderful artists,” he said of the students who enroll at the School of Music. “It is not by accident that every year we have applicants from the best schools.”

Esther Park enrolled at YSM and joined Berman’s studio after earning an undergraduate and graduate degree from The Juilliard School and then studying at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hannover. “He respected the background that I came from,” she said. “He knew exactly what I needed.” Talking with Berman about music, Park said, is “like speaking with Yoda.”

The piano department at YSM is unique, Park said, because of the faculty members’ relationships. When she was working on music by Schubert or Schumann, Berman would encourage Park to play for Peter Frankl. In turn, pianists from other faculty members’ studios play certain repertoire — Prokofiev, for example — for Berman. Park takes that approach at East Tennessee State University, where she is an assistant professor of piano.

Kramer, who is an assistant teaching professor at the University of Missouri–Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, also spoke about the collaborative environment at YSM. “We all would play for each other and help disseminate ideas that had come to us through Prof. Berman,” Kramer said. “The overall environment at YSM is very intense and expecting the highest caliber of music-making, but at the same time you feel that the fabric of the faculty, students, and administration weaves together to create this wonderful network of support propelling you to achieve your own personal best results. I am honored to have the opportunity to celebrate my school and my professor during this concert.”

Berman points out that he, in turn, learns plenty from his students. Sometimes a student’s performance will remain “a reference for me,” he said, explaining that he will find himself “convinced,” after hearing a particular interpretation.

“It’s a fascinating field,” he said, “and it is a great privilege to work with so many talented people.”

On Wednesday, April 4, alumni who studied with faculty pianist and Horowitz Piano Series Artistic Director Boris Berman return from international successes to perform at the School of Music.

PROGRAM DETAILS & TICKETS

Published April 2, 2018
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YSM Dean Robert Blocker to perform with colleagues, Yale Philharmonia

Robert Blocker

Faculty pianist and YSM Dean Robert Blocker

If there is one composer whose music has always resonated deeply with School of Music Dean Robert Blocker, it is Mozart. “From my earliest memories I loved Mozart,” Blocker said. As a young musician, he said, “there was something magical about the sound.”

On Wednesday, March 7, Blocker will share his love of Mozart’s music with the Horowitz Piano Series audience in a concert featuring members of the School’s piano faculty — including recently retired professor Peter Frankl — and members of the Yale Philharmonia, led by YSM lecturer-in-music and New Haven Symphony Orchestra Music Director William Boughton.

The all-Mozart program, a study in collaboration, to be sure, will begin with a performance, with faculty pianists Boris Berman and Wei-Yi Yang, of Carl Czerny’s piano-six-hands arrangement of the Overture to Le nozze di Figaro. Blocker will then be joined by members of the Yale Philharmonia for a performance of Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major, K. 488.

Blocker has played K. 488 more than any other concerto. “I truly love that piece,” he said. “I learned it with my first and only piano teacher before I went to college. I always learn new things in the piece.”

While the Sonata for Piano Four-Hands in B-flat major, K.358/186c, which he will perform with faculty pianist and School of Music Deputy Dean Melvin Chen, is new repertoire for Blocker. The Concerto No. 10 for Two Pianos in E-flat major, K. 365/316a, which he will perform with Frankl and the Philharmonia, is one that holds special significance.

“When Peter Frankl celebrated his 70th birthday” in 2005, Blocker said, “he invited me to play the Double Concerto with him.” For this occasion, he said, “it just seems like the most wonderful thing to do — create a program and have Peter be part of that.”

The concert, for Blocker, is a celebration of the education he receives every day at YSM. “Colleagues have given me the kind of musical fabric that makes every day better than it deserves to be. The best thing about this job,” he said, “is learning from students and faculty. I don’t even pretend to know what they know. That’s the joy in this.” As he sees it, the March 7 program offers a chance to have all involved “touching the hem of Mozart’s coat.” It is also an opportunity for Blocker to share with an audience the music that for him remains “a musical compass.”

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Published March 5, 2018
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YSM welcomes two artist diploma candidates to prestigious program

Sirena Huang, left, and Szymon Nehring

In the fall, the Yale School of Music will welcome two new artist diploma candidates to the program. Violinist Sirena Huang, who is currently enrolled in YSM’s master of music program, will now pursue an artist diploma. Pianist Szymon Nehring will enter the AD program having previously studied at the Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Huang and Nehring will join pianist Vyacheslav Gryaznov in the program, whose curriculum was revised in 2014 to serve instrumentalists and vocalists who are on the cusp of major international solo careers.

“The artist diploma is our highest performance degree,” YSM Deputy Dean Melvin Chen said. “The two entering the program in the fall exemplify the type of artist diploma candidate we are looking for — bright, inquisitive, and unique artists who are gaining recognition through top prizes in major international competitions.”

Huang, who studies with Hyo Kang, recently won the New York Concert Artists Worldwide Debut Audition for Violinists and the inaugural Elmar Oliveira International Violin Competition. Earlier this month, Nehring won the 15th Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition. He will study with Boris Berman at YSM. MORE

Published May 17, 2017
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Yale celebrates Adams Center grand opening

Adams Center for Musical Arts | Photo by Bob Handelman

Adams Center for Musical Arts | Photo by Bob Handelman

The Yale University community and distinguished guests on Thursday celebrated the grand opening of the new Adams Center for Musical Arts. It was an event in the stunning orchestra rehearsal hall at which a great debt of gratitude was paid to Stephen ’59BA and Denise Adams, whose continued generosity helped make the complex that bears their names a reality.

“This is a day not just for music,” Yale University President Peter Salovey said, “but it is a day for Yale University, as well, because this is a day where our University places an exclamation point on a place to study music that is second to none for graduate students and undergraduates, alike.

Peter Salovey dedicates the Adams Center | Photo by Harold Shapiro

Peter Salovey dedicates the Adams Center | Photo by Harold Shapiro

“One Yale — a place that celebrates a great college set alongside a great professional school, a place that gives our superb musicians from across all of our campus magnificent facilities to make music together during their bright college and their bright university years. We are really humbled by the extraordinary generosity and vision of Stephen and Denise Adams, our principal donors to this project … Their profound profound love of music, and of Yale, is what shines throughout this shining new light of campus architecture.”

Salovey also acknowledged the visionary leadership of School of Music Dean Robert Blocker, saying, “Every project that I have witnessed at Yale needs someone who has (an) uncompromising eye, and when that project has someone with that eye, it always comes out wonderfully. And Robert was the uncompromising eye behind this.”

In the Adams Center, Blocker sees his — and the Adamses’ — dreams for Music at Yale. MORE

Published February 17, 2017
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Paul Hawkshaw to retire as Director of Norfolk Chamber Music Festival

Music Shed at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival

Music Shed at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival

Robert Blocker, Dean of the Yale School of Music, announced today that the School of Music and the Yale Summer School of Music/Norfolk Chamber Music Festival will have a major leadership transition in 2016. Paul Hawkshaw, who has served as the festival’s director since 2004, will retire after the 2016 season. Melvin Chen, Deputy Dean of the Yale School of Music, has been appointed as Hawkshaw’s successor.

Under Hawkshaw’s leadership, the program has flourished. Audiences perennially flock to the bucolic setting, with ticket sales continuing to grow even while other classical music organizations around the world suffer from declining attendance. Ambitious restoration projects are ensuring that Norfolk’s buildings will endure: Whitehouse has been restored to its former beauty after its recovery from devastating water damage, and the first phase of the Music Shed restoration has provided a new roof, siding, and a beautifully reconstructed cupola atop the 1906 acoustic gem.

“Paul Hawkshaw has been a transformative and visionary leader for the Norfolk program,” noted Dean Blocker. “Perhaps even most significant is the warmth with which Hawkshaw has established close relationships between the festival and the surrounding community.” The Hartford Courant has hailed the “unity between the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival and the town where the Yale program is located.… these days there’s plenty of outreach by the Yale Summer School of Music and the Yale Summer School of Art on the estate.” In that same article, Hawkshaw noted the “symbiotic relationship” between the festival and the town. MORE

Published January 15, 2016
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Wendy Sharp offers chamber music recital Jan 31

sharp_wendy_web_hThe Faculty Artist Series at the Yale School of Music presents violinist Wendy Sharp and friends in a chamber music recital on SundayJanuary 31 at 4:00 pm. Sharp will be joined by fellow YSM faculty member Melvin Chen, piano, as well as by Julie Kim, violin, Marka Gustavsson, viola, and Mimi Hwang, cello.

The program opens with the first of Haydn‘s many string quartets: the Quartet in B-flat major, Op. 1, No. 1. This is followed by Ernö Dohnányi‘s Serenade in C major for string trio, Op. 10, which the composer based on Beethoven’s Op. 8 Serenade for string trio.

Closing the program, all five players will come together for Elgar‘s Piano Quintet in A minor, Op. 84.  MORE

Published January 7, 2016
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Melvin Chen offers premiere of interactive piece Dec. 2

Melvin Chen, Deputy Dean and piano facultyThe Horowitz Piano Series at the Yale School of Music presents a recital by faculty pianist Melvin Chen on WednesdayDecember 2 at 7:30 pm.

The program, encompassing music from the nineteenth century to the present day, includes music by Franz Schubert and contemporary composers Jason Freeman, Earle Brown, and Jaroslaw Kapuscinski.

The premiere is of Shadows, a new piece written expressly for Chen by Jason Freeman for piano, laptop, and projection. Freeman’s artistic practice focuses on using technology to engage diverse audiences in collaborative, experimental, and accessible musical experiences. MORE

Published November 17, 2015
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Piano Master Class Series 2015-16

kaplinsky-yoheved

Yoheved Kaplinsky

The Piano Master Class Series at YSM is under way for the 2015–16 season. The series gives piano students at Yale valuable opportunities to perform in piano master classes given by our internationally renowned faculty and visiting artists.

The 2015–16 Series began with two members of the YSM Faculty: on September 24 with Wei-Yi Yang and October 1 with Boris Berman. Upcoming for the fall semester are master classes with faculty members Peter Frankl, Melvin Chen, and Hung-Kuan Chen, as well as visiting artists Yves Henry, Yoheved Kaplinsky, and Amy Lin.

Most master classes take place Thursdays in Morse Recital Hall at 10:30 am. Arrangements can be made for audience members who wish to attend these classes; there is no charge. Interested audience members should send an email in advance.

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Published October 14, 2015
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Peter Frankl celebrates his 80th birthday with collaborative performance Oct. 21

Peter Frankl, piano

Peter Frankl, piano

The Horowitz Piano Series at the Yale School of Music presents Peter Frankl and friends in recital on Sunday, October 21 at 7:30 pm. The concert features Mr. Frankl playing music for two pianos and piano four hands with his colleagues on the Yale piano faculty.

Frankl will perform Mozart’s Sonata in D major for two pianos, with YSM dean Robert Blocker; Schubert’s Rondo in A major, with Michael Friedmann; Brahms’ Sixteen Waltzes, with Boris Berman; Mozart’s Variations in G major, with Melvin Chen; Schubert’s Lebensstürme, with Wei-Yi Yang; and selections from Bartók’s Mikrokosmos, with Hung-Kuan Chen.

Peter Frankl has been on the faculty of the Yale School of Music since 1987. He has numerous recordings to his name, including the complete works for piano by Schumann and Debussy, concertos and four-hand works by Mozart, and the two Brahms piano concertos. In recognition of his artistic achievements, Mr. Frankl was awarded the Officer’s Cross by the Hungarian Republic, and on his seventieth birthday he was given one of the highest civilian awards in Hungary for his lifetime artistic achievement in the world of music. MORE

Published October 9, 2015
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Violinist Wendy Sharp and friends perform chamber music Jan. 25

sharpThe Faculty Artist Series at the Yale School of Music presents award-winning violinist Wendy Sharp and friends in a chamber music concert on Sunday, January 25 at 4:00 pm.

Ms. Sharp will be joined by fellow Yale faculty member Melvin Chen, piano, as well as Marka Gustavsson, viola, and Mimi Hwang, cello.

The concert opens with Beethoven’s Serenade, Op. 8, for violin, viola, and cello. This will be followed by three movements from George Tsontakis’ Knicknacks, a duet for violin and cello. MORE

Published January 23, 2015
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