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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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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A Chelsea Manning-WikiLeaks Opera, Seen in a New Light

Ted Hearne

Ted Hearne

The New York Times | By Zachary Woolfe

When you make art about current events, there’s a catch: Events change.

The SourceTed Hearne’s slippery, stunning opera about Chelsea Manning and WikiLeaks, had its premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2014. The year before, Ms. Manning had been sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking secret material on the Iraq war and other American military and diplomatic activities. Many on the left viewed WikiLeaks with wary sympathy for publishing her revelations.

Since then, of course, WikiLeaks has become a liberal pariah for publishing hacked emails belonging to Hillary Clinton’s political advisers. And Ms. Manning, who transitioned from male to female in prison, will be freed in May since her sentence was commuted by President Obama just before he left office.

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Published February 22, 2017
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Yale Opera presents “Così fan tutte” at Shubert Theater for 3 shows

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Chas Rader-Shieber. Photo by Bridget Elliot

New Haven Register | By Joe Amarante

If you’re not taking advantage of the best entertainment options Yale University has to offer, it’s on you. Yale Opera, for example, does a sterling job, and the next opportunity to see a polished production comes Feb. 17-19 at the Shubert Theatre.

Così fan tutte offers not only Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s impeccable music (the overture should be very familiar) but also comedy and, as classicfm.com puts it, “a satirical tale of love that takes a cynical swipe at men and women.”

Chas Rader-Shieber, the veteran opera stage director handling the two-act production for the first time since the mid-2000s, said while he’s done unconventional things with certain operas before, there’s no reason to mess with this one.

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Published February 13, 2017
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Paweł Konik reaches finals of “Le Grand Prix de l’Opéra”

Paweł Konik | Photo by Anna Płóciennik

Paweł Konik | Photo by Anna Płóciennik

Earlier this month, bass-baritone Paweł Konik reached the final round of “Le Grand Prix de l’Opéra,” the International Voice Competition organized by the Bucharest National Opera. Konik earned a special Excellency Prize, presented by the Russian Embassy, for his interpretation of “Aleko’s Cavatina” from Rachmaninoff’s Aleko. He also performed “Vedro mentr’io sospiro” from Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro and “O du mein holder Abendstern” from Wagner’s Tannhäuser.

Konik, a native of Poland, is a member of the Yale Opera program, where he studies with Doris Yarick-Cross and Richard Cross. Konik also worked on his competition repertoire with YSM faculty members Douglas Dickson, Timothy Shaindlin, and Kyle Swann. During the 2015-2016 concert season, Konik appeared in Yale Opera productions of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Massenet’s Don Quichotte. Prior to coming to Yale, Konik attended the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice. MORE

Published August 24, 2016
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In memoriam: Phyllis Curtin, soprano

Phyllis Curtin

Phyllis Curtin

Renowned American soprano Phyllis Curtin passed away on Sunday, June 5 at age 94. From 1974 to 1983, she taught voice at the Yale School of Music, overseeing the opera program. Curtin also served as Master (now Head of College) of Branford College from 1979 to 1983. Curtin was the first female Master of Branford College.

During her career on the stage in the 1950s and 60s, Curtin performed for the New York City Opera, as well as in many world-renowned opera houses such as the Metropolitan Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Vienna State Opera, Covent Garden, and La Scala. Her repertoire included Verdi’s Violetta and Alice Ford, Strauss’ Salome, as well as Mozart’s heroines, for which she received much praise. The New York Times recently asserted that, “Ms. Curtin was noted for the purity of her voice, the sensitivity of her musical phrasing and the crystalline perfection of her diction.” MORE

Published June 11, 2016
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[ students & alumni ]

YSM Alumnus An-lun Huang’s opera premieres in Beijing

An-lun Huang's "Yue Fei"

An-lun Huang’s “Yue Fei”

Alumnus An-lun Huang ’86 MM will premiere his new opera Yue Fei at the National Grand Theatre in Beijing on June 7-8 , 2016. Sponsored by the National Arts Fund of China, Yue Fei is a combination of the Chinese tradition and Western operatic style, especially Wagnerian, is a large-formed symphonic grand opera in the patriotic theme.

It was one of the first batches of the projects funded by the China National Arts Fund in 2014, and also won the sponsorships of the”12.5 Tianjin University Innovation Team Training Plan” and the Tianjin Municipal Government Funding. Yue Fei is produced by Xu Changjun, the dean of the Tianjin Conservatory of Music and Ma Mei, the director of Vocal Department. Conductor Zheng Xiaoying serves as the artistic director, while playwright Xu Qingdong wrote the script in collaboration with the composer. The director is Chen Xinyi, with the more than 300 performers by the teachers, students, youth choir and symphony orchestra of this one of the leading music institutes in China.

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Published May 13, 2016
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[ students & alumni ]

Brian Vu named a winner in the 2016 Lotte Lenya competition

vu_brianBrian Vu ’14 MM, ’15 AD was awarded the top prize in the 2016 Lotte Lenya Competition sponsored by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music. The win earned Vu a cash prize of $15,000, and was one of nine awards distributed for the competition which totaled $79,000.

Vu impressed the judges with a carefully thought-out program including “O Carlo, ascolta” from Don Carlo; “Bowler Hat” from Pacific Overtures; “West Wind” from One Touch of Venus; and “Where is the Life that Late I Led?” from Kiss Me Kate. The judges remarked that he displayed “…refreshing flair and vocal prowess.”

Earlier this year, Vu was named a Grand Finalist in this year’s Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, one of the most prestigious vocal competitions in the country, and will appear as the Kurt Weill/Lotte Lenya Young Artist at the Glimmerglass Festival this summer.

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Published April 29, 2016
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[ concerts ]

Yale Opera brings Don Quixote to life May 6 & 7

Don-Quichotte-v2The Yale Opera program at the Yale School of Music presents an exciting new production of Jules Massenet’s Don Quichotte on May 6 and 7.

The production is directed by Linda Brovsky, who returns to Yale Opera for the second time. Timothy Shaindlin is the musical director.

The beloved character of Don Quixote attacks both windmills and high notes in this whimsical and touching opera about the power of the imagination and the quest for true love. With captivating melodies and a touch of Spanish flair, this short opera (clocking in at less than two hours) is a wonderful introduction to the genre for the tentative and the curious.

As conceived by stage directror Linda Brovsky, this production embraces the transformative power of reading and the imagination. With whimsical projections and oversized books on stage, this will be a haven for the literary.

Costume designer Rebecca Welles and lighting designer Doug Harry both return to Yale Opera’s creative team. Yana Biryukova, a Yale School of Drama student, is the projection designer

Both Friday and Saturday’s performances begin at 7:30 pm. The venue is Morse Recital hall, located in Sprague Memorial Hall (470 College Street, New Haven).

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Published April 18, 2016
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Yale Opera musicians win at Gerda Lissner Competition

Galeano Salas

Galeano Salas

One of the most prestigious vocal competitions, the Gerda Lissner Competition, has recently announced its 2016 Prize Winners, including three singers from the Yale Opera program.

Tenor Galeano Salas ’13 MM was awarded a Top Prize of $15,000, mezzo-soprano Aleksandra Romano ’14 MM won a 1st Prize of $10,000, and current student and bass-baritone Pawel Konik won a 3rd Prize of $3,000. The singers who are awarded prizes will be featured in the Winner’s Concert on May 1, 2016 at 3PM, at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Recital Hall in New York City.

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Published April 9, 2016
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