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 alumni take home Grammys

Michael Daugherty. Photo by Grant Leighton

Michael Daugherty. Photo by Grant Leighton

Yale School of Music alumnus Michael Daugherty ’82MMA ’87DMA received three 2017 Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 12, for his Tales of Hemingway for cello and orchestra, which was recorded by cellist Zuill Bailey and the Nashville Symphony conducted by Giancarlo Guerrero. The piece won in the Best Classical Instrumental Solo, Best Contemporary Classical Composition, and Best Classical Compendium categories.

Tales of Hemingway was commissioned and premiered by Guerrero and the Nashville Symphony, whose live recording of that performance was released on an album with Daugherty’s American Gothic and a 2015 revision of his Once Upon a Castle, a work for organ and orchestra whose solo part was performed by YSM alumnus Paul Jacobs ’02MM. Guerrero recently conducted the Yale Philharmonia in a program that included Wagner’s Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde and Shostakovich Symphony No. 10.

Percussionist David Skidmore ’08MM earned a 2017 Grammy as a member of Third Coast Percussion, whose recording of works by Steve Reich won in the Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance category. MORE

Published February 13, 2017
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YSM alums wrap up 2016 with career accomplishments

Michael Zuber

As 2016 comes to a close, the Yale School of Music is celebrating the recent accomplishments of several graduates. 

Three YSM alumni have recently won orchestral appointments. Michael Zuber ’14MM, a bassoonist who studied at YSM with Frank Morelli, has been appointed principal bassoonist of the Cape Symphony in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Zuber is also an alumnus of The Academy, a two-year program organized by  Carnegie Hall, the Juilliard School, and the Weill Music Institute, in partnership with the New York City Department of Education.


Jeanine Wynton

Jeanine Wynton ’03MM has joined the North Carolina Symphony as a section violinist. Wynton previously held the positions of assistant concertmaster of the Richmond Symphony in Virginia and section violinist with the Florida Orchestra. During the summers, she performs with the Grant Park Orchestra in Chicago. Wynton was the first American woman to design educational-outreach concerts for a Russian Orchestra. For three months, she performed and conceived educational concerts with the principal players of the Moscow Symphony Orchestra. While in Moscow, she performed concerts with both the Moscow Symphony Orchestra and the Russian National Orchestra MORE

Published November 28, 2016
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[ in the press ]

Imani Winds’ music of the dance blows into Yale Tuesday

imani_windsNew Haven Register | By Joe Amarante

Wind quintet Imani Winds played an engaging and impressively precise concert at Long Wharf Theatre during the International Festival of Arts & Ideas in June, one that conveyed a “Passion for Bach and Coltrane.”

Some fans have this coming Tuesday’s date circled on the calendar, when the Jeff Scott-led quintet will return to New Haven for a Yale School of Music concert celebrating dance in Morse Recital Hall at Sprague Memorial Hall on College Street, as part of the Oneppo Chamber Music Series.

The 7:30 p.m. concert will feature a variety of music from multiple Latin American composers, Imani members and traditional dance music, notes a Yale release. Tickets start at $26, although student tickets are $13. Call 203-432-4158 or visit the box office at 470 College St. MORE

Published December 4, 2015
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[ concerts ]

Bassoonarama Dec. 7 offers “A Night at the Opera”

yny-bassoonsThe Yale School of Music presents Bassoonarama, a recital featuring the studio of Frank Morelli on Monday, December 7 at 7:30 pm. The program, entitled A Night at the Opera, will feature selections from several well-known operas arranged for bassoon ensemble.

Selections featured in the program will be Suites 1 and 2 from Verdi‘s Rigoletto; a selection of arias from Rossini‘s Il barbiere di Siviglia, arranged by Frank Morelli for two bassoons; and Bizet‘s Suite from Carmen.

Following intermission, the program will continue two selections by Wagner: Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral from Lohengrin, and the Ride of the Valkyries from Die Walküre. Closing the program will be music from Leonard Bernstein‘s famous West Side Story, arranged by Cornelia Sommer ’16 MM.


Published December 3, 2015
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[ concerts ]

Imani Winds Present Dance and Variations on Dec. 8

imani_windsThe Oneppo Chamber Music Series at the Yale School of Music continues on TuesdayDecember 8 at 7:30 pm with the distinguished quintet Imani Winds.

Presenting music celebrating dance and its variations, the concert includes a wide variety of music, including selections by Latin American composers and Imani members, as well as traditional dance music. MORE

Published November 19, 2015
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[ students & alumni ]

Jake Fridkis ’14 MM Named Principal Flute of Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra

fridkis_jakeJake Fridkis ’14 MM has been appointed principal flute of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. He was previously serving as principal flute of the South Dakota Symphony.

About Jake Fridkis

With experience as a soloist throughout the world with concerto appearances in United States, Germany, Italy, France, Brazil, Fridkis has served as guest principal flute with Symphony SONG (Korea), the Princeton Symphony, and the Cleveland Philharmonic, and has appeared with the symphonies of St. Louis and New Haven. He recently performed with Fort Worth in August 2015, and praised by the Star-Telegram as “extraordinary in all three concerts” and “the talk of the town.”

Fridkis earned his master’s degree in flute performance from the Yale School of Music in 2014 and is currently pursuing an Artist Diploma at Yale, studying with Ransom Wilson. He is a member of the New York based new music ensemble Le Train Bleu, led by Ransom Wilson. Jacob previously studied at The Cleveland Institute of Music, where he was awarded a Presidential Merit Scholarship as a student of Joshua Smith.

A winner of Yale School of Music’s 2013 Chamber Music Society competition, Jake’s other recent highlights include being named an artist in residence at the Banff Music Centre, flute fellowship at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen two summers in a row, studying with Mark Sparks; and performances at Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall in New York and Powell Hall with the St. Louis Symphony. Jake made his NFA convention debut at age 15 premiering Gary Schocker’s flute duet “French Toast” with his brother Gabe and the composer on piano.


Published October 30, 2015
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[ students & alumni ]

Joseph Peters ’11 MM Named Principal Oboist of Minnesota Orchestra

Joseph Peters

Joseph Peters

Joseph Peters ’11 MM has been named Principal Oboe of the Minnesota OrchestraHe had previously been serving as Principal Oboe of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and as Music Director of the SUNY Buffalo State Philharmonia Orchestra.

Originally from the Twin Cities, Mr. Peters frequently performs with the Minnesota Orchestra; he can be heard on their recording of Sibelius’ Symphony No. 1, and he participated in their recent historic tour to Cuba. During the summers he conducts the Taneycomo Festival Orchestra.

About Joseph Peters

Mr. Peters received his Bachelor of Music from the University of Minnesota and his Master of Music from Yale University, where he studied with Stephen Taylor. He was an Oboe Fellow with the New World Symphony for three years, during which time he performed extensively in Miami and conducted performances at the New World Symphony.

As a soloist, Mr. Peters has appeared with the Minnesota Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, New World Symphony, Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra and the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies. Mr. Peters has been Guest Principal Oboe with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Florida Orchestra, and he has played with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Long Island Philharmonic, Yale Philharmonia, National Repertory Orchestra and the National Orchestral Institute. He has conducted performances at the New World Symphony, Marlboro Music Festival, Yale University and the University of Minnesota and is a frequent clinician in the Miami-Dade area. WEBSITE

Published October 30, 2015
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[ alumni ]

Ashley William Smith wins Performance of the Year at Australia’s Art Music Awards

smith_ashleyClarinetist Ashley William Smith ’13 MM, ’14 AD has won Performance of the Year at Australia’s prestigious 2015 Art Music Awards. The awards were presented August 10 in Sydney.

Ashley won for his performance of Lachlan Skipworth’s Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra, performed with the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra under Baldur Brönnimann.

Smith is currently an Artist-in-Residence and Lecturer at the University of Western Australia. “The people nominated in the same category as I was are absolute idols of mine and to be even considered alongside them was humbling,” he said in an announcement from UWA. MORE

Published August 12, 2015
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[ alumni ]

Clarinet alumni Benjamin Lulich, Tianyu Zhang win orchestra appointments

lulich_benjaminYSM alumnus Benjamin Lulich was recently appointed acting principal clarinet of the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra. His first performances with the orchestra will be in September, under the baton of music director Franz Welser-Most.

“I am very happy to perform with The Cleveland Orchestra this coming season,” Lulich wrote in a statement. “I grew up listening to recordings of [the orchestra], and I attended the Cleveland Institute of Music, so it is a dream come true.” MORE

Published July 30, 2015
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