Tokyo String Quartet returns to New Haven

Program will feature works by Beethoven, Brahms, and Janáček

The award-winning Tokyo String Quartet will perform on Yale’s 2008-09 Chamber Music Society series on Tuesday, January 20. 2009 at 8:00 pm in Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Hall. Regarded as one of the supreme chamber ensembles of the world, the Tokyo String Quartet has captivated audiences and critics alike since its founding more than 30 years ago. The quartet’s members are violist Kazuhide Isomura, a founding member; second violinist Kikuei Ikeda, who joined the ensemble in 1974; cellist Clive Greensmith, former principal cellist of London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, who joined in 1999; and first violinist Martin Beaver, who joined the ensemble in 2002. The quartet has been in residence at the Yale School of Music since 1976 and performs two concerts on the series each season. The January 20 program will include Beethoven’s String Quartet in F Major, Op. 18, no. 1; Brahms’s String Quartet No. 3 in B-flat Major, Op. 67; and Janáček’s String Quartet No. 2, “Intimate Pages” (1928).

Tickets are $27 to $34 ($14 for students). Student rush tickets priced at $7 will be sold at 7:45 pm on the night of the concert, if available. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the Yale School of Music website at or call 203 432-4158. Box office hours are Monday – Friday, 9 am to 5 pm, in the Sprague Hall lobby, 470 College Street, New Haven.

The Tokyo String Quartet has released more than thirty landmark recordings, including the complete quartets of Beethoven, Schubert, and Bartók. The ensemble’s recordings of works by Brahms, Debussy, Dvorák, Haydn, Mozart, Ravel and Schubert have earned numerous honors, including seven Grammy nominations. The quartet has been featured on PBS’s “Sesame Street” and “Great Performances,” “CNN This Morning” and “CBS Sunday Morning,” as well as the soundtrack for the Sidney Lumet film Critical Care. Officially formed in 1969 at the Juilliard School, the Tokyo String Quartet traces its origins to the Toho School of Music in Tokyo, where the founding members were profoundly influenced by Professor Hideo Saito. Soon after its creation, the Tokyo Quartet won First Prize at the Coleman Competition, the Munich Competition and the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, and signed an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon. The Quartet performs on “The Paganini Quartet,” a group of Stradivarius instruments named for legendary virtuoso Niccolò Paganini who acquired and played them in the nineteenth century.

Published December 17, 2008
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Turangalîla Symphony at Carnegie Hall garners rave reviews

The Philharmonia Orchestra of Yale performed Olivier Messiaen’s epic Turangalîla Symphonie at Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall on Sunday, December 14, under the baton of guest conductor Reinbert de Leeuw and with Wei-Yi Yang at the piano and Geneviève Grenier at the ondes Martenot to close the Messiaen Centenary Celebration.  The critical reception to the performance was overwhelmingly positive:

Allan Kozinn at the New York Times had this to say in his review “A Monumental Messiaen Speaks Many Languages“:

The performance was sensational: well prepared, solidly and precisely executed, and rippling with high-energy percussion and brass playing and a fluid interplay of polished strings as well as winds. If you were looking for a demonstration of how completely a conductor can convey an unusual work’s ideas in all their complexity and beauty, and inspire his musicians to play the piece as if it is the most vivid, original music ever written, you could hardly have done better than this.


But in a way the work’s inspiration, musical sources and relationship with Messiaen’s other music need not matter. Taken entirely on its own, this is a masterpiece of color, texture and peculiarly alluring turns of phrase. Mr. de Leeuw made every moment of it taut and exciting, and Wei-Yi Yang, playing the sparkling piano line, contributed significantly and virtuosically, as did Geneviève Grenier, who produced the score’s otherworldly electronic lines on the ondes martenot.

Other positive reviews include:

Published December 17, 2008
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Lunchtime Chamber Music

Yale School of Music presents free Lunchtime Chamber Music series

Works for mixed ensembles include Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio in D minor

Instrumental ensembles from the Yale School of Music’s renowned chamber music program will present a varied program on Lunchtime Chamber Music Series on Wednesday, December 17 at 12:30pm in Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Hall, 470 College Street, in New Haven. Graduate students from the Yale School of Music will perform excerpts from Poulenc’s Trio for piano, oboe and bassoon; Haydn’s String Quartet in G major, Op. 76, No. 1; Schubert’s Piano Trio in B-flat major, D. 898; Beethoven’s Kreutzer” Sonata for piano and violin in A major; and Brahms’ Sonata for piano and violin in G major, Op. 78.

The Lunchtime Chamber Music series takes place over the course of the year both in Sprague Memorial Hall and at the Yale Center for British Art. It showcases ensembles drawn from various combinations of strings, winds, brass, percussion, and piano. Pieces of music are rehearsed with intense coaching by Yale’s distinguished artist faculty, and as a work become ready for performance, even if it includes only one or two movements of a larger work, it is performed in the Lunchtime series. Lunchtime Chamber Music is one of several performance outlets for the Yale School of Music’s Chamber Music program, which is directed by Wendy Sharp. These concerts are approximately an hour long. Admission is free.

Published December 16, 2008
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Sarita Kwok: DMA Recital

Violinist Sarita Kwok to perform a DMA recital of works by Beethoven, Carter, and Schumann

Kwok is a lecturer at Yale University and member of the Alianza String Quartet

The Yale School of Music will present violinist Sarita Kwok in a recital on Thursday, December 11, at 8:00 pm in Sprague Hall, 270 College Street in New Haven.  Performing with pianist Jian Liu, Ms. Kwok will play Beethoven’s Sonata for Violin and Piano in G major, Op. 30, No. 3; Elliott Carter’s Statement – Remembering Aaron (from Four Lauds); and Schumann’s Sonata for Violin and Piano in D minor. The concert is part of the requirements for Kwok’s Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Yale School of Music.

Australian violinist Sarita Kwok has been featured on stages in Australia, New Zealand, England, Italy, France, Germany, Poland, Israel, Japan, and the United States. After being named the James Fairfax Sydney Symphony Orchestra Young Artist, she made her debut with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at age 15 and then went on to win Australia’s most prestigious musical award, The Symphony Australia Young Performer of the Year (Strings), at age 17. She has since been awarded prizes at the Kloster Schöntal International Violin Competition (Germany, 1997), Gisborne International Music Competition (New Zealand, 1998), and an Honorary Diploma at the Seventh Wieniawski and Lipinski International Competition (Poland, 2000).  As a founding member and first violinist of the Alianza String Quartet, Ms. Kwok won the grand prize at the Plowman National Chamber Music Competition in 2007 and has performed with the ASQ in Japan, France, Rome, and the UK. In October 2007, the Alianza Quartet made their Carnegie Hall debut to critical acclaim.  As a soloist and collaborator, Ms. Kwok has been featured on the Rockport Chamber Music Festival, Thayer Academy Winter Series, Hebron Academy and Temple Emmanuel Chamber Series, and the Hammond GMAC Performing Arts Series. Ms. Kwok holds a literature degree from the University of Sydney and a Master of Musical Arts and Artist Diploma from the Yale School of Music. Since 2006 Ms. Kwok has been on faculty at the Yale University Department of Music, where she directs the musicianship course.

Published December 16, 2008
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Ransom Wilson, world-renowned flutist, performs with pianist Ken Noda

Featuring music by Fauré, Martinu, Dutilleux, and Martin

The Yale School of Music’s Faculty Artist Series presents a recital by Ransom Wilson, world-renowned flute soloist and chamber musician, on Wednesday, December 17 at 8 pm in Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Memorial Hall (470 College St at Wall St). Though Mr. Wilson performs often with his faculty colleagues in chamber music and as a conductor, this is a rare opportunity for area music lovers to hear him in a solo recital. The program will feature music by Fauré, Dutilleux, Martinu, and Martin.  Wilson, considered one of the world’s preeminent flutists, will perform with pianist Ken Noda.
For more information, visit the Yale School of Music website, or call 203 432-4158.

Ransom Wilson, flute, studied at the North Carolina School of the Arts and the Juilliard School before studying with Jean-Pierre Rampal. As soloist he has appeared with the Israel Philharmonic, the English Chamber Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, I Solisti Veneti, the Prague Chamber Orchestra, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, among others. He is an Artist Member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. An active conductor, Mr. Wilson holds posts with Solisti New York, Opera Omaha, the San Francisco Chamber Symphony, and the OK Mozart Festival in Oklahoma. He founded the the Mozart Festival at Sea, and received the Republic of Austria’s Award of Merit in Gold for his efforts on behalf of Mozart’s music in America. A supporter of contemporary music, he has had works composed for him by Steve Reich, Peter Schickele, Joseph Schwantner, John Harbison, Jean Francaix, Jean-Michel Damase, George Tsontakis, Tania Léon, and Deborah Drattel.

Published December 12, 2008
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Peaceable Kingdom by Ingram Marshall featured at New Music New Haven

Plus new music by seven other Yale composers

The Yale School of Music presents a New Music New Haven concert with featured faculty composer Ingram Marshall on Tuesday, December 16 at 8 pm in Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Memorial Hall (470 College St at Wall St). The program will feature Marshall’s Peaceable Kingdom conducted by Julian Pellicano, a conducting fellow at the School of Music. The program also includes new works for a broad variety of of instruments by Yale graduate composers, including Timo Andres, Home Stretch (a piano concerto); Feinan Wang, Flowing Clock for string quartet; Richard Harrold, Clarinet Quartet; Sam Adams: Aves Nostradamus for violin and piano; a solo violin work by Polina Nazaykinskaya; and Naftali Schindler’s Le Tombeau de….  Ezra Laderman, a member of the composition faculty, is artistic director of New Music New Haven.
The concert is free and open to the public.  For more information, visit the Yale School of Music website, or call 203 432-4158.

Ingram Marshall, composer, studied at Columbia University and California Institute of the Arts, where he received an M.F.A., and has been a student of Indonesian gamelan music, the influence of which may be heard in the slowed-down sense of time and use of melodic repetition found in many of his pieces. In recent years he has concentrated on music combining tape and electronic processing with ensembles and soloists. His music has been performed by ensembles and orchestras such as the Theater of Voices, Kronos Quartet, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, and American Composers Orchestra. He has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Rockefeller Foundation, Fromm Foundation, Guggenheim Foundation, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Published December 12, 2008
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Guitar Chamber Music

“Quaditorio” for 8 Electric Guitars by Jack Vees is featured, along with music by Australian Nigel Westlake, Canadian Patric Roux, and more traditional fare

The Yale School of Music presents Chamber Music for Guitar on Monday, December 15 at 8 pm in Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Memorial Hall (470 College Street at Wall Street). The program will feature the premiere of Quaditorio, a work by Jack Vees for eight electric guitars; a work by Australian composer Nigel Westlake for two guitars and double bass; a piece by Canadian composer Patrick Roux based on the tango; and music by Fernando Sor and Nikita Koshkin.  Graduate artists from the School of Music will perform this varied program, which is directed by faculty guitarist Benjamin Verdery.
For additional information, please call the Yale School of Music Concert Office at 203 432-4158 or visit the Sprague Hall Box Office during regular business hours.

Distinguished as “an American original, an American master” by Guitar Review Magazine, Benjamin Verdery has enjoyed an innovative and eclectic musical career. Since his 1980 New York debut with his wife, flutist Rie Schmidt, Benjamin has performed throughout Europe, Asia and North America and has recorded and performed with such diverse artists as Leo Kottke, Hermann Prey and John Williams.  Benjamin has released over 15 albums, his most recent, Branches (Mushkatweek) featuring arrangements of works by Bach, Mozart, Strauss, and Hendrix, and the traditional Amazing Grace. A prolific composer, many of Benjamin Verdery’s compositions have been performed and published over the years. Most recently, Now and Ever for David Russell and Peace, Love and Guitars for John Williams and John Etheridge. Benjamin Verdery is Artistic Director of the Yale Guitar Extravaganza and Art of the Guitar at the 92nd St Y (NYC), conducts an annual master class week on the Island of Maui (Hawaii) and is an honorary board member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas, Inc.

Published December 11, 2008
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Messiaen Centenary Celebration at Yale

Dec 13: Yale Pianists perform Messiaen’s Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus

Twenty-movement work is a high point of the contemporary piano repertoire

The Yale Schol of Music presents Messiaen’s most important piano work, Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus, performed by eleven of the School’s most promising graduate-level pianists on Saturday, December 13 at 8 pm in Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Hall, 470 College St (at Wall St), New Haven.  This concert is part of the Messiaen Centenary Celebration at Yale.  Vingt Regards, composed in 1944 for Messiaen’s second wife, Yvonne Loriod, is considered one of the most significant works of the twentieth-century piano repertoire.  Here it will be performed by Jeannette Fang, Wei-Jen Yuan, Reinis Zarins, Jason Wirth, Amy Yang, Martin Leung, Jeong-ah Ryu, Lulu Yang, Katsura Tanikawa, Juan Carlos Fernandez-Nieto, and Lindsay Garritson.

The Messiaen Centenary Celebration at Yale will honor the hundredth birthday of influential French composer Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) with numerous events exploring the breadth and depth of his work. Sponsored by the School of Music, the festival takes place from Monday, December 8 to Sunday, December 14, 2008, encompassing Messiaen’s birthday on December 10.  William Purvis, a member of the YSM faculty and interim director of the Collection of Musical Instruments, is artistic director. Information on the Messiaen Centenary is available at

Admission to the concert is free.  For additional information, please call the Yale School of Music Concert Office at 203 432-4158 or visit the Sprague Hall Box Office during regular business hours.

Published December 11, 2008
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Alumnus Douglas Knehans named Dean of the College-Conservatory of Music at University of Cincinnati

Anthony J. Perzigian, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of Cincinnati, announced in March the appointment of Dr. Douglas Knehans (’93 MMA, ’96 DMA) as dean and professor of music for the College-Conservatory of Music (CCM).

A skilled academic administrator and award-winning composer, Douglas Knehans has 27 years of experience in academia, with over 17 years in a leadership or administrative position. From 2000-2008, Knehans  served as director and professor of music for the Conservatorium of Music at the University of Tasmania, one of Australia’s most progressive music training institutes. Prior to that, from 1993 to 1999, he served as associate professor of music, head of the department of music composition, theory, and electronic music, and director of the SCREAM (Southern Center for Research into ElectroAcoustic Music) Studio at the University of Alabama School of Music.

As a composer, Knehans has been the recipient of numerous commissions, awards and fellowships in Australia and the US, including awards from the Victorian Council for the Arts, Australian Bicentennial Authority, Australia Council Performing Arts Board, the MacDowell Colony, and the Leighton Artist Colony. Additionally, he has been invited to lecture at Jagiellonian University (Krakow, Poland), Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of the National University of Singapore, Krakow Academy of Music (Krakow, Poland), Australian National University, and the Banff Centre for the Arts, among others.

Knehans’ works have been broadcast on Australian National Radio and TV, National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting Service, and his music has been commissioned and performed by some of Australia’s leading ensembles and soloists, including the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, ELISION Ensemble, Australian Boys Choir, Adelaide Percussions, Timothy Kain, Ariel New Music, and Opera Australia. Select compositions include: seraphic ride, premiered at the Kennedy Center in 2002 by soloists from the National Symphony Orchestra; in questi giorni for mezzo-soprano and orchestra, performed at the 2005 Incontri di Musica Sacra Contemporanea (Italy); and rive, most recently performed at the New Music-New Faces Festival (Krakow, Poland, 2006). In 2007, he was guest composer at the Premieres of the Season Festival in Kiev, Ukraine, where his orchestra work ripple was given its world premiere by the Ukrainian National Symphony Orchestra and broadcast over Ukrainian national radio.

Born in 1957 in St. Louis, Missouri, Douglas Knehans received his initial music education at the Canberra School of Music in Australia’s national capital. He received a Master of Arts in composition from Queens College, CUNY, where he studied with composer Thea Musgrave, and his Master of Musical Arts and Doctor of Musical Arts degree in composition from Yale University, where he studied with Jacob Druckman, Martin Bresnick, Lukas Foss and Jonathan Berger.

Published April 6, 2008
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