Penderecki Conducts Penderecki: The master of contemporary music leads the Yale Philharmonia

So acute is [Penderecki’s] ear for orchestral sound and so clever his manipulation of it that wood, metal and string take on an anthropomorphic quality.
–Bernard Holland, The New York Times

The Yale School of Music presents the Philharmonia Orchestra of Yale in Penderecki Conducts Penderecki on Thursday, April 29 at 8 pm in Woolsey Hall. Krzysztof Penderecki, one of the most influential and prolific composers of our time, makes a rare New Haven appearance conducting the Yale Philharmonia and faculty soloists William Purvis, horn, and Syoko Aki, violin. The program features four of the composer’s most important orchestral works, from the early and groundbreaking work Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima to the New Haven premiere of the 2008 Horn Concerto.

The “acute ear for orchestral sound” that so struck Bernard Holland will be showcased in a program that spans nearly a half century of composition. In addition to the Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima (1960) and Symphony No. 4 (1989), Penderecki and the orchestra will be joined by two Yale faculty artists: violinist Syoko Aki and French hornist William Purvis. Aki will be reunited with Penderecki and the orchestra in the Capriccio for Violin and Orchestra (1967), which they performed at Yale in 1977. Purvis will be the soloist in the Concerto for Horn and Orchestra (2008), subtitled “Winterreise.”

With a career that spans nearly five decades, Penderecki is one of the pioneering composers of the modern day. He was an iconic figure of the 1960s avant-garde and remains a vibrantly vital voice in contemporary music. His numerous awards include the UNESCO Award for Threnody and the Grawemeyer Award for the Symphony No. 4. Penderecki has a longstanding relationship with Yale; he served on the faculty of the School of Music from 1973 to 1979 and returned in 2005 to conduct his choral work Credo.

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Published April 15, 2010
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Joseph Mikolaj ’10MM wins the Solo Competition of the Oratorio Society of New York

Joseph Mikolaj, a student of James Taylor at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music and the Yale School of Music, took first prize at the New York Oratorio Society’s Lyndon Woodside Solo Competition on April 10. Mikolaj, a tenor, performed selections from Haydn’s Creation and Mendelssohn’s Elijah.

In 1975, the Oratorio Society of New York inaugurated an annual Solo Competition, designed to encourage the art of oratorio singing and to give talented young singers an opportunity to advance their careers. The Competition has become international in scope, and well-known in the music world.

Since the Competition’s inception, more than 3,400 singers have competed.  The judges have chosen nearly 100 winners, awarding thousands of dollars in cash prizes. In addition, over 65 performance contracts have been awarded to Competition winners to appear in concert with the Society; many have also been awarded contracts with other major musical organizations.

The Lyndon Woodside Solo Competition is held in New York City every year during March and April. More than $15,000 in cash prizes are awarded, along with possible contracts for oratorio performances in New York City. The Solo Competition is open to singers of all nationalities who were born after December 31, 1969 and who have not made a formal oratorio debut in a major concert hall. Mikolaj was the youngest musician to compete in this year’s event.

Published April 15, 2010
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