YSM student & alumni composers and Project 440

Andy Akiho '11MM

Several Yale School of Music composers will participate in WXQR’s groundbreaking Project 440, where composers from all over the country will compete for a commission from the world-famous Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in New York City.

Sixty candidates were posted in the month of June, including several YSM alumni and students: Andy Akiho ’11MM, Timothy Andres ’07BA, ’09MM, Judd Greenstein ’04MM, Ted Hearne ’08MMA, Polina Nazaykinskaya ’10MM, Andrew Norman ’09AD,  and John Orfe ’01MM, ’02MMA, ’09DMA.

Two more rounds will reduce the number of candidates from sixty to thirty, and from thirty to twelve; finally, four winners will be chosen in October 2010.

In the meantime, each candidate will have a bio and audio clips posted on the WXQR website, giving home listeners the chance to weigh in on their favorite composers. The final judging will be done by Orpheus, but opinions from the website will be taken into consideration.

Polina Nazaykinskaya ’10MM

With both popular feedback and professional judging, Project 440 is  a celebration of the best of America’s musical talents.


Published July 30, 2010
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New Morse Summer Academy gets underway at the School of Music

Musical talents of 42 New Haven students nurtured through free summer music academy

Cultivating the musical talents of New Haven students is the focus of a new Yale School of Music program making its debut this summer July 26 through August 30.

The Morse Summer Music Academy at YSM is designed to nurture creativity and develop musicianship in students who have a passion for music, who desire to become stronger self-sufficient musicians, and who aspire to be musical leaders.

The program will provide free, comprehensive music instruction to 42 New Haven public school students in grades 6–10. It is made possible through a generous gift by Enid and Lester Morse ’51.

The concept for the academy began to take shape over a decade ago in conversations between the Morses and Yale School of Music Dean Robert Blocker about how to improve the state of music education. The Morses — long-time supporters of Yale in addition to the Juilliard School and Carnegie Hall in New York — were interested in providing educational programs in New Haven similar to successful programs in place at Juilliard.

“Music is being pulled out of the public schools,” says Lester Morse. “If you don’t grow up making music in your family, and if you don’t have it in school, you’re not going to have it at all. So I think we should do whatever we can do to re-inject interest in music in the schools.”


Published July 28, 2010
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Vivian Perlis announces retirement from Oral History of American Music project

Libby Van Cleve to succeed Perlis as director of OHAM

Vivian Perlis, the founder and Director of the Oral History of American Music (OHAM) project at Yale, has announced that she will step down as Director on June 30, 2010.

Perlis, a historian in American music, specializes in twentieth-century composers and is known for her publications, lectures, recording and film productions. She founded OHAM and developed it into a unique archive of recorded interviews with leading figures in American music.

In April of this year, in recognition of Perlis’s accomplishments, Dean Robert Blocker presented her with the prestigious Sanford Medal from the Yale School of Music. The School of Music also presented two concerts drawing on OHAM’s extensive collections, one on campus in Sprague Hall and the other in Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York.

Among Perlis’s publications are: Charles Ives Remembered: An Oral History, which was awarded the Kinkeldey Prize of the American Musicological Society in 1975; and two volumes co-authored with Aaron Copland: Copland: 1900 Through 1942, which garnered a Deems Taylor/ASCAP award, and Copland: Since 1943. Perlis is co-author with Libby Van Cleve of the award winning book and CD publication, Composers’ Voice from Ives to Ellington, published by Yale University Press (2005). Among her productions are recordings of the music of Leo Ornstein and Charles Ives, and television documentaries on Ives, Eubie Blake, Aaron Copland, and John Cage.

Vivian Perlis received the Charles Ives Award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters (1972); a Grammy nomination for “Charles Ives 100th Anniversary” (1974); the Harvey Kantor Award for excellence in the field of oral history (1984); a Guggenheim Fellowship (1987); and the Irving Lowens Award for distinguished scholarship in American Music from the Society for American Music (1991). With recognition of her leadership, the American Music Center awarded OHAM a Letter of Distinction (2004). Perlis received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for American Music (2007) and was named an honorary member of the American Musicological Society (2008).


Published July 27, 2010
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Wall Street Journal spotlights Musicorps

Arthur Bloom ’86BA, ’93MM

When Arthur Bloom ’86BA, ’93MM met with a veteran at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 2007, he didn’t know that the meeting would lead to a big idea.

As the Wall Street Journal writes:

When Mr. Bloom learned the veteran had been a drummer, he suggested the man resume playing, despite having lost one leg due to an injury sustained in Iraq. Over the course of setting up electronic drums for the veteran, and as they experimented together with different prosthetics, Mr. Bloom realized there was a dire need for a revolutionary music program at the medical center.

That revolutionary music program came into being as Musicorps, with funding from the Yale School of Music’s alumniVentures program, foundations such as the Augustine Foundation and the Center for Health Transformation, individuals, and other sources.

The WSJ continues:

Musicorps’ unconventional approach is to engage veterans in high-level musical creation, assisted by working musicians. Goals vary from veteran to veteran. One wants to be professional musician, while another wants to learn the National Anthem on the guitar to play at a baseball game. Any kind of music is welcome, from rock to classical. Genres have included rap, death metal and once even Italian opera.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

Published July 23, 2010
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More success from YSM pianists

Fernando Altamura (photo by David Fung)

Fernando Altamura ’11MM won third prize in the Concurso Internacioal de Piano / First International Piano Competition of Santa Catarina, Brazil. Prizes were awarded in a ceremony on July 10 at the Governador Pedro Ivo Campos Theater.

Andrea Lam ’04CERT is the winner of Astral Artists‘ national search competition.

Astral Artists is a nonprofit classical music organization that aims to discover the most promising classical musicians residing in the United States, assist their early professional career development, and present their artistry through concerts and outreach programs.

Incoming student Kuok-Wai Lio ’12 has been newly signed to Opus 3 Artists. He will study with Peter Frankl and Boris Berman.

Six Yale pianists, both current students and alumni, passed the preliminary rounds in the International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition and will compete for prizes in Warsaw this October:

Shih-Wei Huang ’11MM

Sheng-Yuan Kuan ’05MM

Hanchien Lee ’05MM, ’06AD

Esther Park ’12AD

Marianna Prjevalskaya ’10AD

Yury Shadrin ’08MM

Published July 22, 2010
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Piano alumni find success in summer competitions

Several students and alumni of the Yale School of Music’s piano department have enjoyed success in prestigious international competitions this summer.

Ilya Poletaev ’03MM, ’04MMA, ’10DMA (far left in photo) has just won the first prize for piano at the Seventeenth International Bach Competition in Leipzig, Germany.

Forty-seven pianists took part in the competition, which also offered categories for violin and cembalo. The event is open to musicians between the ages of 16 and 32.

Marianna Prjevalskaya

In June, Marianna Prjevalskaya ’10AD won the bronze medal in the Fourth Sendai International Music Competition, held in Sendai, Japan.

Listen to streaming audio of Prjevalskaya’s performances HERE.

Lindsay Garritson ’10MM and Esther Park ’12MM also participated in the competition; streaming audio of Garritson’s performance is available HERE, and Park’s is available HERE.

Yunjie Chen, an incoming student in the Artist Diploma program, earned fourth prize at the Gina Bachauer International Artists Competition, held June 16-July 1 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Published July 21, 2010
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Martin Bresnick featured composer at Music10

“Some com­posers are quite shy to talk about their work, for obvi­ous rea­sons: they don’t want to reveal their “tricks”, or they don’t want to share a pri­vate or per­sonal inspi­ra­tion behind a piece, and so on,” writes the CUNY Graduate Center Advocate. Not so Martin Bresnick, who in a presentation at Music10 “dove right into the sub­stance of his work: why he com­poses, how he com­poses, and what his pieces are all about.”

Bresnick, a longtime member of the composition faculty at the Yale School of Music, was a guest composer this year at Music10, a two-week festival of new music at the Hindemith Music Centre in Blonay, Switzerland. The CUNY reporter summarized his presentation in detail. Highlights are reprinted below; click here for the full article.

Bres­nick started off quite seri­ously by admon­ish­ing the com­posers and per­form­ers that music is dan­ger­ous and pow­er­ful, and that one must always treat it as a life and death matter. One must always do music at the high­est level; in a sense, he said, being a musi­cian is sim­i­lar to being called to priesthood.

This phi­los­o­phy guides Bresnick’s own work. He brings every­thing he can to his music, to the point that he con­sid­ers his own artis­tic aims to be “exces­sively ambitious.” In his works, he strives to be per­son­ally expres­sive MORE

Published July 16, 2010
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Online Schumann exhibit launches

On June 8, the Gilmore Music Library celebrated Robert Schumann’s 200th birthday with the installation of an exhibit designed by Richard Boursy and entitled Robert Schumann: Composer, Critic, and Correspondent.

A central figure in the romantic movement in Germany, Schumann (1810–1856) concentrated on piano music in the early phase of his career, and eventually came to excel in genres ranging from the song to the symphony.

Perhaps the most important music journalist of his era, Schumann edited the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik and wrote reviews heralding the genius of the 21-year-old Chopin and the 20-year-old Johannes Brahms. Clara Wieck Schumann (1819–1896), Robert’s wife, was one of the greatest pianists of the century, and a notable composer as well.

This week the exhibit’s online version makes its debut. Click HERE to view. MORE

Published July 12, 2010
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“If you arrange it, they will listen”: a talk by Benjamin Verdery

New York City Classical Guitar Society presents the talk on July 1 at 7 pm

Our monthly event for July will be feature Benjamin Verdery in a talk entitled “If You Arrange It, They Will Listen!” Ben has arranged music from Mozart to Hendrix for the guitar, and in this talk he will share his approach to arranging. The presentation will be followed by open playing time for members, so bring your guitar and play, or just come and listen. This is a great opportunity to gain experience performing, try out a new piece in front of an audience, or just share music with others in a supportive environment.

NYCCGS Member Events are free and open to all members and first-time guests. MORE

Published July 1, 2010
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