Yale Philharmonia and Oundjian perform Bruch, Adams, Tchaikovsky Oct. 21

Violinist Soo Ryun Baek performs Bruch’s “Scottish Fantasy”

The Yale School of Music presents the Philharmonia Orchestra of Yale in a concert featuring music by Max Bruch and John Adams along with Tchaikovsky’s Second Symphony on Friday, October 21, 2011 at 8 pm in Woolsey Hall (500 College Street, New Haven).

Peter Oundjian, music director of the Toronto Symphony and principal guest conductor of the Yale Philharmonia, will conduct the concert. The program opens with John Adams’ Tromba Lontana (“Distant Trumpet”), a subdued take on the traditional brassy, brazen fanfare.

Violinist Soo Ryun Baek ’11MM, a graduate of the Yale School of Music and winner of the Woolsey Competition, will be the featured soloist on Max Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy. The piece, in which the German composer reworks Scottish folk melodies and dances, is dedicated to the renowned violin soloist Pablo de Sarasate.

The second half of the program features Piotr Illyich Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2 in C minor. This early symphony is nicknamed “Little Russian” for its use of three folk songs from the Ukraine—which used to be known as Little Russia—in the first, second, and final movements. At its premiere, listeners noted Tchaikovsky’s mastery in combining these traditional folk songs with Western symphonic methods. While less performed than his later symphonies, it remains a gem for audiences today.

Admission to the concert is free, and no tickets are required. MORE

Published September 30, 2011
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Concert features music of David Lang Oct. 6

The Yale School of Music presents the first New Music New Haven concert of the year on Thursday, October 6, 2011. Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang, a faculty member and graduate of the School of Music, is the featured composer. The concert will take place at 8 pm in Morse Recital Hall (located in Sprague Hall at 470 College Street).

New works by four students in the School’s prestigious composition program will open the concert. Hannah Lash’s “Hush” and Loren Loiacono’s “Walking Rhythm” are written for mixed ensembles, which will be led by the School of Music’s two conducting fellows. A string quartet called “connecticut shift” by Paul Kerekes will follow, and Garth Neustadter’s “New Haven Counterpoint” for soprano saxophone will close the first half. Neustadter recently won an Emmy Award for his score to a PBS documentary.

David Lang will be represented by two pieces. “Cheating, Lying, Stealing,” for the unusual combination of cello, bass clarinet, piano, and three percussionists, has an amusing story behind it. “During a trip to the dentist,” says Lang, “My son was given laughing gas. The dentist called it ‘sweet air,’ a gentle name to take the fear out of having a cavity filled. It worked.”

Lang’s piece “sweet air” is written for violin, cello, flute, clarinet, and piano. The composer writes: “You are not taught to find the dirty seams in music. You are not taught to be low-down, clumsy, sly and underhanded. In ‘Cheating, Lying, Stealing,’ I am trying to look at something dark.”

All the music will be performed by students and alumni of the Yale School of Music. Chris Theofanidis is the artistic director of New Music New Haven.

Admission to the concert is free, and no tickets are required. MORE

Published September 30, 2011
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Kandinsky comes to life in Oct. 19 performance by Mikhail Rudy

mikhail-rudy-with-kandinsky-imageThe Horowitz Piano Series at the Yale School of Music presents a multimedia performance by the internationally renowned pianist Mikhail Rudy on Wednesday, October 19 at 8 pm. The Russian-born artist will perform music by three composers from his home country: Scriabin, Stravinsky, and Musorgsky. The recital will take place in Morse Recital Hall, located in Sprague Memorial Hall at 470 College Street.

Musorgsky’s most popular piece, “Pictures at an Exhibition,” will take on new life with colorful animations. In 1928, the artist Wassily Kandinsky created a stage production for Musorgsky’s music. Mikhail Rudy, an experimental filmmaker as well as a musician, has created a video that animates Kandinsky’s sketches and watercolors for that production. The video will be projected on the giant screen behind the piano.

Mikhail Rudy will begin the program with Alexander Scriabin’s last piano works: “Poeme Vers la flamme,” Op. 72; Two Dances, Op. 73; and Five Preludes, Op. 74. He will then play a suite from Stravinsky’s ballet “Petrushka,” in his own arrangement of Stravinsky’s piano transcriptions. “The superhuman virtuosity he exhibited made [this arrangement] far and away the musical highlight of the night,” raved the Post-Gazette.

Rudy has earned critical acclaim for his creative and expressive powers. “So consistently thought out and so brilliantly executed an interpretation,” praised the Vancouver Sun; “This is playing of the highest order of imagination,” wrote Gramophone.

The 2011–2012 Horowitz Piano Series traverses a broad path through the core of the piano repertoire, with star performers such as Yefim Bronfman, artists from the Yale School of Music’s faculty, and back-to-back recitals exploring the complete Prokofiev sonatas. Boris Berman is the artistic director of the series. More information on this season can be found HERE.

Tickets to Mikhail Rudy’s performance on October 19 are $12–$22, $6 with student ID. Pick 5 and Pick 3 sampler packages offer discounts of up to 20% from regular ticket prices. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit music.yale.edu or call the Yale School of Music concert office at 203 432-4158.


Mikhail Rudy’s distinguished musical career is linked with his search for excellence across art and culture. In addition to his active performing schedule, Mr. Rudy founded the Festival de St. Riquier, where he was the artistic director for twenty years. He is also a respected television broadcaster, the creator of a series of radio projects for France-Musique, and an active experimental filmmaker and writer. Mikhail Rudy has appeared with the Cleveland Orchestra under Maazel, the London Symphony Orchestra under Tilson Thomas, the Philadelphia Orchestra, La Scala, Royal Concertgebouw, and the symphonies of Boston, Houston, Toronto, and Sydney, among many others. Festival appearances include Berlin, Vienna, Tanglewood, Edinburgh, and numerous French festivals. His highly acclaimed recordings on EMI include Rachmaninov’s complete works for piano and orchestra with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic; Brahms’s complete solo piano works; and music of Janácek, Szymanowski, Ravel, Schubert, Liszt and Scriabin. An artistic project titled Double Dream, conceived by Mikhail Rudy and jazz pianist Misha Alperin, consists of partial rewrites of and improvisations on works by Haydn, Beethoven, Schumann, Chopin, Debussy, Janácek, and Scriabin. The CD, released in 2004 on EMI Classics, was named Gramophone’s Best Record of the Month.

Published September 28, 2011
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“Passionate, uninhibited, and spellbinding” Brentano String Quartet performs Oct. 18

brentano-quartetPianist Ignat Solzhenitsyn joins to play Ginastera

The Oneppo Chamber Music Series at the Yale School of Music presents the Brentano String Quartet on Tuesday, October 18 at 8 pm in Morse Recital Hall. In addition to string quartets by Haydn, Beethoven, and Schubert, the ensemble will perform a quintet with pianist Ignat Solzhenitsyn.

The concert opens with the last string quartets that Haydn and Beethoven each wrote: Haydn’s unfinished Quartet in D minor, Op. 103, and Beethoven’s Quartet in F major, Op. 135. This is the piece in which Beethoven inscribed the existential question, “Must it be?” and answered, “It must be!”

Schubert’s posthumous Quartettsatz (movement for string quartet) in C minor, D. 703, will open the second half of the program.

The Brentano Quartet will then join forces with acclaimed pianist Ignat Solzhenitsyn to perform Alberto Ginastera’s Quintet for piano and strings, Op. 29, written in 1963. Solzhenitsyn is widely respected as an orchestral conductor, and as a chamber musician has collaborated with Mitsuko Uchida as well as the Emerson, Borodin, and St. Petersburg string quartets.

Published September 27, 2011
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Violinist Brian Lewis performs Schumann, Milhaud, Avalon, and more Oct. 11

“This is artistry that isn’t to be missed.”
– Topeka Capital-Journal

Brian Lewis, violinThe Yale School of Music presents violinist Brian Lewis in a Faculty Artist Recital on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 8 pm in Morse Recital Hall (located in Sprague Hall at 470 College Street). Now in his second year as a visiting professor at Yale, Lewis will perform violin sonatas by Schumann, Milhaud, and Robert Avalon, as well as music by Copland and Robert Russell Bennett. He will be joined by pianist Laura Kennedy.

Lewis and Kennedy will play Darius Milhaud’s Sonata No. 2; Schumann’s Sonata No. 1 in A minor, Op. 105; and the Connecticut premiere of Robert Avalon’s Violin Sonata, written in 1983. They will also perform the Hoe-Down from Copland’s Rodeo and Robert Russell Bennett’s jubilant Hexapoda: Five Studies in Jitteroptera, the greatest crowd-pleaser from a composer best known for his Broadway orchestrations.

“Few can match Lewis for an honest virtuosity that supremely serves the music,” raves the Topeka Capital-Journal. “This is artistry that isn’t to be missed.”

The recital is free and open to the public; no tickets are required. For more information, call the Yale School of Music concert office at 203 432-4158 or visit music.yale.edu.

About Brian Lewis

One of the most versatile violinists on the current scene, Brian Lewis is an exceptionally gifted and charismatic artist. Much sought after as a performer and teacher, Mr. Lewis concertizes and teaches around the globe. He has released six CDs, most recently for Delos as soloist with the London Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Lewis began his violin studies at the age of four. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Juilliard, studying with the renowned pedagogue Dorothy DeLay. Mr. Lewis holds the David and Mary Winton Green Chair in String Performance and Pedagogy at The University of Texas at Austin. He is also Artistic Director of the Starling-DeLay Symposium on Violin Studies at the Juilliard School, concertmaster of the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra in Houston, founding member of the Texas Piano Quartet, and Artistic Director of the Starling Distinguished Violinist Series at UT. Brian Lewis is in his second year as the Class of ’57 Visiting Professor in Music at the Yale School of Music.

Published September 26, 2011
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Jory Vinikour brings historical keyboards to life in Oct. 16 concert

Program features French, German harpsichords

The concert season at the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments opens with a performance by harpsichordist Jory Vinikour on Sunday, October 16. Vinikour, born in the U.S. and active across Europe, will perform music by Bach, Handel, Rameau, and others on French and German harpsichords from the eighteenth century. The concert will take place at 3 pm at the Collection of Musical Instruments (15 Hillhouse Avenue, New Haven).

Two harpsichords from the Collection will be featured in this recital. Music by French composers will be performed on a harpsichord made in Paris around 1740 by François Etienne Blanchet the Elder. Music by Bach, Scarlatti, and Handel will be performed on a harpsichord made in Hamburg around 1760 by Johann Adolph Hass.

Vinikour will open the program with J.S. Bach’s virtuosic Toccata in D Major, BWV 912, performing on the German harpsichord. He will then play four of Domenico Scarlatti’s compact sonatas: the Sonata in D Major, K. 535; B minor, K 87; D Major, K. 119; and D minor, K. 120. The first half will close with Handel’s Chaconne in G Major, HWV 435, a set of increasingly intricate variations.

The second half of the program turns to France: On the Parisian harpsichord, Vinikour will perform a suite of pieces in F major by Louis Couperin. The concert will conclude with Rameau’s second set of Pièces de Clavecin (harpsichord pieces), written in 1724.

The Yale Collection of Musical Instruments, one of the foremost institutions of its kind, preserves and exhibits musical instruments from antiquity to the present. Many instruments are maintained in playing condition and are featured in performances and demonstrations in the fine acoustic of the upstairs gallery.

Published September 23, 2011
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Pianist Lucas Wong performs music of Berlioz and Crumb

Recital features Liszt’s transcription of “Symphonie Fantastique” plus Crumb’s “Makrokosmos” for amplified piano

The Yale School of Music presents the Canadian pianist Lucas Wong in a Doctor of Musical Arts recital on Thursday, October 13, 2011 at 8 pm in Morse Recital Hall (located in Sprague Hall at 470 College Street). Wong will play two substantial works: Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, transcribed for piano by the virtuoso and composer Franz Liszt, and George Crumb’s Makrokosmos, Vol. II for amplified piano.

Symphonie Fantastique, subtitled An Episode in the Life of an Artist, is a popular and musically groundbreaking work. In five movements, ranging from the opening Reverie to the closing Witches’ Sabbath, it tells the story of a musician who despairs over an unrequited love. It’s the composer’s own story: he fell in love with an actress and poured his feelings into this colorful symphony that Bernstein called psychedelic.

In George Crumb’s Makrokosmos, the piano is amplified so that the audience can hear the sound effects: plucking or muting the strings, running a wire brush across them, resting a piece of paper or glass tumblers on them. Said Robert Miller, who premiered the work in 1974, “Makrokosmos (Vol. II) sounds as though the piano has become an orchestra unto itself.”

The recital is free and open to the public; no tickets are required. MORE

Published September 21, 2011
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Faculty artists perform Yiddish cantata, Shostakovich, Beethoven, Schumann, de Falla

Soprano Janna Baty and friends perform multilingual program Oct. 9

The Yale School of Music presents the acclaimed pianist Peter Frankl and soprano Janna Baty in a Faculty Artist Recital on Sunday, October 9, 2011 at 4 pm in Morse Recital Hall. Along with faculty colleagues Ani Kavafian, violin; Ole Akahoshi, cello; and Allan Dean, trumpet, they will perform vocal works of Beethoven, Schumann, Shostakovich, and more.

The concert will open with selections from Beethoven’s Folkslieder and Neue Folkslieder for voice, violin, cello, and piano. Next will be a rarely performed piece: Iván Fischer’s Eine Deutsch-Jiddische Kantate: Die Stimmen der Geister for mezzo-soprano, trumpet, and piano. Fischer, widely known as a conductor, has recently gained fame for his daring production of Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni. He wrote this cantata partly out of fear that without musical compositions, the Yiddish language “may be forgotten.”

The first half of the recital will close with Schumann’s beloved song cycle Frauenliebe und –leben (A Woman’s Life and Love), written as a wedding gift for the composer’s wife Clara.

The second half opens with Shostakovich’s Seven Romances on Poems of Alexander Blok, Op. 127, for voice, violin, cello, and piano. Gerard McBurney calls the piece “an extraordinarily intense sequence: sweet and deeply personal meditations about love, intimacy, friendship and the power of art.” Another collection of seven will conclude the concert: Siete canciones populares españolas by the Spanish composer Manuel de Falla.

The concert is free and open to the public; no tickets are required. MORE

Published September 20, 2011
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Boris Berman opens Horowitz Piano Series Oct. 5

Program highlights Schumann and Brahms

Boris Berman.

Photo by Bob Handelman

Internationally renowned concert pianist Boris Berman, artistic director of the Horowitz Piano Series at Yale, opens the 2011–2012 season with a solo recital on Wednesday, October 5 at 8 pm in Morse Recital Hall. The recital will focus on music of German Romantic composers: Beethoven, Schumann, and Brahms.

Berman, praised by the New York Times for his “poetical refinement and intense musicality,” will open his program with Beethoven’s Sonata in E-flat major, Op. 31, no. 3. The first half will also include Schumann’s Three Romances, Op. 28, and Three Fantasy Pieces, Op. 111.

The second half will be framed by late works of Brahms: first the Three Intermezzos, Op. 117, and the Four Piano Pieces, Op. 119.

Each half will intersperse a short work by Schoenberg, a twentieth-century composer who nevertheless considered himself within the Romantic tradition.

2011–2012 Horowitz Piano Series

The 2011–2012 Horowitz Piano Series traverses a broad path through the core of the piano repertoire, with star performers such as Yefim Bronfman, artists drawn from the Yale School of Music’s faculty, a marathon of the complete Prokofiev sonatas, and a multimedia program featuring animations of Kandinsky’s visualizations of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.


Published September 19, 2011
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A Message from the Dean

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

It has been a great comfort to me to observe how our community has come together and sustained each other since John Miller’s death Thursday morning. Thank you for the many ways you have reached out to the YSM community with your expressions about John and the enormous influence he had on the children of New Haven and on all of us. The support from our friends throughout the University and New Haven continues to offer reassurance.

Some of you have asked how to send condolences to John’s family, and they have indicated that they would appreciate hearing from you at the address below:

The Richard J. Miller Family
50 Pleasant Lane
Poughkeepsie, NY 12603

The family will receive friends on Sunday (tomorrow), September 18, from 2:00 until 6:00 p.m. at Straub, Catalano & Halvey Funeral Home, 55 East Main Street, Wappingers Falls, NY. A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, September 19, at St. Mary’s Cathedral, 11 Clinton Street, Wappingers Falls with interment to follow in the St. Mary’s Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations in John’s name be made to the John Miller Instrument Fund for New Haven Public Schools, Office of the Dean, Yale School of Music, P.O. Box 208246, New Haven, CT, 06520-8246.

We will be notifying you about memorial events for John as they are planned and scheduled. I encourage you to care for yourselves and your friends in the days ahead, and to call on the resources that are available to all of us.

With heartfelt gratitude to each of you,

Robert Blocker

Published September 17, 2011
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