75/100: Yale Percussion Group celebrates Steve Reich and John Cage

Feb. 19th concert honors the birthdays of two composers of significant pieces for percussion

The Yale School of Music presents the celebrated Yale Percussion Group in 75/100, a concert celebrating the birthdays of Steve Reich and John Cage, on Sunday, February 19th.

The ensemble, directed by the acclaimed percussionist and Yale faculty member Robert van Sice, has been hailed as “truly extraordinary” by composer Steve Reich. Now the YPG returns the compliment by dedicating the first half of this concert to Reich’s music.

The concert opens with Reich’s Mallet Quartet (2009), for two marimbas and two vibraphones. A highlight will be Reich’s Electric Counterpoint, in a new arrangement for vibraphone, marimba, and tape. Svetoslav Stoyanov, a YSM alum, created the arrangement and is the player heard on the pre-recorded segments.

The first half will conclude with Reich’s Music for Mallet Instruments, Voices and Organ, a 1973 composition for glockenspiels, marimbas, metallophone, women’s voices, and organ. Reich, who turns 75 this year, describes the piece as “deal[ing] with two simultaneous interrelated rhythmic processes.”

The second half of the concert is devoted to the music of John Cage, who was born 100 years ago this year and died in 1992. His Third Construction, written in 1941, is for four percussionists who play a vast variety of Western and international instruments as well as ordinary items like tin cans and a conch shell. Other Cage pieces on the program include In a Landscape (1948), originally written for piano, and Amores (1943), for piano and three percussionists.

She Is Asleep is a piece in two parts; in Part I, four percussionists play twelve tom-toms, and Part II is for voice and prepared piano (“prepared” meaning that objects have been deliberately placed in the instrument to alter the sound). Child of Tree (1975) is inspired by the sound of cactus spines being plucked; in the score, Cage instructs the performer in a structured improviation on ten instruments made of plants. “This improvisation is the performance,” Cage wrote. MORE

Published January 31, 2012
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Amphion String Quartet to join CMS Two

The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center announced today the appointment of two outstanding young ensembles, the Amphion String Quartet and the Danish String Quartet, to its prestigious CMS Two program. The three-year residency will begin with the 2013–2014 season.

Three of the four members of the Amphion Quartet are alumni of the Yale School of Music: cellist Mihai Marica (’04 CERT, ’08 AD) and violinists Katie Hyun (’09 AD) and David Southorn (’09 MM, ’10 AD). The quartet’s violist is Wei-Yang Andy Lin.

In its announcement, CMS Two noted that both quartets were “chosen from an international pool of applicants by a distinguished panel of performers, educators, and artistic administrators” and and that “each is an award-winning ensemble with exceptional musical training.”

CMS Two offers its members three full seasons of participation in every facet of CMS activity, including performances on all stages during the New York concert season; national and international tour appearances; recordings on both the in-house label (CMS Studio Recordings) and the CMS Live! digital download series; concert broadcasts on American Public Media’s Performance Today, the CMS national radio series, and Live From Lincoln Center television broadcasts; and multiple educational outreach opportunities. MORE

Published January 31, 2012
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Annie Rosen ’12MM wins Metropolitan Opera’s New England Regional Audition

Other Yale Opera singers take Third Prize, Encouragement Award

Mezzo-soprano Annie Rosen ’12MM won first place in the Metropolitan Opera’s New England Regional Auditions, held yesterday in Boston. Rosen will compete on the Met stage in the National Council Auditions on March 18.

Two other YSM singers also made strong showings in the New England Regional Auditions. Bass-baritone Andrew Craig Brown ’12AD took third place, and baritone Cameron McPhail ’12MM won an Encouragement Award.

The National Council Auditions Program, sponsored by the Metropolitan Opera, sets out to find exceptionally talented opera singers and to assist them in their development, to discover new talent for the Metropolitan Opera, and to search for possible participants in the Met’s Young Artist Development Program.

This season, Annie Rosen appears with Yale Opera as Dorabella in Così fan tutte and with the Yale Baroque Opera Project as Penelope in Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, before spending the summer as an Apprentice Artist with the Santa Fe Opera. She has been called an “excellent vocal soloist” by the New York Times and praised by Opera News for her “dulcet, sweetly phrased” singing. MORE

Published January 30, 2012
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Yale Philharmonia pairs Haydn and Mahler Feb. 24

Featuring guest conductor Xu Zhong, cellist Wang Jian, and more

The Yale School of Music presents the Philharmonia Orchestra of Yale in a concert of music for chamber orchestra on Friday, February 24 at 8 pm.

Renowned cellist Aldo Parisot will conduct his former student Wang Jian (pictured at left) in a Haydn cello concerto, and Chinese conductor Xu Zhong will lead the orchestra in the chamber arrangement of Mahler’s Fourth Symphony.

While the Yale Philharmonia usually performs in Woolsey Hall, this concert will be performed in the more intimate space of Morse Recital Hall, located in Sprague Memorial Hall (470 College Street, corner of Wall Street).

The concert opens with Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C major, featuring soloist Jian Wang, a graduate of the School of Music (’88 CERT) and a protégé of the late Isaac Stern. The renowned cellist Aldo Parisot, who last year celebrated his fiftieth year on the Yale faculty, will conduct the concerto.

In 1921, Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 in G major – already the most compact of Mahler’s symphonies – was arranged for a small chamber orchestra. The arrangement was created for Vienna’s Society for Private Musical Performances, which offered enthusiasts a way to hear new compositions. MORE

Published January 24, 2012
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New exhibit explores local 19th-century woodwind makers

Portrait of Philo Ruggles (1765-1829) by Ralph Earl (1751-1801). Courtesy of the Litchfield Historical Society.

A new exhibit called Whirring Lathes, Dulcet Tones: Woodwind Making in Early 19th-Century Connecticut and New York will open on Wednesday, January 25, 2012, at Yale’s Collection of Musical Instruments.

Twenty-six woodwind instruments are on display, including flageolets, fifes, a piccolo, flutes, clarinets, and a bassoon.

The most unusual instrument featured in the exhibit is a bass clarion (a bass clarinet in the shape of a bassoon) made by Uzal Miner after a design that his mentor George Catlin patented in the early 1800s.

The instruments come from the workshops of Edward Riley (New York City), George Catlin (Hartford), Uzal Miner (Hartford), John Meacham, Jr. (Hartford and Albany), Asa Hopkins (Litchfield), Benjamin & Munger (New Haven), and Firth, Hall, and Pond (New York City and Litchfield).

Enhancing the displays of instruments are period portraiture, genre scenes, newspaper advertisements, instrument tutors, and instruction books. Facsimiles of engravings enable viewers to see what kind of lathes were used in the turning of woodwinds at this time. Actual wood samples acquaint viewers with the different species of woods that were favored by makers: boxwood, satinwood, rosewood, cocuswood, ebony, and maple. MORE

Published January 23, 2012
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Saturday Seminar to explore the role of technology

The next Saturday Seminar of the 2011–2012 academic year will take place on February 4. The topic will be The Role of Technology.

Led by Astrid Baumgardner, the coordinator of YSM’s new Career Strategies Office, the seminar will feature three guest panelists: Greg Anderson, Anya Grundmann, and Jessica Lustig. The seminar begins at 11 am on the stage of Morse Recital Hall.

Greg Anderson (left) is a 2008 School of Music graduate and one half of the technologically and musically innovative Anderson & Roe Piano Duo.

Anya Grundmann (pictured at right) is Executive Producer of NPR Music, the part of the network that develops and presents music on a variety of radio and online platforms.

Jessica Lustig, Managing Director and Founding Partner of 21C Media Group, was the more project architect of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra concert last March that was viewed by 34 million people.

All three guest speakers work in areas that blend music and technology in new and interesting ways. The use of technology and new media has become an increasingly important part of the broad fields of music and the arts, and many artists employ these technologies to broaden their audience, connect with their fans, and promote their careers.

“Our first seminar in September was a great success,” said Associate Dean Michael Yaffe, “and I hope that students will take advantage of this next session.”

Students must register for the Saturday Seminar in advance. Registration is now open.

Published January 20, 2012
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Feb. 13 concert features music of Martin Bresnick

“Bresnick is a major voice.”
–Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times

The Faculty Artist Series at the Yale School of Music presents a concert of music by the award-winning composer Martin Bresnick on Monday, February 13. Featuring performances by pianist Robert Blocker, the acclaimed piano-cello duo TwoSense, and alumni of the School of Music, the concert is a tribute to Bresnick’s thirty years on the Yale faculty. Bresnick, a professor of composition, is also the coordinator of the composition department at the School of Music.

“Bresnick’s legacy as a teacher is secure,” writes John Schaefer on emusic, “but it has threatened to overshadow the fact that Bresnick can just flat-out write.” As evidence of this, Bresnick also the winner of such prestigious awards as the Rome Prize, a Fulbright grant, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, among many others.

The piano-cello duo TwoSense, featuring Bang-on-a-Can All-Stars Ashley Bathgate (’07 MM, ’08 AD), cello and Lisa Moore, piano, will open the concert with “Ballade,” an homage to Brahms. Bathgate will join with violinist Sarita Kwok (’06 AD, ’09 DMA) to perform “Bird as Prophet” (1999), a piece that Fanfare Magazine considers “an expansive yet concentrated power of expression.”

Robert Blocker, the dean of the Yale School of Music, will perform “Strange Devotion,” a movement from Bresnick’s collection “Caprichos Enfaticos” (inspired by Francisco Goya’s masterful series of paintings, Los Destastres de la Guerra).

Percussionists Robert van Sice (a YSM faculty member) and Ian Rosenbaum (’10 MM, ’11 AD) will join with pianist Moore to perform the double concerto “Grace.” In the piece, writes Anthony Tommasini in the New York Times, “extended passages of halting rhythms and quizzical restraint are broken up with bursts of precise and telling gestures.”


Published January 20, 2012
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Free Lunchtime Chamber Music concert Feb. 15

The Yale School of Music resumes its Lunchtime Chamber Music concert series on Wednesday, February 15 at 12:30 pm.

This free event features a variety of chamber ensembles.  composed of graduate musicians who have come from around the world to study at the Yale School of Music. Violinist Wendy Sharp is director of the chamber music program.

The concert takes place in Morse Recital Hall, located in Sprague Hall (470 College Street, corner of Wall Street, New Haven).

The concert 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. MORE

Published January 20, 2012
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Seventh Yale Guitar Extravaganza announces lineup

March 24 full of concerts, master classes, workshops, & more

The Yale School of Music is pleased to announce the line-up for the seventh semiannual Guitar Extravaganza. The event, which will take place on Saturday, March 24, 2012, is directed by celebrated guitarist Benjamin Verdery, the longstanding chair of the guitar department at the Yale School of Music.

The Extravaganza brings together guitar lovers for a day of concerts, lectures, exhibits, master classes, and other events. Performances will feature both students and established artists. Events will take place mainly in Sprague Hall (470 College Street, New Haven), as well as in Sudler Hall (in W.L. Harkness Hall, 100 Wall Street) and the Collection of Musical Instruments (15 Hillhouse Avenue).

This year’s featured artists include the fast-rising duet SoloDuo (pictured at left), the adventurous Dither Guitar Quartet (pictured below), and classical guitarists Kim Perlak and Zaira Meneses.

The Dither Guitar Quartet plays an eclectic mix of experimental music for electric guitars. Their concert, which begins at 2 pm, will feature their signature blend of composed music, improvisation, and electronic manipulation.

Kim Perlak, a School of Music graduate, specializes in American music (classical, jazz, and traditional) and has been featured on NPR and CBS Sunday Morning. Zaira Meneses, a Mexican-born guitarist hailed as “stunning” (Syracuse News), was recently praised for her “fluid, colorful style” by the New York Times. The two join together at 6 pm in a concert featuring music of the Americas.

SoloDuo, the acclaimed Italian duo comprised of Matteo Mela and Lorenzo Micheli, will perform the event’s final concert at 8 pm. “Do not miss a chance to hear them,” commands the New York Concert Review. “It is hard to say what left more of an impression: their remarkable blend, their sublime artistry, or their impeccable technique.”

The Guitar Extravaganza will also offer events such as workshops, panel discussions, and master classes. A complete schedule is available at music.yale.edu/events/guitar. MORE

Published January 19, 2012
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Winds of France to serenade concertgoers Feb. 14

Featuring the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, “a jewel in this nation’s musical crown”

The Yale School of Music presents Winds of France, a concert of French chamber music, on Tuesday, February 14 – Valentine’s Day. The performers are part of the prestigious Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, called “a marvelous ensemble… committed and passionate” by the San Francisco Classical Voice. The concert takes place at 8 pm in Morse Recital Hall.

“It would be hard to name more superior proponents of their instruments than the members of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center,” writes the Post-Gazette. Three of the performers are also Yale faculty: Stephen Taylor, oboe; David Shifrin, clarinet; and William Purvis, horn. Rounding out the ensemble are Alessio Bax, piano; Tara Helen O’Connor, flute; and Peter Kolkay, bassoon.

The concert features a variety of music for winds instruments, including two wind quintets: Jean Françaix’s Quintet from 1948, and Jacques Ibert’s Trois Pièces Brèves (three short pieces) from 1930.

The program also explores unfamiliar gems of the French repertoire, including Maurice Emmanuel’s Sonata for flute, clarinet, and piano, Op. 11 (1907) and Yan Maresz’s Circumambulation for flute (1993, rev. 1996).

All six performers will come together for the concert’s finale, Francis Poulenc’s Sextet for winds and piano (written 1932–39). MORE

Published January 18, 2012
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