London Haydn Quartet performs with clarinetist Eric Hoeprich at the Collection Feb. 4 & 5

Concerts feature Haydn string quartets, Mozart Clarinet Quintet

The Yale Collection of Musical Instruments presents the acclaimed London Haydn Quartet and clarinetist Eric Hoeprich in concerts featuring Haydn string quartets and Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet.

The program will be presented twice: Saturday, February 4 at 8 pm and Sunday, February 5 at 3 pm. Both performances take place at the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments (15 Hillhouse Avenue, New Haven).

The London Haydn Quartet – Catherin Manson and Michael Gurevich, violins; James Boyd, viola; and Richard Lester, cello – specializes in historically-informed performances of Haydn. Described by The Times as “playing with clarity and character,” they perform with classical-style bows and gut strings to recreate the techniques and sounds of Haydn’s day.

Their performances at Yale will open with two string quartets by Haydn, who has become known as the father of the string quartet for his role in shaping the genre: the Quartet in G Major, Op. 33, No. 5, and Quartet in D Major, Op. 20, No. 4.

Historical clarinetist Eric Hoeprich will join the quartet to perform Mozart’s Quintet for clarinet and strings in A major, K. 581. Mozart wrote the piece for his friend Anton Stadler, a virtuoso on the basset clarinet (an instrument with a lower range than modern clarinets). Hoeprich owns a reproduction of Stadler’s basset clarinet; he made the instrument himself, basing it on an engraving from a program in Riga where Stadler performed Mozart’s clarinet concerto in 1794. MORE

Published January 17, 2012
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Hung-Kuan Chen performs the “Hammerklavier” and other Beethoven sonatas Feb. 8

The Horowitz Piano Series at the Yale School of Music presents a recital by the pianist Hung-Kuan Chen on Wednesday, February 8. Chen, hailed as “a deeply probing, imaginative player with an enormous palette of tone colors” (Boston Globe), will perform an all-Beethoven program.

This recital will feature three of Beethoven’s sonatas: Nos. 27, 28, and 29. The Sonata No. 27 in E minor, Op. 90, was written in 1814 (toward the end of Beethoven’s middle period). Beethoven described its restless first movement as “a contest between the head and the heart.”

Beethoven had become almost completely deaf by the time he wrote the Sonata No. 28 in A major, Op. 101, two years later. The sonata, which Beethoven described as “a series of impressions and reveries,” is considered the first of his late-period sonatas.

The concert will columinate in Beethoven’s monumental Sonata No. 29 in B-flat major, Op. 106. Known as the “Hammerklavier,” it is widely viewed as one of the composer’s most important works – and one of the most difficult.

This concert takes place at 8 pm in Sprague Hall (470 College St., corner of Wall Street). The Horowitz Piano Series is directed by Boris Berman. MORE

Published January 17, 2012
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New Music New Haven features Ezra Laderman’s Piano Sonata No. 5 on Feb. 2

Featured performers include TwoSense, pianist Amy J. Yang

The Yale School of Music presents a New Music New Haven performance on Thursday, February 2 at 8pm in Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Hall (470 College St., New Haven, corner of Wall St.). The performance will feature the Piano Sonata No. 5 of Yale faculty composer Ezra Laderman. YSM alumna Amy Yang ’10 AD, who has been hailed by the New York Concert Review as “a magnificent artist and poet,” will perform the sonata.

The piano-cello duo TwoSense, featuring Bang-on-a-Can All-Stars Ashley Bathgate (’07 MM, ’08 AD), cello and Lisa Moore, piano, will also be featured on the program. The “admired performers” (New Yorker) will play Daniel Wohl’s One Piece and Paul KerekesReach.

Stephen Feigenbaum’s Fantasy for oboe and piano explores a new take on the relationship between performer and accompanist, with the piano taking a largely commentary role and the oboe holding together the piece’s groundwork. Collideoscope, a piano quartet by Jordan Kuspa, dramatizes the composer’s interactions with a work of art.

The program will also include Orbis Tertius, a exploration of extra-terrestrial fanfares by Matthew Welch for the unique combination of brass septet and bagpipes. MORE

Published January 13, 2012
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Organs and Pianos at Yale, but No Dueling Keyboards

By PHILLIP LUTZ
New York Times

SIMON PRESTON, an organist with a wit as dry as his talent is prodigious, had just concluded a solo concert in Yale University’s Woolsey Hall last November when he was asked to draw a broad comparison between the hall’s monumental Newberry Memorial Organ — on which he had rendered Bach, Mozart, Liszt and Olivier Messiaen to sustained applause — and the other great organs he had played.

“This one works,” he said.

Mr. Preston, whose 50-year career has included appointments at Westminster Abbey and Christ Church Oxford, was smiling as he answered the question. But for all its humor, his answer was no throwaway, either as an assessment of the prized and pampered Newberry organ or as a metaphor for Yale’s keyboard programming in general — a comprehensive and, at times, challenging series of organ and piano recitals.

By the time the season is over in April, Great Organ Music at Yale, the primary vehicle for producing organ concerts under the Institute of Sacred Music, is to have presented six concerts, featuring the work of composers from the late-Renaissance Dutchman Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck to the French modernists Marcel Dupré and his student, Messiaen.

At the same time, the Horowitz Piano Series, a parallel set of concerts run by the School of Music’s piano department, by the time it finishes in March, is to have presented eight shows, offering works by composers from Mozart to Martin Bresnick. A Yale faculty member, Mr. Bresnick has written a new piece that Robert Blocker, the dean of the School of Music, will perform in the season-closing show.

Mr. Blocker’s decision to include the Bresnick piece, “Extrana Devocion” — a processional inspired by a Goya etching — reflects a penchant for ambitious composition in the programming. The piece, as described by Mr. Bresnick in an e-mail, weaves “gentle sonorities, deliberate tempo and dreamlike realistic form” in an attempt to suggest the etching “in a vivid, unrestrained and compelling way.”

The airing of the piece, in the context of the program as a whole, also constitutes something of a rebuttal to those who argue that a bill of fare should not be entirely composed of miniatures. Despite its relative brevity — Mr. Bresnick put its running time at six and a half minutes — the piece will fit squarely among the set’s other selections, short works by Brahms, Schumann and another Yale composer, Ezra Laderman, among others.

Over the course of the series, extended works are to balance Mr. Blocker’s miniatures — among them the “Hammerklavier,” perhaps the knottiest of the late Beethoven sonatas, which Hung-Kuan Chen is to take on next month.

Advocacy of a sort drives most programming choices — and those in the piano series are no exception. Wei-Yi Yang said he became enamored of Schubert’s Sonata in A major as a student at the School of Music a decade ago. Now a professor there, he is to revisit the piece this month — a decision, he said, driven by a desire to promote Schubert’s later sonatas, which are “unjustly underrepresented in the context of concert programming.” Boris Berman, who directs the Horowitz series, said his decision to place Brahms and Schoenberg side by side in his season-opening recital last October was made in good measure to highlight the composers’ connections and paint a coherent picture of the Viennese milieu in which they operated.…

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Published January 13, 2012
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January 26th concert features Matthew Barnson’s three violin sonatas

“His work is fresh and arises from a distinct personality.”
– San Francisco Classical Voice

The Yale School of Music presents a concert featuring the music of Matthew Barnson on Thursday, January 26, 2012. The concert, which is Barnson’s Doctor of Musical Arts recital, will feature his three sonatas for violin and piano, performed by violinist Ari Streisfeld and pianist Jessica Osborne.

Streisfield is one of the violinists in the JACK Quartet, considered one of today’s “young, brilliant” groups by the New Yorker. Osborne, a graduate of the Yale School of Music, was praised by the Washington Post as a pianist “with a refreshing mellowness and poetic touch” after her debut with the National Symphony Orchestra.

The San Francisco Classical Voice calls Barnson’s work “fresh” and notes that it “arises from a distinct personality.” Barnson’s first violin sonata, written in 2008, takes inspiration from the composers Berio and Britten. Listen to a recording of the sonata on Barnson’s website.

“Fixity and motion were my two principal concerns in composing my second violin sonata,” writes Barnson of his two-movement piece from 2009. “If my piece were a city, it would have three subway lines that intersect in various places that allow the music to transfer and travel smoothly in various directions.” MORE

Published January 12, 2012
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Sweet Honey in the Rock performs in Woolsey Hall Jan. 15

(Photo courtesy of Sweet Honey in the Rock)

The internationally renowned a cappella ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock will perform a free concert as part of Yale’s annual campus-wide celebration of the national Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

The concert will take place Sunday, January 15, at 3 pm in Woolsey Hall (corner of College and Grove Streets). The concert is free and open to the public, and no tickets are required; the doors will open at 2:30 pm. Donations will be collected for the American Refugee Committee and Christian Community Action.  MORE

Published January 10, 2012
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Faculty artists perform Brahms chamber music Jan. 31

Concert features Boris Berman, Ettore Causa, Clive Greensmith, & more

The Yale School of Music presents four prestigious performers in a Faculty Artist Series concert on Tuesday, January 31. Pianist Boris Berman, violinist Julie Eskar, violist Ettore Causa, and cellist Clive Greensmith (pictured at left, best known as part of the Tokyo String Quartet) will join forces for an all-Brahms program.

The concert will open with two Brahms trios: the Trio in E-flat major, Op. 40, and the Trio in A minor, Op. 114. The first trio was originally written for violin, horn, and piano, and here will be performed with viola instead of horn. The second piece, originally for clarinet, cello, and piano, will be performed in the version featuring violin instead of clarinet.

All four performers will come together to conclude the concert with Brahms’s Piano Quartet in C minor, Op. 60. The quartet is one of Brahms’s darkest chamber works, outside of the lushly serene third movement, and is sometimes thought to reflect the composer’s love for Clara Schumann.

The concert begins at 8 pm in Morse Recital Hall, located in Sprague Hall at 470 College Street (corner of Wall Street). Admission is free. MORE

Published January 10, 2012
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Violinist Wendy Sharp & friends perform chamber music of France

January 29 concert features music of Fauré, Ravel, and Milhaud

The Yale School of Music’s Faculty Artist Series presents violinist Wendy Sharp (pictured at left) in a concert of French chamber music on Sunday, January 29th at 4 pm. Sharp will be joined by violist Marka Gustavsson, cellist Mimi Hwang, and pianist Melvin Chen. The concert takes place in Morse Recital Hall, located in Sprague Hall at 470 College Street.

Wendy Sharp is a member of the Yale School of Music faculty and the winner of numerous competitions. Collectively, Gustavsson, Hwang, and Chen are on the faculty at institutions such as the Bard College Conservatory, Eastman School of Music, and Yellow Barn, and are members of ensembles including the Colorado Quartet and the Amenda Quartet.

The program will include two duets: Milhaud‘s Sonatine for violin and viola, and Ravel’s Sonata for violin and cello, a tribute to the memory of Debussy with subtle nods to Bartók and Kodaly. The concert will conclude with Fauré’s Piano Quartet No. 1 in C minor, Op. 15, which is full of “refined sensuality, elegance, and craftsmanship” (Classical Music Guide). MORE

Published January 10, 2012
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“Poetic” pianist Wei-Yi Yang performs Jan. 25

The Horowitz Piano Series at the Yale School of Music presents a recital by the “untiring, passionate, and poetic” (Classics Today) pianist Wei-Yi Yang on Wednesday, January 25. Mr. Yang’s performances have been described by critics as “sensational” (New York Times) and “a joy to behold” (Classics Today). An associate professor of piano at the School of Music, Mr. Yang is internationally acclaimed for his recitals, chamber music collaborations, and appearances with orchestra.

The program will include three masterworks by Maurice Ravel and Franz Schubert. The program opens with Ravel’s Valses nobles et sentimentales (Noble and Sentimental Waltzes), an elegant tribute to the waltzes of Vienna and Schubert. The program continues with Ravel’s enigmatic symbolist collection Miroirs (Mirrors or Reflections). Each of the five movements carries a evocative title, such as “A Boat on the Ocean” or “The Valley of Bells,” that is depicted in the eloquent, coloristic music. MORE

Published January 9, 2012
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January 19th concert features music of Martin Suckling

“A young composer… whose star is resolutely in the ascendant.”
– The Times

The Yale School of Music presents a concert featuring the music of Martin Suckling on Thursday, January 19, 2012. The concert, which is Suckling’s Doctor of Musical Arts recital, will feature live performances of intimate works as well as recordings from critically-acclaimed performances.

The concert opens with “Gemini” for two violas, performed by the composer and Alisa Seavey. Next on the program is “Passacaglie” for cello and electronics, featuring the cellist Ariana Falk. Pianist Timo Andres, a graduate of the School of Music, will perform Suckling’s three-movement “Lieder Ohne Worte” (“Song Without Words”). All the guest perfomers are graduates of the Yale School of Music.

As part of the requirements for the DMA recital, Suckling will also present recordings from the overseas premieres of two pieces: the orchestral work “storm, rose, tiger,” which The Guardian called the “engrossing, haunting and self-assured,” and “Candlebird,” a song cycle called “luxuriously imaginative” by The Times and “constantly compelling” by Classical Source.

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

Published January 6, 2012
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