About the performers for the Guitar Extravaganza


Since they first met in 2000, Matteo Mela and Lorenzo Micheli have shared a number of ideas, musical projects, and travels all over the world. In 2003 they formed a duo that has already performed throughout Europe, Asia and North America, and has been acclaimed everywhere – from New York’s Carnegie Hall to Vienna’s Konzerthaus – as one of the best ensembles ever heard. About one of their performances, The Washington Post wrote: “Extraordinarily sensitive, with effortless command and an almost unbearable delicacy of touch, the duo’s playing was nothing less than rapturous – profound and unforgettable musicianship of the highest order.”

In addition to classic, romantic and modern repertoire, Matteo and Lorenzo – joined by lutenist Massimo Lonardi – enjoy exploring the early literature for baroque guitar and theorbo. Together, Matteo and Lorenzo have recorded François de Fossa’s Three Quartets, op. 19 (Stradivarius), a CD of 17th century Italian music for baroque guitar, archlute and theorbo (La Suave Melodia, Stradivarius), Solaria, an anthology of 20th century masterpieces for two guitars (Pomegranate), the Duos Concertants by Antoine De Lhoyer (Naxos), a collection of chamber works by Mauro Giuliani (Amadeus), and a collection of 19th century pieces for two guitars (Noesis, Pomegranate), as well as a dozen solo recordings on the labels Naxos, Brilliant Records, Kookaburra, Mel Bay, and Stradivarius.

» SoloDuo will perform at 8 pm on March 24.

Zaira Meneses & Kim Perlak

Zaira Meneses is among the most exciting performers on the international classical guitar circuit. Her musicality and charisma have delighted audiences on three continents. Recent achievements include a special prize from Italy’s prestigious Academia Chigiana and the recording of several solo CDs available at her website. She has also aroused considerable interest through postings of live performances on Youtube. Zaira Meneses was born in Xalapa, Mexico. From an early age she showed great talent for music, studying both classical guitar and voice. She traveled widely, performing as well with the famed Orquesta de Guitarras. At the age of 17 and as the youngest contestant, she won first prize in an important national concerto competition. This success led to performances of Joaquin Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez and Concierto Madrigal for two guitars throughout Mexico. MORE

Published February 24, 2012
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Ryan Johnstone ’05 MM named Outstanding Young Bandmaster of the Year at TMEA

At the Texas Music Educators Association Convention earlier this month, Ryan Johnstone ’05 MM was named the Phi Beta Mu Outstanding Young Bandmaster for 2012.

The announcement was made on February 9; presentation ceremonies will be held in conjunction with the annual Convention of the Texas Bandmasters Association meeting in San Antonio in July.

Ryan Johnstone is in his third year as the director of band program at Aledo Middle School in Aledo, Texas. Previously, he was an associate director at Aledo High School for three years.

Mr. Johnstone began teaching in 2005 after earning a Master of Music degree in trombone performance from the Yale School of Music. Johnstone is also a 2003 graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music.

In his current position at Aledo Middle School, Mr. Johnstone conducts the Honor Winds, co-directs the Concert Band, teaches beginner brass students at McAnally Intermediate, coaches brass chamber music, and assists with the Symphonic Winds. He also coordinates the Aledo Music Enrichment Program in the Aledo ISD. His professional affiliations include Texas Music Educators Association and the Texas Bandmasters Association.

The AMS Honor Winds are a consistent sweepstakes award winner at UIL and invitational festivals.  They have been named a National Winner in the Mark of Excellence National Wind Band Honors Competition and have also been awarded Best in Class at several invitational festivals.  In 2011, the AMS Honor Winds was named third runner-up in the TMEA Class CCC Honor Band Competition in Texas. MORE

Published February 21, 2012
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Former YSM composers among Grammy winners

Awards for alumnus Robert Aldridge, former faculty member Joseph Schwantner

Robert Aldridge ’97MMA, ’00DMA won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony last Sunday in Los Angeles.

Aldridge is a professor at the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University. Along with librettist Herschel Garfein (also of Montclair State), he was awarded the Grammy for Best Contemporary Classical Composition for the opera Elmer Gantry.

In addition, the recording of the opera won the Grammy for Best Engineered Album, Classical. The CD’s producer, Blanton Alspaugh, had been nominated for a Grammy for Producer of the Year (Classical), but he did not win in that category. (Read more about Aldridge’s win here.)

The Grammy Award for Classical Instrumental solo went to a performance of Joseph Schwantner‘s Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra. Christopher Lamb was the soloist; Giancarlo Guerrero conducted the Nashville Symphony.

Joseph Schwantner was a member of the YSM composition faculty from 1999 to 2003.

Published February 17, 2012
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New Music New Haven concert features solo works by Aaron Jay Kernis & Christopher Theofanidis

Performers in March 1 concert include Wesleyan University Balinese Gamelan

The Yale School of Music presents a New Music New Haven concert on Thursday, March 1 at 8 pm. Faculty composers Aaron Jay Kernis and Christopher Theofanidis are featured on the program, as are several graduate composers. The concert will take place in Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Hall (470 College Street, corner of Wall Street).

The featured piece from Aaron Jay Kernis is the virtuosic piano piece Ballade out of the Blues: Superstar Etude No. 3, performed by Charles Richard-Hamelin. Christopher Theofanidis is represented by Flow, my tears, a short piece for solo violin performed by Julie Eskar.

A guest ensemble, the Wesleyan University Balinese Gamelan, will perform Matthew Welch’s Lagu Campur Dua. Also on the program are Justin Tierney’s Trio for piano and strings; Jordan Kuspa’s Lemonade Toccata (performed by Leonardo Gorosito, marimba); Stephen Feigenbaum’s Spread the News for flute, viola, and cello; and a guitar duo by Daniel Schlosberg.

Welch, Tierney, Kuspa, Feigenbaum, and Schlosberg are graduate students in the School of Music’s prestigious composition program. Christopher Theofanidis is the artistic director of the New Music New Haven concert series. MORE

Published February 16, 2012
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La Morra performs madrigals and more Feb. 26 at the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments

“In a word: delightful.” –Goldberg Magazine

The Yale Collection of Musical Instruments presents the acclaimed ensemble La Morra in Lacrime di Leo: A Concert for Pope Leo X. In this program, La Morra imagines that one day, Pope Leo calls upon his musicians to play the best music popular in Italy at the time.

The program will be presented on Sunday, February 26 at 3 pm at the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments (15 Hillhouse Avenue, New Haven).

Though Pope Leo X (1513–1521) may be remembered mostly for his extravagant lifestyle (he infamously said, “Since God has given us the Papacy, let us enjoy it!”), he was also a music lover and a patron of the arts. He even wrote music himself, some of which will be performed in this concert.

La Morra will also perform music by composers such as Josquin des Prez and Constanzo Festa, as well as less familiar composers including Bartolomeo Tromboncino, Alexander Agricola, Johannes Ghiselin, Joanambrosio Dalza, and Francesco Canova da Milano.

La Morra, which specializes in European music from the late Medieval and early Renaissance periods, will play both instrumental and vocal music, including madrigals, chansons, and frottole (an Italian secular song that preceded the madrigal). MORE

Published February 15, 2012
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YSM students participate in the Kennedy Center’s Conservatory Project 2012

The Kennedy Center

Once again, graduate musicians from the School of Music will participate in the Conservatory Project at the Kennedy Center. On Saturday, February 25, three pianists will perform on the Millennium Stage.

Joo Hyeon Park ’12 AD will perform selections from Alexander Scriabin’s Preludes, Op. 11, and Nikolai Medtner’s Sonata Tragica in C minor, Op. 39, No. 5. Next, Rachel Cheung ’13 MM will perform Johannes Brahms’s Six Pieces, Op. 118. Esther Park ’13 AD will play Mendelssohn’s Fantasy in F-sharp minor, “Sonate ecossaise,” Op. 28, and two selections from Bartók’s From Out of Doors.

This concert will stream live. Visit THIS PAGE at 6 pm EST on February 25 to watch the performance.

In addition, on March 11 in the Terrace Theater, the Kennedy Center presents a Three Cities Chamber Music Marathon of works from each of the three cities: Quatuor Thymos perform early twentieth-century music; members of the National Symphony Orchestra perform early music; and the third Conservatory Project Chamber Ensemble performs contemporary work as selected and directed by composer Johannes Maria Staud.

Pianist Lee Dionne ’13MM will represent the Yale School of Music in the Conservatory Project Chamber Ensemble, which is made up of a musician from each Conservatory Project school.

The Conservatory Project is an initiative of Performing Arts for Everyone’s Millennium Stage. The semi-annual event is designed to present the best young musical artists in classical, jazz, musical theater, opera, and more from our nation’s leading conservatories, colleges, and universities in performance at the Kennedy Center.

The project creates an ongoing showcase for our nation’s exceptional young talent and introduces Washington audiences to young musicians on their way to having important careers.

Watch past Conservatory Project performances by Yale School of Music students HERE.

Published February 14, 2012
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Wind faculty reunite with Keith Wilson

By David Shifrin, professor of clarinet

On Sunday, three Yale School of Music faculty members had the opportunity to perform in a chamber music concert in Menlo California called “The Winds of France.” This concert was part of a tour for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and will be repeated today on the Oneppo Chamber Music Series at Yale.

Stephen Taylor, oboe; William Purvis, horn; and I were absolutely thrilled when we heard that Professor Emeritus Keith Wilson was in the audience.

Keith Wilson has been living in Palo Alto for the past several years and recently celebrated his 95th birthday. Wilson is one of the great single most important figures in the history of the Yale School of Music. In a long and distinguished career, Mr. Wilson served as professor of clarinet and chamber music as well as director of the Yale Bands. He was also the associate dean of the School of Music and the director of the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival/Yale Summer School of Music.

In 1999 Keith Wilson was awarded the School of Music’s highest honor, the Sanford Medal. He also received the Gustav Stoeckel Award, which is named after the first music professor at Yale and honors faculty who have contributed to the life of the School of Music.

To learn that he had made had made the effort to support his Yale faculty protégés by coming to our concert on a rainy afternoon in February was uplifting, inspiring, and totally in character for the Keith Wilson we know and love.

Published February 14, 2012
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The role of technology in the field of classical music

By Astrid Baumgardner, coordinator of career strategies
(Originally posted

This week, I had the privilege of moderating a panel at the Yale School of Music on the Role of Technology and its impact on the field of classical music. Our three speakers contributed their unique perspectives on the impact of technology on the dissemination and promotion of classical music:

Greg Anderson, a Yale School of Music graduate and one half of the technologically and musically innovative Anderson & Roe Piano Duo, who were pioneers in using YouTube and other social media to connect with their growing fan base;

Anya Grundmann, Executive Producer of NPR Music, who champions classical music on NPR’s internet radio platforms through a variety of innovative, award-winning programs; and

Jessica Lustig, Managing Director and Founding Partner of 21C Media Group, a leading PR, marketing, and consulting group specializing in classical music and the performing arts. Lustig was the project architect of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra concert last March that attracted nearly 34 million viewers on-line and through mobile devices. MORE

Published February 10, 2012
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Guitar Extravaganza announces lectures + panel discussions

Jeffrey McFadden

This year’s Yale Guitar Extravaganza, The Guitar: Today and Tomorrow, is pleased to announce its lineup of guest speakers. (Concert performers for this year’s Extravaganza are listed here.)

The Seventh Yale Guitar Extravaganza will take place Saturday, March 24, 2012. A full schedule is available here.

The day’s first panel discussion will address The Future of Classical Guitar Pedagogy. The panelists will be Scott Cmiel, Daniel Corr, Jeffrey McFadden, Kim Perlak, and Kevin Vigil, moderated by Benjamin Verdery. This panel discussion will take place at 12:30 pm in Sudler Recital Hall (located in WL Harkness Hall, adjacent to Sprague Hall).

Master luthier Garrett Lee, in conjunction with Benjamin Verdery, will lead a lecture/demonstration on What to look for in a classical guitar. Held in the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments (15 Hillhouse Avenue), this talk begins at 4:15 pm.

Jeffrey McFadden will give a lecture on Fretboard Harmony, based on his book Fretboard Harmony: Common Practice Harmony on the Guitar (Productions Musicales d’Oz, 2010). His talk will begin at 4:45 pm in Sudler Recital Hall.

About the Lecturers & Panelists MORE

Published February 8, 2012
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Woolsey Competition to take place March 31

A Woolsey Competition winner performs with the Yale Philharmonia.

The School of Music is pleased to announce the details for the 2012 Woolsey Hall Concerto Competition. The finals of the competition will be held on Saturday, March 31.

This year’s adjudicators will be Shmuel Ashkenasi (violin), Ayako Oshima (clarinet), and Benita Valente (soprano).

Preliminary rounds will be held in individual studios and departments before March 3. (Students who would like to enter the preliminaries should contact their primary teachers.)

In the finals of the annual Woolsey Competition, students perform for approximately ten minutes before a panel of distinguished judges. Up to three winners are chosen; winners will appear as soloists with the Philharmonia Orchestra of Yale next season.

The Woolsey Competition is one of only two competitions at the Yale School of Music; the other is open to chamber music ensembles and offers the chance to perform on the Oneppo Chamber Music Series.

About the 2012 Adjudicators

Violinist Shmuel Ashkenasi has been called “genuine talent and profoundly gifted” by The Vienna Express. He toured the Soviet Union twice and concertizes every year throughout Europe, Israel, and Asia. He has performed with American orchestras such as the Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Boston, Chicago, National,  and Atlanta Symphonies, as well as the Vienna Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, and the orchestras of Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Zurich, Rotterdam, Geneva, and Stockholm. He has appeared with conductors including Stokowski, Boehm, Kempe, Leinsdorf, and Kubelik. Among his solo recordings are the Paganini Violin Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 with the Vienna Symphony on the Deutsche Grammophon label, the two Beethoven Romances, and the Mozart A Major Concerto. In addition, as first violinist of the Vermeer Quartet, he received five Grammy Award nominations and has gained a reputation as one of the world’s outstanding chamber musicians. Born in Tel Aviv, Israel, Mr. Ashkenasi attended the Musical Academy of Tel Aviv before coming to the United States on a scholarship to study with Efrem Zimbalist at the Curtis Institute of Music. He won the Merriweather Post Competition, was a finalist in Belgium’s Queen Elisabeth Competition, and received second prize in the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. Mr. Ashkenasi is currently on the faculty at Roosevelt University, the Curtis Institute, and Rutgers University.

Clarinetist Ayako Oshima has won numerous international competitions, including the Japan Music Competition in Tokyo, the Winds and Percussion Competition in Japan, and the International Jeunesses Musicales Competition in Belgrade, where she also received the Golden Harp Award, given to the favorite of the audience and critics. She has performed as soloist with the Hiroshima and Osaka Symphonies and with the Jupiter Symphony in New York City. She has participated in the Sarasota Summer Music Festival in Florida, the Festival Consonances in France, and in Japan the Mt. Fuji and the Kirishima International Music Festival. Ms. Oshima is a member of the award-winning Contrasts Quartet. Ayako Oshima received clarinet training in France, from the Toho School of Music, and as a “special student” at the Eastman School of Music. She is on the faculties of the Juilliard School and the State University of New York at Purchase and is the director of the Kitakaruizawa Music Seminar in Japan. With her husband, Charles Neidich, she has written a book on the basics of clarinet technique for the publisher Toa Ongaku.

The distinguished American soprano Benita Valente studied with Lotte Lehmann at the Music Academy of the West and with Martial Singher at the Curtis Institute of Music. After winning the Metropolitan Opera Auditions in 1960, she pursued further studies with Margaret Harshaw. She established herself as a versatile recitalist, soloist with orchestra, and opera singer. At the Metropolitan Opera she sang Pamina, Gilda, Nanetta, Susanna, Ilia, and Almirena. Other roles include Euridice at Santa Fe, the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro in Washington, and Dalilah in Florence. Festival appearances include Tanglewood, Aspen, Ravinia, Grand Tetons, Santa Fe, Vienna, Edinburgh, and Lyon. Valente has also been an internationally celebrated interpreter of Lieder, chamber music, oratorio, and opera. Her keen musicianship encompasses an astounding array of styles. Her major chamber music collaborators have included the Guarneri, Juilliard, and Orion String Quartets, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, clarinetist Richard Stolzman, guitarist Sharon Isbin, and pianists Rudolf Serkin, Peter Serkin, Emanuel Ax, Leon Fleisher, Richard Goode, Malcolm Bilson, and Cynthia Raim. Benita Valente has sung under the batons of Abbado, Barenboim, Bernstein, Eschenbach, Harnoncourt, Levine, Masur, Muti, Ozawa, and Slatkin. Valente received a Grammy Award for her recording of Arnold Schoenberg’s String Quartet No. 2 and a Grammy nomination for her recording of Haydn’s Seven Last Words of Christ, both with the Juilliard String Quartet. Benita Valente was the 1999 Recipient of Chamber Music America’s highest award, the Richard J. Bogomolny National Service Award, the first vocalist to receive the award in its twenty-year history.

Published February 7, 2012
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