Melvin Chen returns to Yale

Melvin Chen has been appointed Associate Professor of Piano (adjunct) at the Yale School of Music. In announcing this faculty position, Dean Robert Blocker has also appointed Chen to serve as Deputy Dean of the School. Blocker commented: “Melvin Chen’s longstanding relationship with Yale College and the School of Music, his international profile as an artist, and his successful tenure as Associate Dean at Bard College make him ideally suited for his work at the new deputy dean in the School of Music. We look forward to welcoming him back to Yale.”

As a pianist, Chen has performed at major venues such as Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Jordan Hall, and the Kennedy Center, in addition to appearances throughout Canada and Asia. His performances have been featured on radio and television stations around the globe, and his solo recordings include Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations on the Bridge label, praised as “a classic” by the American Record Guide. He has also released recordings of Joan Tower’s piano music (Naxos); the Shostakovich piano sonatas (Bridge); and Ricky Ian Gordon’s Orpheus and Euridice (Ghostlight).

Melvin Chen was a member of the Yale School of Music faculty from 2000 to 2005. More recently, he has served as the associate director of the Bard College Conservatory of Music as well as a member of the piano faculty. He is also the artistic director of the chamber music program at the Hotchkiss Summer Portals. MORE

Published June 22, 2012
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Photos: Music in Schools and Class of 1957

While in town for their 55th reunion, members of the Yale College Class of 1957 had lunch with young students from New Haven’s John C. Daniels School. The two groups joined together to celebrate YSM’s Music in Schools Initiative, which is supported by the class.

The young musicians performed for the Class of ’57 and then distributed cards expressing their gratitude for the Class’s generosity. Addressing the Class at the event, Associate Dean Michael Yaffe said, “You, the members of the Class of ’57, are to be congratulated for your vision from more than ten years ago. You found out that music makes a difference in people’s lives, and you have helped the Yale School of Music to prove it in many ways.” Click HERE to read a longer excerpt from Yaffe’s talk.

Enjoy this slideshow of images from the lunch and performance.

Published June 21, 2012
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Yale in New York announces 2012–2013, its sixth season at Carnegie Hall

“Many magnificent evenings of inventive programming.”
— The New York Times

Yale in New York, the concert series directed by David Shifrin, announces its 2013–2013 season. At the center are celebrations: of composers, performing artists, and musical forms.

Four concerts presented in Zankel Hall and Weill Recital Hall explore the deep, creative, and exciting collaborations that are the heart and history of the Yale School of Music, while paying tribute to a number of music icons. Highlights include:

• The Tokyo String Quartet, which has served on the faculty of the Yale School of Music since 1976, and embarks on its final tour as a Quartet.

• Star faculty members Ettore Causa, Peter Frankl, Ani Kavafian, Ole Akahoshi and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis celebrate the birth of Mozart.

• Richard Strauss’ Metamorphosen is paired with the world premiere of a Yale commission by alumnus Matthew Barnson, also for 23 strings, capped by Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings.

• Composer and former Yale faculty member Paul Hindemith is feted on the 50th anniversary of his death by pianist Boris Berman and members of the Yale Philharmonia, with a program that features some of his lesser-known high-spirited early works.


Published June 15, 2012
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Masaaki Suzuki to receive Bach Medal 2012

The 2012 Bach Medal, awarded by the city of Leipzig, was presented to the Japanese conductor, organist, and harpsichordist Masaaki Suzuki on June 8, at a ceremony during the Leipzig Bach Festival. Suzuki, the founder and director of Bach Collegium Japan, is a member of the Yale faculty and the director of Yale Schola Cantorum.

The Bach Medal is awarded annually since 2003 to musicians whose work focuses on Bach in a significant way.  The jury, which voted unanimously in favor of Suzuki, noted that Suzuki has made particularly significant contributions to the dissemination of the works of Johann Sebastian Bach in his homeland of Japan.

Bach Collegium Japan was the first Japanese ensemble to specialize in historically-informed performance practice. The jury’s decision stated, in part: “concerning the repertoire of Bach, which has always been much-appreciated in Japan… [Suzuki has] created an awareness for a scientifically and historically oriented performance practice in Japan and the entire Asian region.”

The Bach Medal was awarded during a public ceremony on Friday, June 8 in Leipzig’s Old City Hall. Later that day, Suzuki and the Bach Collegium Japan played at St. Thomas Church, where Suzuki directed a performance of the Saint Matthew Passion, BWV 244b, in the version from 1729. The soloists will be Hana Blažiková, Rachel Nicholls (soprano), Robin Blaze (contralto), Gerd Türk (tenor – Evangelist), and Peter Kooij (bass). MORE

Published June 11, 2012
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9th-12th grade winners, Young Artists Solo Competition

The final level of the fifth annual Yale/New Haven Young Artists Solo Competition took place on Wednesday, May 30 at 5 pm in Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Hall. The Music in Schools Initiative is pleased to announce the winners of the 9th–12th grade division.

Grand Prize
Miguel Johnson, tenor saxophone, Cooperative Arts & Humanities High School

Second Prize
Kristina Otfinoski, violin, Cooperative Arts & Humanities High School

Third Prize
Pendelton King, alto saxophone, Cooperative Arts & Humanities High School

Praising the students on their performances, Associate Dean Michael Yaffe added, “We hope we will see many of you around the School of Music for future Music in Schools Initiative programs. For those of you about to graduate, we wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors.”

Fifteen students from three New Haven Public Schools participated. The high school level of the Solo Competition is open to voice students as well as those playing percussion, string, brass, and woodwind instruments. Students must be nominated by their school in order to compete, and schools are not limited in the number of students they may nominate.

The judges for the competition were Laura Adam, of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra; Netta Hadari, of Music Haven; and Vincent Oneppo, of the Yale School of Music.

The 4th–6th grade level of the Solo Competition took place on May 23, and the 7th–8th grade level on May 29.

Published June 8, 2012
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Class of 1957 celebrates Music in Schools Initiative with young students

Last Friday, while in town for their 55th reunion, members of the Yale College Class of 1957 had lunch with young students from New Haven’s John C. Daniels School. The two groups joined together to celebrate YSM’s Music in Schools Initiative, which is supported by the class.

Michael Yaffe, the associate dean of the School of Music, said to the class: “I was not at Yale when your class decided to support the School of Music in the creation of a series of music education activities. But I have always imagined the conversations amongst you all… Somehow the idea stuck, and an indenture was written, and money was raised.”

The endowment established by the Class of ’57 provides for three components of the Music in Schools Initiative: YSM’s programs in New Haven Public Schools; a biennial symposium for public school music teachers; and a series of visiting professors at the School of Music.

In his talk, Yaffe detailed the ways in which the gift from the Class of ’57 has changed lives.

“Your gift and support have changed the lives of many people through music: probably more people than you can imagine and probably in more ways than you would imagine.

First, within the School of Music.

As most of you know, our graduate students are invited to participate in the Music in Schools Initiative. They are trained and then placed with a music teacher in a New Haven Public School. In that role, they coach individual students, they conduct ensembles, they lead small groups, they practice with the students, and more basically they become role models and mentors for many kids from homes and lives that desperately need this kind of support and example. So it is obvious that this helps the young children from New Haven, but what has been surprising and exciting is how many of our young, pre-professional graduate students have altered their career course (or more likely expanded their career options) through the work they have done in the schools while at Yale. MORE

Published June 7, 2012
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Student & alumni pianists perform in Ankara, Turkey

Maestro Isin Metin

On May 22, piano students Lee Dionne ’13MM, Henry Kramer ’13AD,  and Esther Park ’12AD, ’13MMA performed with the Bilkent Symphony Orchestra in Ankara, Turkey.

The concert was conducted by the orchestra’s music director, Maestro Isin Metin (pictured at left).

Boris Berman, a faculty member and the chair of the piano program at the School of Music, noted that the concert received “great public acclaim.”

The performance was a conclusion of a week-long piano course given by Berman in Ankara. The program included movements of piano concerti by Beethoven, Saint-Saens, Schumann, Liszt, Ravel, Rachmaninov, and Tchaikovsky.

Along with the pianists from the Yale School of Music, four students from Bilkent Univerisity also participated.

Published June 4, 2012
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Young Artists Solo Competition, 7th-8th grades, announces winners

The Yale School of Music is pleased to announce the winners of the 7th–8th grade level of the Yale/New Haven Young Artists Solo Competition. This round of the Competition took place on Tuesday, May 29, at 5 pm in Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Hall.

Laura Adam, Education Director of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, commented that the “poise and confidence of the competing students was very impressive” for their age.

Addressing the students and their families, Thomas C. Duffy, Director of Yale Bands, said, “I went to Catholic school, so I didn’t start playing music until high school. These students are already way ahead of where I was musically at their age, and I became a professor and dean of music. These kids have a lot to look forward to.”

Grand Prize
Ejoel Molina, trombone, John C. Daniels School

Second Prize
Emily Adji, violin, Davis Street School

Third Prize
Yoseph Kim, clarinet, Worthington Hooker School

The judges for the competition were Laura Adam, Education Director of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra; Thomas C. Duffy, Director of the Yale University Bands; and Wendy Sharp, Professor of violin at the Yale School of Music.

Published June 1, 2012
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