Dean Robert Blocker has announced the 2012 alumniVentures awards. Eleven grants were awarded, ranging from $2,000 to $7,500 and totaling $51,000. In thanking the alumni committee that recommended the recipients, the Dean acknowledges their work and the identification of outstanding projects that truly advance the cause of music.
Vincent Oneppo MM ’73, Chair of the alumniVentures selection committee, joins the Dean in thanking the committee members for their service to the Yale School of Music and its alumni. The committee members this year were Brian Fennelly ’65MM, '68PhD, Nicholas Renouf '71MM, Michael Breaux '84MM, Eva Heater '91MM, and Olivia Malin '07MM.
Eliot Bailen ’89DMA, cello
A “Song to Symphony” Residency at the Voice Charter School in Queens, N.Y.
For twenty years, Mr. Bailen has brought his interactive, curriculum-based “Song to Symphony” program (STS) to children of all ages in schools throughout the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut area. STS is an in-school program that involves children directly in the process of songwriting and offers them the opportunity to write and perform their own songs in a dramatic setting, accompanied by a professional orchestra. The alumniVentures grant will support bringing STS to the VOICE Charter School serving underprivileged children in grades 2 to 5 in Queens, N.Y. VOICE was created with the core belief that “daily instruction in choral singing complements and encourages creative and critical thought while improving academic performance.” The STS program will offer focused support for VOICE’s extraordinary mission in a deep and unique way.
The Suzuki-Alegre Percussion Program will develop a comprehensive percussion curriculum for teaching beginning students between the ages of four and seven years old using Suzuki methodology. Based at the Merit School of Music in Chicago, Illinois, the program will integrate Latin folk music into the repertoire to bring together the diverse ethnic and socio-economic Hispanic communities of Chicago. The long-term goal for each student would be preparation for auditioning for Merit’s Tuition-free Conservatory.
Seraphic Fire, Miami’s Grammy-nominated professional chamber choir, will receive support for their education initiative, the Miami Choral Academy (MCA). The MCA, in partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools, has established a year-round tuition-free music program based in underserved communities in the county. MCA’s Honor Choir is composed of fifty of the highest-performing students from MCA’s Training Choirs. The students come from diverse backgrounds across underserved communities of Miami- Dade County.
Carleton Clay ’68MM, composition
A Free Youth/Family Concert Series Serving a Rural, Economically-Challenged Area of Upstate New York
The alumniVentures grant will support an ongoing series of free youth/family concerts in an eight-county area of upstate New York that is seriously underserved musically. The eight counties involved — Chenango, Delaware, Greene, Herkimer, Montgomery, Otsego and Schoharie and Sullivan — all rank within the bottom quadrant, economically, in New York State. There are no major metropolitan areas within the region, with Oneonta the largest and most vital city, at least in terms of the arts, in the region. The most unique feature of this series is that it will depart from the usual “Western Classical Music” format and will instead put that music within the context of world and ethnic musics, representing numerous cultures.
Evan Drummond ’04MM, guitar
Establishing a substantive classical guitar curriculum in the Bronx, NY
The goal of this project is to create a sustainable classical guitar program for the students at Celia Cruz High School of Music in the Bronx, NY. This would be an ongoing and in-depth program coordinated with the Celia Cruz faculty and the classical guitar faculty at the State University of New York at Fredonia. Celia Cruz High School is a small school in an economically challenged neighborhood. The racial diversity in this high school is 68% Hispanic, 30% African American and 1% Caucasian, with 82% of student body eligible for free or reduced-price lunch program. In addition to music instruction, students will be expected to complete course requirements that may lead to an Advanced Regents Diploma, college acceptances, and career readiness.
The Poulenc Trio is one of the world’s most active touring piano-wind chamber music ensembles. Since its founding in 2003, the Trio has performed in 45 states and at music festivals around the world. The Trio has proven its commitment to commissioning, performing and recording new works from living composers, with more than 20 new works written for and premiered by the group. The Diaspora Project is the Trio's three-year effort to expand the canon of serious piano-wind chamber music by commissioning music from composers whose work has been influenced by their immigration, forced exile or escape from their countries of origin. The alumniVentures grant will support a collaborative residency, public workshop and video production.
Jeffrey Bernstein ’92MM, choral conducting
Pasadena Master Chorale Education Program
The Pasadena Master Chorale (PMC) was founded in 2009 by Mr. Bernstein for the purpose of advancing the choral art in Pasadena, California. PMC's Education Program has been a part of the organization since its inception. Over the past four seasons, more than 150 Pasadena area students from 10 schools have participated in PMC's education program, and the program is growing. PMC's education program provides opportunities to singers in grades 6 to 12 in the Pasadena public schools to participate in high-level choral music making, filling a gap in the music education the Pasadena Unified School District is able to offer. As the district endures continuing budget cuts, PMC aims to expand its program in 2013-2014. The grant will support positions for an assistant conductor and accompanist.
Simon Powis ’10MMA, guitar
Classical Guitar Corner: A free online educational resource for classical guitarists
Since 2009, Mr. Powis has been developing educational materials intended for free access on the internet. To date, the sites containing this material have been accessed by 375,368 unique users with 140,976 unique users in the past calendar year. He has consolidated the learning materials into the site www.classicalguitarcorner.com and the grant will help to develop multimedia materials that will offer comprehensive guitar instruction to a worldwide audience.
Christopher Rogerson ’12MM, composition
Kettle Corn New Music
Kettle Corn New Music, based in New York City, is a new music presenting organization founded by Chris Rogerson and Alex Weiser. The music is drawn from a broad range of styles and aesthetic backgrounds performed in an atmosphere where it can be heard as both entertaining and thought-provoking. Kettle Corn New Music isn't about a particular style or a group of composers. Rather, it's an approach to listening that embraces music as both art and entertainment.
Greg Sandow ’74MM, composition
A Catalogue of Classical Music Innovations
For years, Mr. Sandow has been writing a blog, www.artsjournal.com/sandow, about the future of classical music. In the blog he has tracked many of the innovations that are sweeping through the field. He writes, “As the classical music crisis intensifies, change is breaking out everywhere. But this change has never been tracked, and even people making changes themselves don't know what others have done. I'd like to remedy this lack by creating a catalogue of classical music changes. The start of it lies in the many blog posts I've done about change.” Sandow’s grant will allow him to hire assistants to catalogue his blog posts and to sort and catalogue new material from other sources for the online resource.
Qi Cao ’10MM, violin
Creating Equality in Music Education for Disabled Groups
This project will attempt to demonstrate that after systematic short-term training, certain disabled individuals might have sufficient ability to play the violin. The outcome of this project will be the publication of a method book and the creation of a website. She writes, “Too often, assumptions are made about who can or cannot master a musical instrument. This is especially the case with classical music where we value a narrow virtuosity. These assumptions or beliefs have ruled out access to specific musical experiences for disabled individuals, steering them away from direct, meaningful musical engagements in the area of instrumental music. My project is a small step in correcting this inequity."