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The Yale School of Music Concert Series: A Study in Virtuosity

Connecticut Magazine
By Cathy P. Ross

james_conlon,_credit_dan_steinberg_for_la_opera_4It’s hard to describe the excitement you feel when a talented violinist performs a Mozart composition and the result is pure magic. More than 200 years after his death, Mozart still packs the house. This was apparent when we attended “Marriner Conducts Mozart” at Yale University’s Woolsey Hall several years ago. The renowned conductor and violinist Sir Neville Marriner had spent the previous week working with Yale student ensembles—the Schola Cantorum, Camerata, Philharmonia and Glee Club—and their efforts culminated in a production worthy of Carnegie Hall, right here in New Haven (for free, though tickets were required).

Tuned-in patrons reap the benefits of Yale School of Music's incredible concert series each season, which sometimes include celebrity guest performers of classical to jazz, and other times gifted students who can be counted on to deliver the goods in all musical genres—and the shows are open to the public either free of charge or at a fraction of the cost of most other venues. A friendly group of regulars, many established members of the community outside Yale, meets and mixes with Yale faculty, staff and students for performances not only in Woolsey Hall but also in Morse Recital Hall and a variety of other venues on campus. Yale Opera also stages productions at the Shubert Theatre. Many of the performances are also streamed live on the website.

On Oct. 18 fans are in for a treat when acclaimed conductor James Conlon leads thePhilharmonia Orchestra of Yale at 8 p.m. in Woolsey Hall. The orchestra performs Benjamin Britten’s Sinfonia da Requiem as well as Gustave Mahler’s Symphony No. 5. This year marks Britten’s 100th birthday and Conlon, a devotee of Britten, is engaged in a three-year project to celebrate the milestone. Britten wrote the Sinfonia da Requiem in 1940, at just 26 years old, to protest World War II. The composer was also highly influenced by Mahler’s work. Admission to the concert is free, and no tickets are required.