This past week, students from the Yale School of Music, along with YSM Dean Robert Blocker and Director of Communications and Alumni Affairs Donna Yoo, traveled to London where they gave concerts, for Yale alumni and friends, at the Royal Automobile Club and the Royal College of Music. As part of the visit, which was made possible by Helen Chung-Halpern and Abel Halpern '88BA (each is a member of YSM's Board of Advisors), Blocker presented a master class to graduate and undergraduate student piano trios at the Royal College of Music.
The YSM students who traveled to London are violinists Sophia Mockler '17MM and Laura Park '18MM, violist Joshua Newburger '17MM, cellist Eric Adamshick ’17MM, pianist Sun-A Park '16AD '17MMA, and soprano Jessica Pray '17MM. Mockler, Laura Park, Newburger, and Adamshick performed as the Béla Quartet.
Among the works the YSM students performed were Elgar’s String Quartet in E minor, Op. 83, and Adamshick's arrangement for piano quintet of “Nimrod,” from Elgar's Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 36, "Enigma."
Elgar holds a special place in Yale’s history, having visited the United States, and specifically New Haven, Connecticut, in June 1905, to receive an honorary doctorate from the University. The honor was initiated by Yale School of Music professor Samuel Simons Sanford.
At Yale's June 28, 1905, graduation ceremony in Woolsey Hall, according to an article by Judith Ann Schiff in the summer 2003 issue of the Yale Alumni Magazine, "the audience was treated to two parts from (Elgar's) first oratorio, The Light of Life. Sanford had arranged for a performance by not only the New Haven Symphony Orchestra and the college choir, but also the Glee Club, members of the faculty, and several New York musicians. At the end of the ceremonies, as graduates and officials marched out of Woolsey, the recessional music was Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1." School of Music Dean Horatio Parker (the New Haven Symphony Orchestra's first conductor) led the ensembles and played Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1, Op. 39 on the Newberry organ.
Handwritten minutes from the Yale University Corporation and Prudential Committee's May 1905 meeting include an entry that reads: "The Secretary read the report of the Committee on Honorary Degrees, and as recommended it was voted to invite the following gentlemen to be present at Commencement to receive honorary degrees.” Below that is a list of names that includes Sir Edward Elgar.
The Yale University Corporation and Prudential Committee's meeting minutes are housed in the Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.