Violinist Sophia Mockler ’17MM ’18MMA joins the Minnesota Orchestra

Violinist Sophia Mockler ’17MM ’18MMA recently won a position in the second violin section of the Minnesota Orchestra. It was her first professional orchestra audition.

Asked about her preparation for the audition, Mockler, who studied with Ani Kavafian at YSM, talked about the value of position-specific instruction. “Since this was my first orchestral audition, I wanted to get as much help from my mentors as I could before the audition,” she said. “I had the opportunity to work on the excerpts with a string player from the New York Philharmonic, which was invaluable. His suggestions were extremely helpful and specific to the variety of things a jury would be listening for.”

As “extensive” as the audition process was—it was described that way on the Minnesota Orchestra’s website—Mockler found more opportunity in each round to concentrate on musicality. “In the audition I tried to play as musically and imaginatively as possible so that the jury could hear my personality through the screen,” she said. “With each audition round that was added, I continued to focus on being musical, confident, and free.”

While Mockler is excited to begin playing with the orchestra in September, she is most looking forward to getting to better know the ensemble’s musicians, calling them an “outstanding group of people.”

“The sheer level of enthusiasm and encouragement that I felt from everyone in the orchestra during my trial was amazing,” she said, “and I am grateful to play alongside them.”

Published June 25, 2019
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Yale Choral Artists to perform at International Festival of Arts & Ideas

Yale Choral Artists

The Yale Choral Artists, led by founding Director Jeffrey Douma, will perform music by Yale composers on Friday as part of the International Festival of Arts & Ideas. The program will feature works by Yale School of Music faculty composers Aaron Jay Kernis ’83MM and Christopher Theofanidis ’94MMA ’97DMA, former faculty composer Ingram Marshall, and alumni composers Caroline Shaw ’07MM and Michael Gilbertson ’13MM ’21DMA.

“Much of the Choral Artists’ work is devoted to new music, and after our last project featuring the music of Heinrich Schütz and Herbert Howells, we wanted to delve again into some newer works,” Douma said. “It’s an understatement to say that we have an abundance of riches here at the Yale School of Music—some of the most exciting composers in the world have studied, taught, and made music here in our own community, and many have made important and innovative contributions to the choral repertoire. The works we (will) perform on Friday are … beautiful and highly evocative: the cascade of voices in Ingram Marshall’s Hymnodic Delays, Aaron Kernis’ virtuosic Ecstatic Meditations, Caroline Shaw’s intimate and heartfelt and the swallow, Michael Gilbertson’s elegant and beautifully crafted Three Madrigals After Dowland, and Chris Theofanidis’ brilliant setting of the (musically inspired) poetry of Denise Levertov for violin and a cappella choir.”

Douma, who also serves as Professor of Choral Conducting at the School of Music and Director of the Yale Glee Club, founded the Yale Choral Artists, a project-based professional ensemble, in 2011 to “enhance and enrich Yale’s strong commitment to the choral arts.” Members of the Choral Artists perform in the United States and around the world with such organizations as Chanticleer, Conspirare, the Handel and Haydn Society Chorus, Seraphic Fire, the Trinity Wall Street Choir, Voices of Ascension, and others.

The Yale Choral Artists will perform on Friday, June 21, at 8 p.m., in Morse Recital Hall.


Published June 20, 2019
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Associate Dean Michael Yaffe advocates for arts education on Capitol Hill

Michael Yaffe

In May, Associate Dean Michael Yaffe attended the National Association of Music Merchants’ Music Education Advocacy D.C. Fly-In. The annual conference is organized to advocate “for the right of every child to learn and grow with music,” according to the organization. “NAMM delegates had over 230 meetings with members of Congress or their staff, in addition to meetings with governors from 19 states,” NAMM’s public-relations team said.

“The group of 100 people from the NAMM Foundation delivered 230 copies of the Declaration (on Equity in Music for City Students) to members of Congress (and/or their staffs),” Yaffe said, referring to the document the School published after the 2017 Symposium on Music in Schools. During the 2017 Symposium, 43 public-school and university teachers and administrators, foundation leaders, music-education scholars, and public-policy experts discussed ways to “ensure that every child in every city in America has access to an active music life.”

Yaffe spoke during the NAMM conference in May “about the Declaration and its role in the School’s concept of cultural leadership” and reported there was enthusiasm in Congress “for making the case for arts education.”

This month, from June 13 to 15, Yaffe will lead the seventh Symposium on Music in Schools, the goal of which is “to craft a set of principles aimed at creating and improving higher education programs that prepare music educators and teaching artists for work in the 21st century,” Yaffe said. As part of the Symposium, the School will present Yale Distinguished Music Educator and Yale Distinguished Teaching Artist awards.

The School of Music’s seventh Symposium on Music in Schools will be held June 13-15 at Yale. The biennial event is part of the Music in Schools Initiative

Published June 7, 2019
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