YSM launches yearlong celebration of its 125-year history

Throughout the 2019-2020 academic year and concert season, the Yale School of Music community will reflect on the School’s 125-year history and look forward to the future of music-making at Yale. While music at Yale can be traced to earlier days, it was in 1894 that the School was established and that its first degrees were conferred. To celebrate music at Yale is to appreciate and acknowledge all those who have made music here.

“In celebrating the 125th anniversary of the School of Music, we pause to reflect on the values of the faculty, staff, alumni, and friends whose work ensured an artistic legacy for us,” YSM Dean Robert Blocker said. “Now we gratefully embrace the responsibility of continuing their work and imagining new musical horizons that ignite our passion and resolve today and in future decades. Indeed, music is the currency of hope.”

This year’s Convocation, on September 5, will mark the beginning of our yearlong anniversary celebration. The School’s Board of Advisors, faculty, staff, students, and special guests will join us for a ceremony that includes performances by students, faculty, and alumni and remarks about the legacy and promise of music at Yale by University President Peter Salovey and President Emeritus Richard Levin. As always, the incoming class will be welcomed and formally installed.

This year, for the first time in more than a decade, the School will hold an alumni reunion. Graduates from all classes are invited back to campus for activities ranging from an alumni concert to a panel discussion about women composers, in conjunction with the University’s 2019-2020 Women at Yale celebration “commemorating the 50th anniversary of coeducation in Yale College and the 150th anniversary of women students at the University.” In further celebration of women at Yale, the Yale Camerata and Yale Glee Club will give the world-premiere performance in April of a new work by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and School of Music alumna Julia Wolfe on a program presented “in celebration of 100 years of women’s suffrage.” The fall-winter 2019-2020 issue of Music at Yale, our biannual alumni magazine, will appropriately be dedicated to women from the School of Music.

In the spring, in partnership with the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, the Yale Philharmonia will join the Yale Schola Cantorum and The (London) Bach Choir on an East Coast tour, led by David Hill, with performances in New Haven, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.

These and other moments will help us look to the School’s past with an eye and an ear on its future. As always, the coming concert season features music and performances by internationally acclaimed artists and the next generation of composers, instrumentalists, and vocalists. More than 250 concerts are scheduled to take place on campus, and most of those will be streamed live online for families and friends in cities around the world.

We invite you to join us in celebrating 125 years of music-making at Yale.

Watch our celebration launch video

Published August 28, 2019
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Alumni nominated for 2019 Emmy Awards

Marco Beltrami. Photo courtesy of the artist

In the National Geographic documentary film Free Solo, by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, Alex Honnold attempts to climb El Capitan—a 3,000-foot, perfectly vertical granite wall in Yosemite National Park—without ropes or safety gear of any kind. The music for Free Solo, by YSM alumnus Marco Beltrami ’91MM and Brandon Roberts, is full of tension and solemnity and connects viewers to the determination Honnold has in surplus and the protective fear he seems inexplicably not to have. The film’s cinematography offers all the perspective a viewer needs to appreciate that there is absolutely no room for error in the challenge Honnold has undertaken, while the music is full of the consequences he faces. For their contributions to the film, Beltrami and Roberts have been nominated for a 2019 Emmy Award in the “Outstanding Music Composition for a Documentary Series or Special (Original Dramatic Score)” category.

Thomas Newman. Photo courtesy of the artist

Thomas Newman ’77BA ’78MM is also up for a 2019 Emmy Award. Newman’s score for the Hulu series Castle Rock, created by Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason and inspired by the fictional setting Stephen King created for many of his stories, was nominated in the “Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music” category. Newman’s foreboding music is a confirmation of what’s already known: that uncomfortable and frightening things await the viewer in Castle Rock.

Beltrami and Newman work in the world of film and television scoring, adding dimensions to stories that aim at the visceral. In addition to Free Solo, Beltrami has scored the Scream movies, A Quiet Place, and the 2019 TV series The Twilight Zone, to name just a handful. This Emmy nomination is his second. Newman has composed music for The Shawshank RedemptionRevolutionary RoadThe Help, and many other films. This Emmy nomination is his third. He won an Emmy in 2002 for his theme music for HBO’s Six Feet Under. For Beltrami and Newman, whose often-anonymous music has its audiences in movie theaters and living rooms around the world, awards like the Emmy are a public round of applause.

Winners of the 2019 Emmy Awards will be announced on Sunday, September 22.

Featured photo: Alex Honnold makes the first free solo ascent of El Capitan’s Freerider in Yosemite National Park, Calif. (National Geographic/Jimmy Chin)

Published August 2, 2019
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