Trumpeter Kevin Cobb appointed to YSM faculty

Kevin Cobb

School of Music Dean Robert Blocker announced today that trumpeter Kevin Cobb has been appointed to the YSM faculty. Cobb will begin teaching at the School in the fall. “Kevin is a member of the American Brass Quintet and performs frequently with the New York Philharmonic,” Blocker said. “He teaches at The Juilliard School and also gives master classes throughout the country. His concert activities and discography reflect those of a renowned artist.” Cobb also holds teaching positions at New York University and SUNY Stony Brook, and at the Aspen Music Festival and School and the Colorado Summer Music Festival.

Cobb has performed with such renowned ensembles as the American Composer’s Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, New York New Music Ensemble, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Speculum Musicae, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, among others.

In additions to his solo recording One: American Music for Unaccompanied Trumpet (Summit Records) and those made with the American Brass Quintet, Cobb appears on recordings by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and the Metropolitan Opera Brass.

Cobb studied at the Interlochen Arts Academy and earned his bachelor and master of music degrees from the Curtis Institute and The Juilliard School, respectively.

He succeeds Allan Dean, who will retire at semester’s end after 30 years on the YSM faculty. “My gratitude to Allan Dean is boundless,” Blocker said.

Published March 13, 2019
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NHSO honors YSM Dean Robert Blocker

YSM Dean Robert Blocker. Photo courtesy of the NHSO

Dean Robert Blocker was honored at the New Haven Symphony Orchestra’s 125th Anniversary Gala on Jan. 25, along with former Yale University Vice President for Global and Strategic Initiatives Linda Koch Lorimer. The NHSO cited Blocker’s steadfast support of the symphony and his dedication to the arts in the New Haven community.

“The New Haven Symphony was delighted to celebrate not only our 125-year partnership with the Yale School of Music, but to honor the valuable contributions of Dean Robert Blocker,” the NHSO’s chief executive officer, Elaine Carroll, said. “He was selected as our gala honoree because of his many years of service to the symphony’s board of directors, his willingness to share his extensive knowledge of our field, and his wonderful artistry when he has appeared as a piano soloist with the NHSO. On a personal note, Dean Blocker is one of the first people I turn to when I have a ‘big picture’ question, and he never fails to provide immediate feedback and useful information. It was a real pleasure to see someone who gives so much be acknowledged for his outstanding volunteer efforts on behalf of the symphony.”

The NHSO has been closely tied to Yale since its inception in 1894, the same year the Yale School of Music was established. Yale provided financial and organizational support, as well as composers and performers, to the growing ensemble. Woolsey Hall, commissioned by Yale in 1901, has served as the NHSO’s chief performance venue. Another important figure in the shared histories of the Yale School of Music and the NHSO is Horatio Parker, who not only served as the School’s first Dean, but served as the first conductor of the NHSO and was responsible for transforming the orchestra into a nationally acclaimed ensemble. The Yale School of Music will celebrate the 125th anniversary of its founding from summer 2019 through fall 2020.

Published February 8, 2019
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Hurun Report recognizes YSM with New York-China Award

YSM Dean Robert Blocker

In January, YSM Dean Robert Blocker accepted an award, on behalf of the School of Music, from the Hurun Report. The Shanghai-based media company presented New York-China Awards “recognizing outstanding contributions to the New York-China relationship.” The Yale School of Music was acknowledged “for services to music education.”

Among the other award recipients at a Jan. 23 dinner at the Harvard Club of New York City were Carnegie Hall Executive and Artistic Director Clive Gillinson and Steinway & Sons.

 

Published February 7, 2019
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Beloved, longtime faculty cellist Aldo Parisot dies at 100

Aldo Parisot

Today, Dean Robert Blocker informed the YSM community of the passing of beloved, longtime faculty cellist Aldo Parisot. Blocker’s statement follows.

Dear friends and colleagues,

I write to inform you that earlier today our beloved and esteemed Aldo passed away. Elizabeth and his sons were with him, and it will not surprise you to learn that a special recording of his music carried Aldo to his next world.

The family is making plans for a celebration of Aldo’s life, and the details will be sent to you when they become available. The family requests that memorial gifts be directed to the Yale Cellos Fund at the Yale School of Music.

The longest-serving faculty member in Yale’s history, Parisot retired from YSM earlier this year. YSM celebrated Parisot’s service and commitment to the School and its students with the following feature, which is forthcoming as the cover story of the next Music at Yale publication, due out in January 2019. In addition to the below story, faculty, staff, students, and alumni are encouraged to remember Aldo in his own words through a recent faculty profile video in which he described the “great, great joy” he found in teaching.

 

Cellist Aldo Parisot retires after 60 years at YSM

For 60 years, cellists from around the world came to the Yale School of Music to study with Aldo Parisot ’48 ’70MAH, a legendary figure in the field by any standard and an inimitable presence in the School’s studios and concert halls. In June, at 99, Parisot retired from teaching, eliciting reflections from those who knew and worked closely with him.

“The presence of Aldo Parisot in the School of Music has been transformative and transcendent,” YSM Dean Robert Blocker said upon Parisot’s retirement. “His strongly held opinions about artistic excellence have led generations of faculty and students to carefully consider their points of view about music making, but with his rigorous intonements came a palpable love for the beauty of music and what it means to our lives.”

Parisot began cello studies in his native Brazil, where he learned from his stepfather, cellist Tomazzo Babini. “When I heard his beautiful sound, I showed the desire to play immediately,” Parisot told Ralph Kirshbaum ’68BA, one of his most well-known students. “But before he would give me my first lesson he taught me solfège for two years. I didn’t play the cello until I was 7.” Parisot credits Babini — the only cello teacher he ever had — with helping to develop a technique that supported his creativity.

Parisot made his debut with the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra at age 12. When he was 18, he became the ensemble’s principal cellist. It was in Rio de Janeiro that he came to the attention of an American attaché to the Brazilian embassy, Carleton Sprague Smith. Impressed with Parisot’s virtuosity, Smith offered to help him study abroad. Parisot was eager to study at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia with Emanuel Feuermann, who died before Parisot was scheduled to leave Brazil. Parisot’s plans changed, and, with Smith’s help, he secured a scholarship to study at the Yale School of Music, an offer he accepted on the condition that he would not have to take any cello lessons.

Parisot arrived at Yale in 1946 as a “special student.” He studied chamber music and, with composer Paul Hindemith, music theory. In 1948, he auditioned for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, with which he played professionally for two years. But the orchestra life was not for him, and he longed to have a solo career. In 1950, he gave his debut recital at Town Hall in New York City, launching an international career that produced recordings for RCA Victor, Angel, Westminster, and Phonodisc. As a performer, Parisot was renowned for his beautiful sound and astonishing technique. He performed on stages throughout the world, both as a recitalist and as a soloist with major orchestras under the batons of such eminent conductors as Stokowski, Barbirolli, Bernstein, Mehta, Monteux, and others.

Parisot was driven to expand the cello repertoire, premiering numerous works for the instrument. Reacting to his 1966 premiere of Donald Martino’s Parisonatina al’Dodecafonia, composed for and dedicated to him, The Boston Globe declared, “There is probably no cellist that can equal Parisot’s dazzling achievement.” The New York Times weighed in, saying, “Those at this performance are not going to forget [Parisot’s] feat overnight.”

Parisot is one of the rare musicians who has loved teaching as much as he has loved playing. In 1958, he joined the faculty at the Yale School of Music. Along the way, in 1983, Parisot founded the Yale Cellos, an ensemble that has earned international acclaim for its rich sound, stunning virtuosity, beloved recordings, and numerous additions to the cello-ensemble literature. In 1988, Parisot closed out a remarkable performing career and dedicated himself fully to teaching. He was named the Samuel Sanford Professor of Music at Yale in 1994, and, in 2002, received the Gustave Stoeckel Award, the Yale School of Music’s most prestigious honor.

Throughout his career, Parisot viewed his students as family. “I have a great, great joy in teaching these people,” he said in 2017. “Those are my children … I see in them me, when (I) was young, and I want to see them succeed. I am very severe, because I care about them. I tell my students, ‘Your future depends on you. You’ve got to believe in yourself. You can do it. But only you can do it. I can only help you.”

Parisot did not want his students to imitate him as a player; instead he encouraged them to be themselves. “He told me that the highest aspiration of any teacher is to bring out each student’s individual character,” cellist Eric Adamshick ’17MM ’18MMA said. Discovering each student’s unique voice often meant finding new ways of approaching a piece of music. As Parisot said to Kirshbaum in an interview with The Strad, “I learn from my own students. Every day they surprise me. They come and do something, and I think, ‘Why didn’t I do that before? I never thought about that.’”

Parisot has long been known as a generous, passionate, forthright, and rigorous mentor. In addition to Kirshbaum, his former students include Jian Wang ’88CERT, Roman Jablonsky ’74MM, Shauna Rolston ’91BA ’93MM, and Carter Brey ’79. Parisot has called his students’ successes “an incredible pleasure.” He has taken a great interest in them as individuals and encouraged them to develop their own personalities, onstage and off. “I try to make students believe in themselves,” he said, “and that includes without the cello.”

Parisot’s creativity has not been limited to the performing arts. He has produced a significant number of paintings, describing his process as “painting by ear.” His visual artwork exudes his love of color and texture and in that way is reminiscent of his cello playing. Many of his works have been exhibited in concert halls and galleries around the world. He has given away many of his paintings, selling them at Yale Cellos concerts and other special events, donating the proceeds to a travel fund that he founded for YSM students.

Jenny Kwak ’17MM ’18MMA was nervous during her first lesson with Parisot. “All I could listen for were my technical mistakes,” Kwak said. “I wasn’t making any music. He stopped me and asked, ‘What are you so scared of? Do you believe in yourself?’ Surprised to hear the unexpected questions, I couldn’t answer him. He told me, ‘The most important thing is to believe in yourself.’ He showed me his paintings around the studio, and said, ‘When I created these paintings, they weren’t planned at all. I was inspired, and that’s what helped me to paint.’” The lesson learned, Kwak said, is that playing the cello is not about proving anything to the world or even to herself. It is about making something from inspiration.

As he said to Ralph Kirshbaum ’68BA, one of his most well-known students, in an interview with The Strad, “I learn from my own students. Every day they surprise me. They come and do something, and I think, ‘Why didn’t I do that before? I never thought about that.’”

Parisot has long been known as a generous, passionate, forthright, and rigorous mentor. In addition to Kirshbaum, his former students include Jian Wang, Roman Jablonsky, Shauna Rolston, and Carter Brey. Parisot has called his students’ successes “an incredible pleasure.” He has taken a great interest in them as individuals and encouraged them to develop their own personalities, onstage and off. “I try to make students believe in themselves,” he said, “and that includes without the cello.”

János Starker, Parisot’s friend of many years and a distinguished cello teacher at Indiana University, once described Parisot as “the best cello teacher I have met in my life.”

Parisot’s contributions to the field are immeasurable and will inform the practice of countless cellists in generations to come.

“He helped me foster and strengthen my own artistic voice,” Adamshick said. “His repeated stress on the idea of individuality and unique expression helped me discover a whole new level of self-awareness and self-confidence.”

Perhaps his most important gift to the art form is that he did not teach his students to play like him, but, rather, encouraged each of them to discover their own voice. “There are many people who imitate their teacher,” he said. “I hate the idea that there’s someone in the world who sounds like a little Aldo Parisot. You’ve got to be yourself. We’ve all got to find our own way.”

Aldo Parisot, the Cellist: The Importance of the Circle, a biography written by Susan Hawkshaw, was published in 2018 by Pendragon Press.

VIEW PHOTOS FROM THE SEPTEMBER 30 RETIREMENT EVENT

VIEW ALDO PARISOT’S FACULTY PROFILE VIDEO

Published December 29, 2018
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YSM appoints Boris Slutsky Visiting Professor of Piano

School of Music Dean Robert Blocker recently shared with the YSM community news that pianist Boris Slutsky will join the faculty for the 2019-2020 academic year. Below is Dean Blocker’s welcome announcement. 

As we plan for the coming 2019-2020 academic year, I am pleased to announce that Boris Slutsky will join us as the Visiting Professor in the Practice of Piano, a position currently held by Professor Peter Serkin. Professor Slutsky has served on the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory at the Johns Hopkins University since 1993.

Professor Slutsky brings to our School extraordinary experience as a teacher and performing artist. He is frequently sought-after adjudicator for international competitions, and for master classes at leading institutions throughout the world. His students regularly win prizes at national and international competitions.

At YSM, he will teach applied piano and coach chamber music. Please join me in welcoming Professor Slutsky to our School. Next fall we will have an occasion to greet him personally.

Warmest regards,

Robert Blocker
The Henry and Lucy Moses Dean of Music
Yale University

Published December 22, 2018
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Boris Berman named Marx Professor in the Practice of Piano

School of Music Dean Robert Blocker recently shared with the YSM community news that faculty pianist Boris Berman has been appointed the Sylvia and Leonard Marx Professor in the Practice of Piano. Below is Dean Blocker’s enthusiastic announcement. 

It is with great pleasure that I announce the appointment of Boris Berman as the Sylvia and Leonard Marx Professor in the Practice of Piano, effective immediately.

An internationally renowned concert pianist and teacher, our esteemed colleague has established a piano program at Yale that is among the finest in our discipline. Among his students and alumni are prize winners of international competitions, university teachers, recording artists, soloists, and chamber music performers from across the globe.

Yale audiences know Professor Berman as a frequent and versatile artist who has inspired and touched them with his musical insights in recitals, orchestral appearances, and chamber music concerts. His lectures about music reveal an artist who understands the inextricable link between scholarship and performance, a value that is also evident in his books and critical editions.

Sylvia and Leonard Marx, along with their daughter, Nancy Better, are cherished patrons of the School of Music and Yale. Sylvia, a notable pianist, was honored by her family on a recent birthday with the gift of a new Hamburg Steinway concert grand for the Morse Recital Hall stage. This pianistic interest adds yet another dimension to the appointment of Professor Berman to this endowed professorship. We are thankful to the Marx family for their immense generosity and to Professor Berman for his many valuable contributions to the Yale School of Music.

Warmest regards,
Robert Blocker
The Henry and Lucy Moses Dean of Music
Yale University

Published December 21, 2018
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[ Jon Laukvik appointed Visiting Professor of Organ ]

Jon Laukvik appointed Visiting Professor of Organ

By Martin Jean, Director, Yale Institute of Sacred Music

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Jon Laukvik as Visiting Professor of Organ at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music and Yale School of Music in the 2019–2020 academic year. Prof. Laukvik will take up the teaching duties for one year of Prof. Thomas Murray, who is due to retire at the end of June 2019 after 38 years of distinguished and unrivaled service to Yale.

Jon Laukvik is one of the premier organists and pedagogues in the world today. In the words of one reviewer, “It is rare to find extraordinary qualities of performer, teacher, and scholar all in one person, but Jon Laukvik has distinguished himself admirably over the years as being all three of these, and that at the highest level.”

READ FULL ARTICLE

Media Contact: Melissa Maier: 203 432-3222, melissa.maier@yale.edu

Published November 14, 2018
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Doris Yarick-Cross and Richard Cross to retire at year’s end

Richard Cross and Doris Yarick-Cross

For decades, the Yale School of Music’s voice and opera programs have developed remarkable artists who have graced the stages of the world’s most prestigious venues and performed with celebrated opera companies and instrumental ensembles. Doris Yarick-Cross and Richard Cross, who have served on the School’s faculty since 1983 and 1995, respectively, have been an important part of those achievements. Today, we offer our gratitude to Doris and Richard, who, together, plan to retire at the end of the current academic year. Doris and Richard will teach currently enrolled students through the completion of their degree programs.

“In her initial contract, Doris was given the responsibility of establishing a professional opera program in the School of Music,” YSM Dean Robert Blocker said. “With her vision and leadership, Yale Opera has become an internationally renowned program where singers come to launch their careers as vocal artists.” Richard’s “inimitable teaching style and gift for languages has given generations of Yale Opera students unparalleled lyrical training,” Blocker said. “In partnership with Doris and our other stellar voice faculty and staff, Richard has played an essential role in shaping the lives of hundreds of ascendant singers.” MORE

Published October 16, 2018
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YSM faculty trumpeter Allan Dean to retire

Allan Dean

Over the course of 30 years at the Yale School of Music, faculty trumpeter Allan Dean has shared with students, colleagues, and audiences alike the yield of his vast musical experience. His career has been marked as much by excellence as it has by curiosity. Today, as Dean makes plans to retire at the end of the academic year, we celebrate what he has meant to our community and to the wider musical world.

“My gratitude for his collegiality and personal friendship is boundless,” YSM Dean Robert Blocker told the School of Music community. “Allan has contributed significantly to the artistic and academic maturation of the School of Music and to the discipline of music.”

Dean has played with the most venerated brass ensembles, including the New York Brass Quintet, of which he was a member for nearly two decades, as well as the American Brass Quintet, Summit Brass, St. Louis Brass Quintet, and Yale Brass Trio, alongside faculty hornist William Purvis and faculty trombonist Scott Hartman. For more than 20 years in New York City, Dean performed and recorded extensively, appearing on dozens of major-label releases of repertoire from early music to contemporary works.

A founding member of Calliope: A Renaissance Band and the New York Cornet and Sacbut Ensemble, Dean’s exploration of early music and period instruments has included performances with the Waverly Consort and the Smithsonian Chamber Players.

“This is a profoundly sad moment for me, but also an extraordinarily inspiring moment,” Purvis wrote on Facebook. “Allan has pursued a remarkably independent life in music that has epitomized curiosity and excellence in every aspect, every corner of music, to an extent that continues to inspire and instruct me on a daily basis.”

As a teacher, Dean has mentored musicians at such respected institutions as Indiana University, the Manhattan School of Music, and the Eastman School of Music. He has also taught and performed at festivals in the United States and abroad including the Spoleto and Casals festivals, and the Yale Summer School of Music/Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. Trumpeter and Yale School of Music alumna Jean Laurenz ’13MM ’14AD said that Dean, “more than anything, created an environment of camaraderie that allowed each of our individual artistic voices to flourish.”

Dean arrived at YSM in 1988, succeeding longtime faculty trumpeter Robert Nagel Jr., with whom Dean worked in the New York Brass Quintet. In that respect, Dean continued a legacy at Yale while bringing his unique personality to his work. Dean has “transformed the lives of his students, his colleagues, and indeed those fortunate enough to have heard his performances on stage and through recordings,” Blocker said.

Allan Dean’s next concert at Yale will be with his colleagues in the Yale Brass Trio. A date for that performance will be announced soon.

Published October 12, 2018
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Sir Jonathan Mills to host public lectures at Yale

Sir Jonathan Mills. Photo by Seamus McGarvey

Sir Jonathan Mills will present a series of three public lectures that will collectively address issues related to “The Role of Culture in the Contemporary World.” Mills, who is known for his directorship, from 2006 until 2014, of the internationally celebrated Edinburgh International Festival, has also led prestigious festivals in his native Australia and is recognized around the world for his thought-provoking compositions. Mills holds a bachelor of music degree in composition from the University of Sydney and a master of architecture from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. He was appointed Officer of the Order of Australia in 2011 and knighted in 2013. All lectures are free and open to the Yale community.

 

Tuesday, October 2

“Culture and the Gift Economy”

Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, General Motors Room

11:30 a.m. – Buffet Lunch, Noon – Lecture

Register at jacksonlecture100218.eventbrite.com

In a world that seems addicted to measuring every aspect of human activity in terms that are almost exclusively economic, what role can there be for culture? How can the impact of the arts be measured? Are alternative types of value systems required to help explain the importance and worth of culture?

Beginning with the origins of the Edinburgh International Festival, Jonathan Mills, the Festival’s former director, explores the role an arts festival plays in building social and economic confidence at a time of financial hardship and mistrust, in a wide-ranging lecture that touches on the groundbreaking work of anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski and the idea of a “gift economy.”

 

Monday, October 15

“Music and the Sacred Dimensions of Time”

Institute of Sacred Music, Great Hall

409 Prospect St. (Divinity Quandrangle)

4 p.m., reception to follow

Drawing on sacred and secular musical examples from Josquin, Beethoven, Messiaen, and Boulez, the writings of philosopher Henri Bergson, and the poetry of T.S. Eliot, composer Jonathan Mills argues that music has a unique capacity to enable us to experience time as a heightened and emotional phenomenon — and, further, that it may itself become timeless.

 

Monday, October 22

“Culture and Well-being: Connections Between Health and Music”

Yale School of Public Health, 47 College St., Room 106

4 p.m., reception to follow

How can culture contribute to the health and well-being of human society? The sustainable provision of health care is of vital concern for governments around the world. A growing body of neurological and clinical research indicates that participation in cultural activity offers long-lasting benefits for a range of medical conditions. How can the social and economic benefits of the arts be understood and implemented by policy makers, commercial medical insurers, and clinical practitioners? How can the arts improve health outcomes for traditionally marginalized or neglected communities?

Published September 27, 2018
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