Collection of Musical Instruments closes for renovations

As the academic year comes to an end, we are looking forward to making some much-needed improvements to the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments building at 15 Hillhouse Ave. Restoration work on the exterior of the building will necessitate the Collection being closed from May 3 through fall 2019.

To prepare for the renovation work, staff at the Collection and the School of Music have worked with the construction team and with fine-art handlers to ensure the safeguarding of the Collection’s instruments.

Throughout the renovation project, Collection staff will be relocated to the Adams Center for Musical Arts at the School of Music. From there, we will continue to work on the upcoming brass-instrument exhibit, which is scheduled to open November 2019.

The Collection’s concert series will take place in 2020. Please visit collection.yale.edu for updates as they become available. For the most up-to-date news, please consider joining our email list at music.yale.edu/email-signup.

Published May 6, 2019
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Composer Andrew Norman ’09AD is named a 2019 Pulitzer Prize finalist

Andrew Norman

Composer and School of Music alumnus Andrew Norman 09AD was named a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his orchestral work Sustain. The Pulitzer judges described the piece as “an absorbing orchestral work rich with mesmerizing textures and color, including washes of clustered string sounds and cascading winds, creating a virtual sound installation in which perceptions of time are suspended.”

Sustain was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic for the opening of the orchestra’s centennial season and received its premiere on October 4, 2018, under the baton of Music and Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel. The Los Angeles Times’ Mark Swed described Sustain as “a near out-of-body acoustic experience that sounds like, and feels like, the future we want, sans dystopia.” Sustain, Swed wrote, “has done the most to redefine the modern-day orchestral experience. Its … composer has already easily become the leading L.A. (and arguably leading American) composer of his generation.” The New Yorker’s Alex Ross wrote, in November 2018, “Norman has always been a deft orchestrator, but in Sustain he reveals himself as a magician of the art.”

Read about other Yale-affiliated 2019 Pulitzer Prize awardees.

 

Published April 18, 2019
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Alumni composers win Guggenheim Fellowships

Samuel Adams and Suzanne Farrin (photo by Luke Redmond)

Yale School of Music alumni composers Suzanne Farrin ’00MM  ’03MMA  ’08DMA and Samuel Adams ’10MM are two of only 11 composers to receive the prestigious 2019 Guggenheim Fellowship. In an April 10 press release, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation announced that its board of trustees “approved the awarding of Guggenheim Fellowships to a diverse group of 168 scholars, artists, and writers. Appointed on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise, the successful candidates were chosen from a group of almost 3,000 applicants in the Foundation’s ninety-fifth competition.”

Farrin is the Frayda B. Lindemann Professor of Music and Chair at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center. Her opera dolce la morte was premiered in 2016 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to great acclaim. She has written works for the JACK Quartet and SŌ Percussion and won the 2017 Frederic A. Juilliard/Walter Damrosch Rome Prize in composition. Read more about Suzanne Farrin

Adams is a 2019 Djerassi Resident Artists Fellow and has previously held residencies at Civitella Ranieri (Umbria, Italy), the Visby International Centre for Composers (Visby, Sweden), Avaloch Farm Music Institute (Boscawen, New Hampshire) and Ucross (Ucross, Wyoming). He served as the curator for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s MusicNOW series from 2015-2018 and has received commissions from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New World Symphony, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, and Carnegie Hall. Read more about Samuel Adams

 

Published April 17, 2019
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Winners of 2019 Woolsey Hall Concerto Competition announced

The 2019 Woolsey Hall Concerto Competition took place on Saturday, April 6. This year’s competition yielded three winners: violinist Jung Eun Kang ’18MM ’19MMA, who performed Karol Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 35; bassoonist Eleni Katz ’20MM, who performed Carl Maria von Weber’s Bassoon Concerto in F major, Op. 75; and violinist Emily Switzer ’19MM, who performed Béla Bartók’s Violin Concerto No. 2, Sz. 112. As winners, these instrumentalists will perform with the Yale Philharmonia during the 2019-20 season. Oboist Noah Kay ’19MM, who performed Richard Strauss’ Oboe Concerto in D major, AV 144, TrV 292, and guitarist Xiaobo Pu ’20MM, who performed Malcolm Arnold’s Guitar Concerto, Op. 67, were selected as alternates.

The judges were former Metropolitan Opera Orchestra flutist and current Aspen Music Festival and School faculty member Nadine Asin, pianist and Concert Artists Guild President Tanya Bannister, and former Juilliard String Quartet violinist and current Juilliard School faculty member Earl Carlyss.

We congratulate our outstanding students and look forward to hearing them perform next season with the Yale Philharmonia.

Published April 8, 2019
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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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