Faculty tubist Carol Jantsch, on exploration and perpetual study

Carol Jantsch

In 2006, Carol Jantsch was named Principal Tubist of the Philadelphia Orchestra. She further explains on her website that “she won the position during her senior year at the University of Michigan, becoming the first female tuba player in a major symphony orchestra.” We reached out to Jantsch, who joined the Yale School of Music faculty in 2012, to talk about teaching, arranging music for her instrument, and musical pursuits beyond her work with the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Q: When, where, and how did you choose the tuba—or did the instrument choose you? I know your family is quite musical. Were you encouraged to pursue music as a field of study and a profession?

A: My mom forced me to start piano lessons when I was 6, and she sent me and my brother to Interlochen Arts Camp a few years later. That first summer at Interlochen I took a class called “Instrument Exploration,” where we were introduced to all the instruments and chose one to learn. I wanted something weird and different, so the euphonium fit the bill perfectly. I made the switch to tuba a few years later, when I was around 12 years old.

Q: To what extent have you learned through teaching? In other words, to what degree has working with students informed your approach to the instrument? In what ways have you grown as a musician since 2006?

A: Teaching forces you to put your values and techniques into words, and this process has been hugely educational for me. I always had strong opinions about how I wanted to sound, but now my ideas have more clarity and refinement. I’m also much more conscious of how I’m doing what I’m doing from having to explain it to others.

I feel very fortunate to have come of age as a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra. I’m constantly drawing inspiration from my amazing colleagues, and I absolutely believe that I’m a much better musician for getting to hear them for the past 13 years.

Q: I’m always curious to learn about an artist’s routines. How do you juggle individual practice, arranging, rehearsing with the orchestra and other groups, teaching, recording, and other aspects of your life?

A: I get a lot of emails and arranging done on the train to Yale!

The orchestra is and always will be my primary focus; I’m very grateful to have such a wonderful job, and it’s also the thing that enables me to do everything else. I’ll definitely get more practice time when the orchestra is playing “New World” Symphony than I will in a Mahler week, and the time for other projects ebbs and flows with my Philadelphia Orchestra responsibilities. While it can be hectic to have so many side projects, I think it’s important to make the time for them because they keep me growing as a musician and person.

Q: With limited repertoire composed specifically for tuba, you necessarily perform a good number of arrangements. How do you go about choosing which pieces to arrange for your instrument—what are the important considerations beyond a desire to play a particular piece? How much do you and your students discuss and work on arranging?

A: Just like teaching, arranging has had a profound influence on my musicianship. Arranging a piece of music is like solving a puzzle: How do you fundamentally change the nature of something while still capturing the essence of the original? What specifically makes Beethoven sound like Beethoven, or Led Zeppelin sound like Led Zeppelin—and then how do I preserve that when I write for tubas?! They’re fun questions to tackle, and I think having that sense of the big picture is really helpful as a performer. I find it so helpful in fact that I’ve started requiring my students to create at least one transcription or arrangement for their graduation recital.

Q: Is Tubular currently active? If so, what’s your set list like?

A: Yes we are! For the uninitiated, Tubular is my cover band comprised of two euphoniums, two tubas, drums, and all of us do vocals. In September, we performed the entire Beatles album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band—that was a pretty epic night. But normally our shows span a lot of eras and styles—Queen, Beyoncé, the Jackson 5, Bruno Mars, the Eagles, Kesha, Flight of the Conchords, really anything we think will be awesome and/or hilarious. I’m currently working on a ’70s rock medley that will include Styx, Heart, AC/DC, and more …

What have you been listening to and reading lately?

I’ve been on a classic rock kick because of my current arranging project! Spotify makes some pretty great playlists, and the one called “Classic Rock Workout” is pretty much solid gold; exercise or not, I highly recommend it.

Faculty tubist Carol Jantsch will perform a free Faculty Artist Series recital on Sunday, Oct. 13, at 3 p.m., in Morse Recital Hall. 

DETAILS

Published October 9, 2019
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Drs. Bowring and Monahan appointed to YSM’s academic faculty

Drs. Lynette Bowring and Seth Monahan have been appointed Assistant Professor Adjunct of Music History and Visiting Associate Professor Adjunct of Music Analysis and Musicianship, respectively, at the Yale School of Music. Both will begin teaching at YSM in the fall.

Bowring, who will teach survey courses and electives in music history at YSM, has been serving as an adjunct faculty member at The Juilliard School, teaching courses in Renaissance and Baroque music history. She has also taught at Westminster Choir College and in the Music Department at Rutgers University. Bowring specializes in the instrumental repertoire of the Italian Baroque, with secondary interests that include 20th-century music. She has contributed to a number of scholarly journals and has recently written an article on the implications of musical literacy for 17th-century instrumentalists for a forthcoming issue of Early Music. She has also co-edited an essay collection titled Music and Jewish Culture in Early Modern Italy. Bowring earned a Ph.D. in musicology from Rutgers University, a master of music degree in musicology from the University of Manchester (UK), and a bachelor of music degree from the Royal Northern College of Music (UK), where she studied violin. She continues to perform as a Baroque violinist.

Monahan will teach core courses and electives in musicianship and analysis at YSM. He previously served as Associate Professor of Music Theory and Chair of the Music Theory Department at the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music. Monahan has earned widespread acclaim for his publications, lectures, and conference presentations. His research focuses on the relationships among form, narrative meaning, and interpretation, particularly in the symphonies of Gustav Mahler, the late compositional style of Richard Wagner, and other Romantic and Classical instrumental works. Monahan’s Mahler’s Symphonic Sonatas, published in 2015 by Oxford University Press, won the Society of Music Theory’s Emerging Scholar Award. He earned a bachelor of music degree in composition from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where he also studied guitar, a master of music degree in music theory from Temple University, and a Ph.D. from Yale University.

Published July 24, 2019
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Yale composers win New Music USA grants

 

More than two dozen student, alumni, and faculty composers from the Yale School of Music have received grants from New Music USA for a variety of commissions, projects, and performances. This year, New Music USA has helped fund 114 projects with grants totaling more than $500,000. Please join us in congratulating the following members of our composition community.

Students

Gabrielle Herbst ’20MM is a part of a project titled “The Female Gaze” through which works featuring the female voice are commissioned and performed. A twist on the trope of the “male gaze,” the project’s composers, performers, and intended audience members are all women. Herbst’s First Lady of the Air was inspired by the life of Amelia Earhart.

Joel Thompson ’20MMA received a commission from the Grant Park Music Festival’s FestivalNext initiative, part of Chicago’s Night Out in the Parks program, which brings classical performances into Chicago neighborhoods. Thompson’s string quartet will be performed by fellows from the festival’s Project Inclusionprofessional development program, which serves young musicians of historically underrepresented identities.

Liliya Ugay ’16MM ’22DMA was a Fellow at the CULTIVATE 2018 Emerging Composers’ Institute, which was created by the Music from Copland House ensemble. The program commissioned Ugay and other fellows to write pieces that were later workshopped, performed, and recorded.

Alumni

The Los Angeles-based Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra will commission 20 composers, with commissioned works to be performed in the 2020 season as part of the organization’s 20×2020 series. Of those composers, eight are YSM alumni or faculty: Andy Akiho ’11MM, Krists Auznieks ’16MM ’22DMA, Christopher Cerrone ’09MM ’10MMA ’14DMA, Natalie Dietterich ’16MM ’17MMA, Ted Hearne ’08MM ’09MMA ’14DMA, Hannah Lash ’12AD, Peter Shin ’20MMA, and Sarah Kirkland Snider ’05MM ’06AD.

Works by Reena Esmail ’11MM and Caroline Shaw ’07MM will be performed by the multi-genre string quartet Brooklyn Rider as part of the ensemble’s “Healing Modes” program in April 2020 at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland. “Healing Modes” was inspired by the idea that music is a force for healing.

The composing-performing group Invisible Anatomy, including Ian Gottlieb ’15MM, Paul Kerekes ’12MM ’14MMA ’19DMA, Brendon Randall-Myers ’14MM, Ben Wallace ’14MM ’21DMA, and Fay Wang ’10MM ’12AD, presented Illumination as part of the 2019 Tribeca New Music Festival. The performance combined music and performance art and was based on the role of light in human life.

Molly Joyce ’17MM was one of the composers commissioned in 2016 by Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble as part of its celebration of the 100th anniversary of the National Parks System. A CD of the commissioned works will be released on Innova Recordings. Joyce also received a grant for her project “Breaking and Entering,” which examines physical immobility in dance and music.

Works by Molly Joyce ’17MM, Loren Loiacono ’10BA ’12MM, and Tanner Porter ’19MM were performed as part of “Sing Out, Justice!” a program presented by the Albany Symphony’s 2019 American Music Festival. The festival commemorated the anniversaries of the passage of the 19th Amendment and the Stonewall riots.

Caroline Mallonee ’00MM will have her String Tunes recorded by the Buffalo Chamber Players, for whom she is the composer-in-residence. String Tunes  consists of 12 solos, two trios, one duo, and one quartet.

Marc Mellits ’91MM will be commissioned to write for the Chicago Opera Theater as part of Ear Taxi 2020, the second Chicago Festival of New Music put on by New Music Chicago. The festival’s mission is to support Chicago-based composers, artists, and performers by connecting them with cultural institutions.

Matthew Welch ’13MMA ’17DMA collaborated with five other composers to create the opera Chunky in Heat, which premiered this summer as part of Experiments in Opera’s 2018-2019 residency at the Flea Theater in New York City. Welch is a co-founder of Experiments in Opera.

Faculty

Faculty composer Martin Bresnick will be commissioned by the PRISM Quartet for its performance and recording project “Mending Wall,” which explores the role of walls in today’s society. Bresnick’s piece is based on the 1914 Robert Frost poem of the same name.

Faculty composer Christopher Theofanidis ’94MMA ’97DMA will write a piece for the Allentown Symphony Orchestra for its celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, in 2020. The work, for strings and harpsichord, will examine themes of conservation and environmentalism.

Published July 11, 2019
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Yale in New York concert celebrates YSM’s guitar and composition programs

Ben Verdery

Benjamin Verdery

In programming Music for Guitars, an upcoming Yale in New York series concert at Carnegie Hall, faculty guitarist Benjamin Verdery reflected on a November 2010 program that featured music by a host of Yale-affiliated composers. That program, by design, celebrated the legacies of the School of Music’s composition and guitar programs.

Verdery also reflected, in curating the upcoming Yale in New York program, on inspiration he found, a little more than 10 years ago, at the Rhode Island School of Design. Verdery’s son was applying to the school, whose application requirements included drawing a bicycle or some element thereof. Accepted students’ illustrations were on view when Verdery brought his son to Providence to visit the school. “It was mind-bending,” Verdery said.

“I’m going to have my friends write a piece of music—just the notes, the pitches and the rhythms,” without tempo or dynamic indications, he decided. Since then, each year, prospective School of Music students applying to study with Verdery have been required to learn and perform, as part of their audition, a piece written by one of Verdery’s colleagues, along with other repertoire. Like RISD’s bicycle-drawing admissions requirement, the commissioned audition pieces leave room for interpretation, giving Verdery some insight into the ability and creativity of prospective students.

Those who have been commissioned by Verdery to compose audition pieces, over the course of the past decade, include former YSM Dean and Prof. of Music Ezra Laderman, faculty composers Martin Bresnick and Christopher Theofanidis; Lecturer in Electronic Music Jack Vees; YSM alumni Bryce Dessner, James Moore, and Brendon Randall-Myers; Yale University Department of Music Prof. Kathryn Alexander; and current composition student Tanner Porter, among others. Audition pieces by the above-mentioned musicians will be showcased as part of Music for Guitars, the third and final concert in the 2018-2019 Yale in New York series. The concert will feature Verdery and current School of Music students and alumni, including René Izquierdo.

The program also includes works by Hindemith (who taught at the School of Music), Mudarra, and Terry Riley; arrangements of music by Bach, Scarlatti, and Schubert; and world premieres of James Moore’s Turning and Verdery’s arrangement, for guitar and string quartet, of Bernstein’s Sonata for Clarinet and Piano. Izquierdo will perform Turning, which was this year’s YSM guitar audition piece. Verdery will perform the Bernstein with violinists Kate Arndt and Gregory Lewis, violist Marta Lambert, and cellist Guilherme Monegatto-all current YSM students.

The repertoire for the program reaches back to 16th century composer Alonso Mudarra’s fantasias for vihuela—which will be played on an instrument from the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments—and visits music composed since then and up to the present. The program also taps into the arranging chops of the guitarists who’ll be performing. It’s something “all of us in the world of guitar do,” Verdery said.

“There’s a lot of color and expression of what the guitar is,” Verdery said of the program. There will also be a lot of virtuosity on display—and, like the 2010 program, of which it’s a musical extension, many connections to the School of Music.

The School of Music’s Yale in New York series presents Music for Guitars on Friday, March 29, at 7:30 p.m., at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. A preview concert is scheduled for Thursday, March 28, at 4:30 p.m., in Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Memorial Hall. Admission to the preview concert is free.

PREVIEW CONCERT
YALE IN NEW YORK

Published March 20, 2019
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Christopher Theofanidis’ “Drum Circles” to be premiered by YSM percussionists

Christopher Theofanidis

On March 9, the Oregon Symphony, led my Music Director Carlos Kalmar, will premiere Drum Circles, a concerto for percussion quartet and orchestra by YSM faculty composer Christopher Theofanidis. Drum Circles was commissioned by a consortium of six organizations, including the Aspen Music Festival, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Colorado Symphony, Curtis (Institute) Symphony Orchestra, Hartford Symphony Orchestra, and Oregon Symphony.

“Much of Drum Circles centers around the joy of sound and collaboration,” Theofanidis said. The title of the five-movement work stems from its stage setup, which will feature the quartet—YSM alumni Ji Hye Jung ’09MM, Matthew Keown ’16MM ’22DMA, Svet Stoyanov ’07MM, and Sam Um ’17MM ’18MMA—and three of the orchestra’s percussionists surrounding the full ensemble in a large circle. One of the challenges Theofanidis faced in composing Drum Circles was keeping audiences’ attention on the percussion quartet throughout the piece. While composers of any concerto must work to maintain such a balance, “having many players potentially decentralizes that focus,” Theofanidis said.

The sound qualities of the percussion instruments the piece utilizes also came into play. Theofanidis observed that a potential imbalance between soloists and orchestra might be “even more pronounced with a percussion-quartet concerto with orchestra, where many of the sounds of the soloists are not pitch oriented, but the sounds of the orchestra all around them are.” In navigating these challenges while writing the piece, Theofanidis “kept coming back to the idea of dialogue and delight.”

Theofanidis decided from the beginning that the piece should be accessible to orchestras — “portable” in the sense that it would require instruments that most orchestras already have. “To have four players on the road with an enormous amount of gear didn’t make sense either artistically or economically and would have probably limited the opportunities for the work to get done,” he said. Still, the piece calls for some nonconventional instruments including an amplified typewriter, wooden slats, and spring coils — “plenty of bells and whistles, so to speak,” Theofanidis said.

While composing Drum Circles, Theofanidis checked in periodically with percussionists at YSM, incorporating their feedback into the writing and part-distribution process. “More than any other musicians, percussionists are collaborators,” Theofanidis said. “They were careful to let me know that they wanted their orchestral-percussion colleagues to very much be a part of the piece, not just a background group of players.”

Once the piece is performed with an orchestra for the first time, Theofanidis will be able to add any finishing touches the work might call for. “The great thing about having a consortium of six orchestras as part of the premiere is that we can continue to tailor the piece and get it ‘just so,’” he said.

CHRISTOPHER THEOFANIDIS

Published March 7, 2019
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YSM faculty composer Aaron Jay Kernis wins Grammy Award

Aaron Jay Kernis

Several Yale School of Music alumni took home Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 10. Please join us in congratulating the following musicians on this exciting accomplishment.

Faculty composer Aaron Jay Kernis ‘83MM won a Grammy Award in the “Best Contemporary Classical Composition” category for his Violin Concerto, which was performed by violinist James Ehnes, conductor Ludovic Morlot, and the Seattle Symphony. Ehnes won a Grammy in the “Best Classical Instrumental Solo” for his performance.

Violinist Sheila Fiekowsky ’75MM and cellist Owen Young ’87MM earned Grammy Awards as members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the “Best Orchestral Performance” category for the ensemble’s recording of Shostakovich Symphonies Nos. 4 and 11. For that recording, which was engineered by Shawn Murphy, Nick Squire, and Tim Martyn, the Boston Symphony Orchestra also won in the “Best Engineered Album, Classical” category.

Erica Brenner ’89MM earned a Grammy Award for producing Songs of Orpheus, a recording that features tenor Karim Sulayman and Apollo’s Fire, conducted by Jeannette Sorrell, in a performance of music by Monteverdi, Caccini, d’India, and Landi. The recording won in the “Best Classical Solo Vocal Album” category. Brenner, who studied flute at YSM, is a member of the Recording Academy.

Published February 11, 2019
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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.”

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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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Masaaki Suzuki honored by American Bach Society

Masaaki Suzuki. Photo by Marco Borggreve

During its biennial meeting and conference, which was held at Yale University in late April, the American Bach Society awarded Masaaki Suzuki, an artist-in-residence at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music and principal guest conductor of the Yale Schola Cantorum, an honorary membership “for his accomplishments as a performer and champion of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach,” society President Markus Rathey said.

“Masaaki Suzuki has had an impact on the performance of Baroque music not only in this country but all over the world,” Rathey, the Robert S. Tangeman Professor in the Practice of Music History at the Yale School of Music, said. “As a conductor, harpsichordist, and organist, Suzuki has been one of the most prolific performers of Bach’s music for more than two decades.”

During the conference, Suzuki led Yale alumni in a performance of Bach’s B-minor Mass.

 

Published May 7, 2018
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