“Tree Giant,” by Aaron Levin ’19MM, has premiere at Yale’s State of Sustainability Awards

Aaron Levin. Photo by Eric Snoza, SnoProductions Photography

Tree Giant, a piece by School of Music composition student Aaron Levin ’19MM, had its premiere on April 23, at Yale University’s annual State of Sustainability Awards Luncheon. Held in the Glee Club Room in the Adams Center for Musical Arts, this is the third consecutive year that the luncheon was a collaboration between the University’s Office of Sustainability and the Yale School of Music. The event was attended by partners in sustainability initiatives across the University and featured speeches by Karen Seto, Yale’s Frederick C. Hixon Professor of Geography and Urbanization Science, and Robert Klee ’99MES ’04JD ’05PhD, former commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, on Yale’s role in mitigating climate change. Nine members of the Yale community received State of Sustainability Awards for their creativity, leadership, and dedication to helping Yale build a stronger, more sustainable world. READ MORE ABOUT THE HONOREES

Levin’s Tree Giant was performed by flutist Amir Farsi ’19MM, clarinetist Richard Adger ’19MM, violinist Matthew Woodard ’19MM, cellist Lucas Oliveira ’19MM, pianist Julia Weiner ’19BA, and percussionist Russell Fisher ’20MMA. “My grandfather would often talk about playing in the wooded areas that surrounded his home as a child,” Levin said, explaining the origins of Tree Giant. “I was always struck by the fantastical undertones of his stories, so I would picture imaginary friends that would accompany him in these woods. It saddened me to learn that all those wooden areas had been cut down since his childhood. This piece is a reflection on that childhood innocence and its relation to nature. However, it also reflects on the destruction of those things. In the end, though, I think of this as a positive piece, which focuses on the joyful memories that childhood and natural settings can leave behind. I decided to use the title Tree Giant, since I always imagined a similar creature to accompany my grandfather during one of his childhood adventures.”

The Yale Office of Sustainability’s mission is to “advance sustainability within the Yale community by acting as a catalyst for information exchange and facilitating capacity building, innovation, streamlined operations, and preparation of tomorrow’s sustainability leaders,” according to its website. Part of the outgrowth of that mission is the Yale Sustainability Plan 2025, which “demonstrates [Yale’s] commitment to building a more sustainable world.”

As part of its participation in the University’s efforts, YSM crafted a School-wide action plan for enhancing and improving the myriad ways in which music can intersect with sustainability. The School’s plan speaks to the greening of music materials, such as how instrument parts are made, replaced, and recycled; how music is composed, published, and distributed; and other innovations that can reduce YSM’s environmental impact.

YSM SUSTAINABILITY ACTION PLAN

 

 

Published April 30, 2019
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Dr. Christina Linsenmeyer appointed Associate Curator at the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments

Dr. Christina Linsenmeyer

School of Music Dean Robert Blocker recently shared news with the YSM community that Dr. Christina Linsenmeyer will join the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments staff in May 2019. Below is Dean Blocker’s announcement. 

Dear colleagues,

I am pleased to announce that Dr. Christina Linsenmeyer has been appointed Associate Curator at the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments and will begin her work in May. “Christina’s deep knowledge and broad perspective will contribute to our mission the moment she joins our team,” Collection Director William Purvis said.

Most recently, Dr. Linsenmeyer worked as a researcher at the Sibelius Academy at the University of the Arts Helsinki, in Finland. She was a founding Curator and served as interim Head of Curatorial Affairs at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona.

Dr. Linsenmeyer earned a doctorate in musicology from Washington University in St. Louis, a diploma in violin-making from the North Bennet Street School in Boston, and a bachelor of arts degree with honors in music from Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. She is passionate about cultural history and the arts and has spent the past two decades specializing in musical-instrument museums and organology. Dr. Linsenmeyer has also explored transdisciplinary approaches to the visual and aural aspects of music history and the intersections of aesthetics, social history, and material culture.

A contributor to numerous international publications, Dr. Linsenmeyer has made presentations at such notable institutions as the Germanisches nationalmuseum in Nuremberg, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum, the University of Edinburgh’s Musical Instrument Collection, and the Violin Society of America. She is the Secretary of the International Council of Museums’ International Committee for Museums and Collections of Instruments and Music.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Linsenmeyer.

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

Published April 10, 2019
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Members of YSM community earn Grammy nominations

Missy Mazzoli. Photo by Marylene Mey

Grammy Award nominations were announced on Friday, Dec. 7, and several members of the Yale School of Music community made the list. Please join us in congratulating these outstanding musicians.

Composer Missy Mazzoli ’06MM was nominated in the Best Contemporary Classical Composition category for her work Vespers for Violin, performed by Olivia de Prato. In the same category, faculty composer Aaron Jay Kernis ’83MM received a nomination for his Violin Concerto, performed by violinist James Ehnes, conductor Ludovic Morlot, and the Seattle Symphony.

Yale Philharmonia Principal Conductor Peter Oundjian was nominated in the Best Classical Compendium category for Vaughan Williams: Piano Concerto, Oboe Concerto, Serenade to Music, Flos Campi, on which he conducted. The recording was produced by Blanton Alspaugh.

Conductor Martin Pearlman ’71MM was nominated in the Best Classical Instrumental Solo Category for Biber: The Mystery Sonatas, on which he conducted. The recording features violinist Christina Day Martinson and Boston Baroque.

Composer John Adams ’MUSHD received a nomination in the Best Opera Recording category for Adams: Dr. Atomic.

The Boston-based chamber orchestra A Far Cry, which includes alumni violinists Liesl Schoenberger Doty ’11AD and Miki-Sophia Cloud ’08MM, was nominated in the Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance category for Visions and Variations.

In the Best Orchestral Performance category, three nominations have ties to YSM. The Boston Symphony Orchestra’s recording Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 11, conducted by Andris Nelsons, includes alumni violinist Sheila Fiekowsky ’75MM and cellist Owen Young ’87MM. The San Francisco Symphony’s recording Schumann: Symphonies Nos. 1-4, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, includes alumni violinists Gina Cooper ’87MM and John Young ’MM. And the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s recording Beethoven: Symphony No. 3; Strauss: Horn Concerto No. 1, conducted by Manfred Honeck, includes alumni violinists Irene Cheng ’94MM and Louis Lev ’90MM and alumni trombonist Rebecca Cherian ’81MM.

Published December 10, 2018
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“Neuro Pianist” Eitan Globerson to give cross-disciplinary lecture

Eitan Globerson

On Oct. 8, the Yale School of Music’s Piano Department will welcome back pianist, conductor, and brain-sciences scholar Eitan Globerson, also known as the “Neuro Pianist.” Globerson was a visiting professor at Yale in 2015 and taught “Piano Pedagogy” and “The Musical Brain, from Signal to Cognition.”

Globerson’s Oct. 8 lecture, “Music, Brain, and Emotion: Unraveling the Enigma,” will explore brain mechanisms underlying emotion processing, highlighting the role of these mechanisms in perceiving emotions in music. As part of the talk, Globerson will discuss practical insights, demonstrating how our knowledge of the human brain may affect both interpretation and composition.

Globerson is Professor of Piano and Conducting at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. As an active concert pianist, he has won both national and international prizes in performance, appeared as a soloist with symphony orchestras in Israel and around the world, and given frequent recitals and chamber music concerts in Israel, Europe, the United States, and the Far East. In addition to his musical activities, Globerson, who holds a Ph.D. in brain sciences from Bar Ilan University, is also active in scientific research. His papers on such topics as music perception, prosody in the general population and in adults with autistic spectrum disorders, psychoacoustics, birdsong, and motor control have been published in scientific journals.

Eitan Globerson will present “Music, Brain and Emotion: Unraveling the Enigma” on Monday, Oct. 8, at 4 p.m., in Sudler Recital Hall. The event is free and open to the public. 

Published October 4, 2018
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Rolston, Brentano quartet members talk about mentee-mentor relationship

Rolston String Quartet

Since September 2017, the Rolston String Quartet, a group that was coached at the 2016 Yale Summer School of Music/Norfolk Chamber Music Festival by the likes of the Brentano and Emerson string quartets before winning that year’s prestigious Banff International String Quartet Competition, has been the Yale School of Music’s fellowship quartet-in-residence. The opportunity to be mentored by the Brentano String Quartet, YSM’s quartet-in-residence, and to mentor undergraduates studying at the University’s Department of Music, while maintaining an active performance schedule, has been fruitful.

Rolston cellist Jonathan Lo pointed to collaborations with such distinguished School of Music faculty members as composer Hannah Lash, clarinetist David Shifrin, and flutist Ransom Wilson as invaluable opportunities. Of the Brentanos, Lo said, “They have been some of our foremost musical inspirations.” He described the Brentanos as “incredible musicians,” quick to share his appreciation for the chance “to be able to play for musicians of their caliber … one of the finest quartets in the world.”

Brentano violinist Mark Steinberg talked about the freedom YSM’s fellowship quartet-in-residence has at YSM to discover itself. “We give them regular coaching,” Steinberg said, “but we don’t overwhelm them.” The world doesn’t simply need more quartets, he said, but “we’re in a world that needs a string quartet with something urgent to say.”

Brentano String Quartet

Brentano String Quartet

Ideas are in plentiful supply at Yale, and “the University as a whole is open to (the Rolstons),” Steinberg said. “Everything that’s going on is fodder for your own thinking. The resources at Yale are incredible that way. It’s a really fertile place.”

The Rolstons’ residence, which ends in May 2019, has allowed them to pass some of their shared experience on to other, younger musicians. “For us to be able to work with the undergraduate students,” and to gain teaching experience, “is very invigorating for us,” Lo said. “Any serious ensemble should consider the (fellowship) program, because it offers a great balance of resources and input. It’s been everything that we could have hoped for.” 

 

ROLSTON STRING QUARTET

BRENTANO STRING QUARTET

Published September 7, 2018
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Willie Ruff awarded honorary doctorate

Willie Ruff receives an honorary doctorate from University President Salovey. Photo by Michael Marsland

As part of Yale’s 317th Commencement, which took place on May 21, the University awarded honorary degrees to “10 individuals who have received distinction in their respective fields.” Among the recipients was Willie Ruff ’53BM ’54MM, who retired in May 2017 having spent 46 years on the School of Music faculty.

Presenting Ruff with an honorary doctor of music degree, University President Peter Salovey said, “You have shared the wonders of music with the world. Introducing new audiences to the transcendent power of jazz; you discovered the echoes of distant times and faraway places in this quintessential American art form. In your ‘conservatory without walls,’ generations of young people have been inspired by jazz legends. Scholar, storyteller, and musician, in gratitude for your creativity and charisma, we are privileged to present your third Yale degree, Doctor of Music.”

The “conservatory without walls” to which Salovey referred is the “‘invisible institution’ through which African American music has been nurtured and developed over time,” explained Lucile Bruce in the Spring 2017 issue of Music at Yale. In 1972, a year after joining the faculty at his alma mater, Ruff brought 40 jazz legends to Yale — among them Duke Ellington, Marian Anderson, Dizzy Gillespie, and Charles Mingus — and launched the Duke Ellington Fellowship and the Ellington Jazz Series.

Throughout his extraordinary career, Ruff has introduced audiences around the world to jazz. With pianist Dwike Mitchell, Ruff — a horn and bass player — brought the art form to the Soviet Union in 1959 and to China in 1981.

Ruff’s scholarship has yielded remarkable insight into musical connections, and his eagerness to share his experiences and knowledge has enlightened many. His 1991 memoir, A Call to Assembly: The Autobiography of a Musical Storyteller, earned him an ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for Music Writing.

At the School of Music’s 2017 Honors Banquet, Ruff was given Yale University’s Nathan Hale Award. “He’s changed all our lives,” YSM Dean Robert Blocker said.

Ruff came to the Yale School of Music to study with Paul Hindemith — because he had read that Charlie Parker would have done the same. More than half century later, the School and the University continue to recognize and appreciate his remarkable legacy.

READ THE MUSIC AT YALE FEATURE
WATCH A VIDEO ABOUT WILLIE RUFF

Published May 23, 2018
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Central Conservatory of Music President Yu Feng visits Yale

Left to right: LIU Hongzhu, director of CCoM’s office of international affairs; CCoM President YU Feng; YSM Dean Robert Blocker; YU Hongmei, professor of erhu and director of CCoM’s department of traditional Chinese music; and YU Feng’s son YU Ji, a postgraduate conducting student at CCoM

YU Feng, the president of the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, China, paid a visit to Yale University this week as part of a trip to American schools with which his has institutional partnerships. The Yale School of Music has had a relationship with CCoM since the mid-1990s, when WANG Cizhao, whose daughter, composer Fay Wang, earned a master of music degree and an artist diploma from YSM in 2010 and 2012, respectively, was the conservatory’s president. YU, who leads CCoM’s conducting department, became the conservatory’s president in February 2016.

YU Feng was accompanied on his visit to Yale by his son, YU Ji, a postgraduate conducting student at CCoM; YU Hongmei, professor of erhu and director of CCoM’s department of traditional Chinese music; and LIU Hongzhu, the director of CCoM’s office of international affairs. MORE

Published June 23, 2017
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Inside YSM: Sun-A Park ’16AD ’17MMA, piano

Sun-A Park

Pianist Sun-A Park ’16AD ’17MMA was recently selected to compete at the prestigious Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, which is scheduled to take place in late May and early June in Fort Worth, Texas. Asked how studying with Boris Berman at YSM has prepared her for that opportunity, Sun-A said, “Professor Berman encouraged me to make the most musical decisions, provided insights into the repertoire I am performing, and stirred an intellectual curiosity within myself. I don’t know if he has prepared me just for this opportunity. He always believed in me and helped to maximized my abilities.” MORE

Published May 5, 2017
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Inside YSM: Matthew Gray ’17MMA, horn

Matthew Gray

Meet horn player Matt Gray ’17MMA, who spoke with us recently about his experiences studying with Prof. William Purvis.

“The dynamic in the YSM horn studio is similar to that of a big family,” Matt said. “Each member of the family has strengths and weaknesses, but together we are a capable and formidable group. This sense of family and camaraderie comes directly from Prof. Purvis.

“Prof. Purvis has a style of teaching that focuses directly on the steps his students should take to assess and improve their own playing while also motivating and encouraging his students to pursue their own strengths to the fullest degree.”

While at YSM, Matt has worked in the Concert Office and has developed an interest in the administrative side of the field. MORE

Published May 5, 2017
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Yaffe receives sustainability award, Purrington debuts “A Clarion Call”

YSM Associate Dean Michael Yaffe

Yale School of Music Associate Dean Michael Yaffe received a Certificate of Outstanding Recognition on Friday, April 21, from Yale University’s Office of Sustainability. Yaffe was recognized at the 2017 “State of Sustainability” Breakfast for his dedication to championing “inclusion and justice” at YSM, in the local community, and beyond.

“Michael Yaffe has worked to enrich the New Haven schools through the Music in Schools Initiative,” Office of Sustainability Director Ginger Chapman said.

According to language on its website, the Office of Sustainability’s mission “is to advance sustainability within the Yale community by acting as a catalyst for information exchange and facilitating capacity building, innovation, streamlined operations, and preparation of tomorrow’s sustainability leaders.”

“A city that provides families with active music-making is a more cohesive city,” Yaffe said. “Music is an emotional language that gives meaning to society and has the potential to bring confidence and commitment” to conversations such as those about health, equity, and future generations. MORE

Published April 21, 2017
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