[ alumni ]

MusiCorps Wounded Warrior Band will be musical guest on Colbert Report

MusiCorps_2013The MusiCorps Wounded Warrior Band will be the musical guest on the Colbert Report this Wednesday, December 18th, along with Aaron Neville. MusiCorps, founded and directed by Arthur Bloom ’86BA, ’93MM, ’94MMA, is an intensive music rehabilitation program for wounded service members.

The show, which will air at 11:30pm EST, 10:30 CST on Comedy Central, is part of Colbert’s Christmas Carols Week. The National, whose members include Bryce Dessner ’98BA, ’99MM, performed on the show Monday, December 16.

Bloom noted: “Almost everything we do is in private — one-on-one sessions at Walter Reed helping wounded warriors learn to play an instrument or relearn to play one following a devastating injury. So it is particularly gratifying when we are able to share our work with others through performances of the MusiCorps Wounded Warrior Band.”

Published December 17, 2013
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[ in the press ]

PMC offers “Listen, then Pay” in Oct. 12 Britten tribute

By Timothy Rutt

BrittenThe Pasadena Master Chorale will perform “A Portrait of Benjamin Britten” at the Altadena Community Church on Oct. 12, with a novel concept: “Listen first, then pay.”

Get your ticket online or from a chorale member for zero —  yes, zero — dollars.

“Yes, you can actually ‘purchase’ a ticket for zero dollars,” says Artistic Director Jeffrey Bernstein. “Then, after the performance, we will ask audience members to pay what they feel the concert was worth. All of us at PMC are very excited about the idea of giving music to people first and, only then, afterwards asking for payment.” MORE

Published September 12, 2013
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Eleven alumniVentures awards announced

Dean Robert Blocker has announced the 2012 alumniVentures awards. Eleven grants were awarded, ranging from $2,000 to $7,500 and totaling $51,000. In thanking the alumni committee that recommended the recipients, the Dean acknowledges their work and the identification of outstanding projects that truly advance the cause of music.

Vincent Oneppo MM ’73, Chair of the alumniVentures selection committee, joins the Dean in thanking the committee members for their service to the Yale School of Music and its alumni. The committee members this year were Brian Fennelly ’65MM, ’68PhD, Nicholas Renouf ’71MM, Michael Breaux ’84MM, Eva Heater ’91MM, and Olivia Malin ’07MM. MORE

Published May 31, 2013
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One-handed violinist helps the disabled make music

CNN Ideas Series
By Brandon Griggs

The young man tucks his violin under his chin and begins to play. A hush falls over the few spectators in the largely empty opera house, who turn toward the bare stage. As his lilting notes float through the room, other people trickle in from the lobby to listen.

The young man sometimes closes his eyes as he plays, as if lost in the music. If his audience closed their eyes, too, they would never know the violinist standing before them has no right hand, only a stunted appendage with tiny stubs instead of fingers.

Which is fitting, because Adrian Anantawan prefers to be judged for what people hear, not what they see. MORE

Published March 22, 2013
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Pedro de Alcantara ’81MM publishes fifth book

Pedro de Alcantara ’81MM has published his fifth book, Integrated Practice: Coordination, Rhythm & Music.

The book was published by Oxford University Press as the foundation volume of the series The Integrated Musician, of which Alcantara is the editor. The series’ main concept is that a musician’s good health is a creative act.

The book is supported by a dedicated website with 72 video clips and 25 audio clips. The website was partially financed by a generous grant from YSM’s alumniVentures program.

Published June 29, 2011
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alumniVentures grant to Kim Perlak ’01MM keeps on giving

Kim Perlak ’01MM

Guitarist and professor Kim Perlak ’01MM received an alumniVentures grant in 2009-10 and wrote recently to tell YSM of the project’s successful continuation. alumniVentures, the initiative supporting efforts to advance the cause of music, began in 2008-09 and has given three rounds of grants to YSM alumni.

Wrote Perlak, “My music history and performance students at Concordia University were so inspired to volunteer in my Yale grant project that I have created a series called Music-History-Service. This annual project will encourage both students and faculty to explore the history of the music they love, and through it, make a difference in the present.”

Perlak’s latest project, “Ben and I Play For Peace,” has attracted national press. Three “Ben and I Play for Peace”  concerts will take place on April 3, 2011 at 3 pm in Austin, Tex.; Denver, Colo.; and Sarasota, Fla. The concerts will present the world premiere of a work by Benjamin Verdery, a faculty member at the Yale School of Music. Proceeds will benefit a program called Wheelchairs for Iraqi Kids.

Ben Werdegar, a 13-year-old guitarist from California, has pledged to raise $1 million in partnership with Brad Blauser (a CNN Hero) to purchase wheelchairs for disabled children in Iraq. Funds raised in the April events will add to Ben’s personal total of $19,000 – which he raised by playing at his neighborhood coffee shop in San Francisco.


Published March 28, 2011
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On the Trail of Gottschalk

By Richard Rosenberg
LISTEN Magazine

In the mid-nineteenth century, American pianist and composer Louis Moreau Gottschalk traveled to Cuba. In 2010, conductor and musicologist Richard Rosenberg followed him there. Searching for Gottschalk’s lost orchestral works, what Rosenberg found was much more complicated.

Havana, the capital of Cuba, is now a dilapidated shadow of its former glory, with gaping holes in the sidewalks, crumbling buildings, dirty streets and, on every corner, a taxi driver trying to hustle you into a rusty wreck of a classic car.

Not so in the 1850s, when Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1826-1869) visited Cuba. At that time, the American was known internationally as a virtuosic, flamboyant pianist and composer—a sort of Elvis Presley of the Victorian era—and Havana was one of the premier centers of Western culture. The elegant 1837 Teatro Tàcon (now the Teatro Garcia Lorca) was one of the finest theaters in the world, and it was there, in 1859, that Gottschalk presented a “monster concert” with more than six hundred fifty musicians on the massive stage. Gottschalk took frequent trips to Cuba, his first lasting a year (1854-55). He traveled to Havana and many cities beyond, composing, conducting and enjoying his time as a cultural tourist. MORE

Published December 5, 2010
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2010-11 alumniVentures winners announced

Sarita Kwok, chair, alumniVentures committee

Dean Robert Blocker recently announced the 2010 alumniVentures awards, the grants that the Yale School of Music offers to its alumni for projects that follow the simple criterion: to advance the cause of music.

In thanking the alumni committee that recommended the recipients, the Dean acknowledged their work and the identification of outstanding projects that truly advance the cause of music. Sarita Kwok, chair of the alumniVentures selection committee, joined the Dean in thanking the committee members for their service to the Yale School of Music and its alumni. The committee members this year were David Kurtz, Richard Lalli, Emily Payne Veletzos, and Robert Weirich.

The largest grant this year went to Kelly Dehnert ’86MM, to support the only university-level band program in Malawi. The African country of 15 million people has only two university-level music programs, one of those at the African Bible College (ABC). These students are primarily underprivileged with limited opportunity to develop musical skills. Yet almost half of the student body at ABC is involved in the school’s music programs, including music theory, appreciation, keyboard, jazz, traditional African combos, bands, and choirs. Funds will be used to build new practice facilities for the band and provide for instrument repair.

Another substantial grant went to Dantes Rameau ’07MM to support the Atlanta Music Project. The year‐round, 5‐day‐a‐week, after‐school youth orchestra program targets at‐risk youth from grades 1 through 12, and is modeled on Venezuela’s El Sistema program. Students are provided with instruments, instruction, classes, and performance opportunities.

View the complete list of 2010-11 winners HERE.

Published November 23, 2010
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Applications open for alumniVentures

In June 2008, Dean Robert Blocker of the Yale School of Music announced alumniVentures, a bold and innovative program that provides grants to the School’s alumni for projects that best follow one simple but transcendent criterion: to advance the cause of music.

Schools providing grants to its own alumni are rare in the world of higher education. In explaining the inspiration for alumniVentures, Dean Blocker said, “Since coming to Yale in 1995 I have been inspired by the many ways our alumni advance the cause of music. Knowing how many musicians sacrifice financial security because of their passion for music, I wanted to assist and acknowledge some of these extraordinary contributions to our art. The program I envisioned was one where we could reconnect alumni to the School through their work as musicians and assist them by using part of the annual fund for these awards.”

The deadline to apply for a 2010-11 alumniVentures grant is fast approaching. Applications are due by 12:00 pm EST on Monday, October 4.

Apply online

More from the news blog about alumniVentures

Update: deadline extended to Monday, October 4.

Published September 28, 2010
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