New Music New Haven features the Pulitzer Prize-winning String Quartet No. 2 by Aaron Jay Kernis

“A composer of real mastery and individuality.”
–The New York Times

The Yale School of Music presents a New Music New Haven concert on Thursday, April 28, 2011 at 8 pm at Trinity Lutheran Church (292 Orange Street, New Haven). The concert will feature faculty composer Aaron Jay Kernis, whose String Quartet No. 2, musica instrumentalis, will be performed by the Jasper Quartet. musica instrumentalis is the piece that won Kernis the Pulitzer Prize in 1998. Kernis has also won such accolades as the Grawemeyer Award and the Rome Prize.

The Jasper Quartet, currently in residence at the Oberlin Conservatory and the Caramoor Center for the Arts, is familiar to New Haven audiences from its two years as the graduate quartet-in-residence at the Yale School of Music (2008–2010).

The first half of the concert will feature music by graduate composers, beginning with Justin Tierney’s Fission for solo celeste (the instrument heard in Tchaikovksy’s “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy”) and a piece by Andy Akiho for flute and marimba.

The Yale Camerata, directed by Marguerite L. Brooks, will sing choral music by Jordan Kuspa and Reena Esmail. Kuspa’s A Dream within a Dream is for four-part mixed choir. Esmail’s White Key for eight-part choir is based on Carol Muske-Dukes’s poem of the same name. Says Esmail, “White Key evokes the feeling of suspension. A woman makes the difficult journey by plane back to her home after receiving the news of her husband’s sudden death. As she is suspended in the air between two cities, she is also suspended between two lives, between a beautiful past and the uncertain present.”

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Published April 5, 2011
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New Music New Haven features Ezra Laderman’s Piano Sonata No. 2

The Yale School of Music presents a New Music New Haven concert on Thursday, March 24, 2011 at 8 pm in Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Hall (470 College Street, New Haven). The concert will feature faculty composer Ezra Laderman and his Piano Sonata No. 2, written in 1956. The four-movement work will be performed by Adela Hyeyeon Park, a graduate of the School of Music who has been praised for her “very sensitive” (Washington Post) and “highly nuanced” (Lucid Culture) playing. The program includes another piano piece by a faculty composer, Ingram Marshall’s Authentic Presence.

The concert will open with several new works by graduate composers from the Yale School of Music: Justin Tierney’s Chains for solo marimba, performed by the dynamic percussionist Candy Chiu, and Andy Akiho’s Love Lost Lust Lone, performed by the ensemble Loadbang. Reena Esmail’s Two Tones for violin, piano, and voice is based on the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke. Omar Surillo’s Blanket is a slow, sustained work for electric guitar, saxophone, keyboard, and laptop. Chris Rogerson combines ancient and new sounds in his solo cello piece Bradwell-on-the-Sea, inspired by the site (in Essex, England) of the oldest active church in all of Great Britain. Daniel Wohl’s Saint Arc is a piece for cello and electronics. MORE

Published February 25, 2011
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Yale Philharmonia offers Mahler, Berg, and Akiho’s new steel pan concerto January 21

The Yale School of Music presents the Philharmonia Orchestra of Yale and conductor Shinik Hahm on Friday, January 21, 2011 at 8 pm in Woolsey Hall. The concert will open with Andy Akiho’s new Concerto for Steel Pans, which received its premiere December 9 in Sprague Hall. Akiho, a trained percussionist as well as composer who has studied steel pan culture in Trinidad, will be the soloist in the piece. Akiho’s concerto was selected by the Yale School of Music’s composition faculty to be performed on this program.

Soprano Janna Baty will join the orchestra to perform excerpts from Alban Berg’s opera Wozzeck. The opera, based on Georg Büchner’s play Woyzeck, was a succès de scandale at its premiere in 1925 and quickly took off across Europe. Baty, a member of the School of Music faculty, has been praised by the Boston Herald for her “voice brimming with richness and confidence.”

The concert will close with Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 in D major, called “The Titan” not for its size – though a performance requires about 100 musicians and lasts about one hour – but because Mahler originally based the work on Jean Paul’s novel of the same name. MORE

Published December 15, 2010
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Yale Philharmonia features composer Martin Bresnick in concert of New Music for Orchestra Dec. 9

Other works in the Sprague Hall concert include Andy Akiho’s concerto for steel pans and Reena Esmail’s Aria with Hindustani vocalist Meena Shivram

The Yale School of Music presents its annual New Music for Orchestra concert with the Yale Philharmonia on Thursday, December 9 at 8 pm in Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Hall (470 College Street, New Haven).

The concert will feature Pan Penseroso, a flute concerto by faculty composer Martin Bresnick. Renowned flutist Ransom Wilson, also a member of the YSM faculty, will perform the solo.

Also on the program are several pieces by second-year graduate students in the Yale School of Music’s prestigious composition department. Andy Akiho, whose virtuosity on the steel pans was just featured in a November 12th On Common Ground concert, will play the solo in his own Concerto for Steel Pans. Meena Shivram will be the Hindustani vocalist in Reena Esmail‘s Aria. Also on the program are Adrian Knight‘s Comblé and Omar Surillo‘s Partner in Crime. Adrian Slywotzky and Yang Jiao, conducting fellows at the School of Music, will each lead one work on the program. Shinik Hahm is the resident conductor of the Yale Philharmonia.

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Published November 18, 2010
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Ellington Jazz Series presents the second “Homegrown on Common Ground” Concert November 12

New Haven’s Ben Allison, bassist and composer for NPR’s “On the Media,” is featured with his band; St. Luke’s Steel Band and Andy Akiho return

After the success of the first “Homegrown on Common Ground” concert last April, the Ellington Jazz Series at the Yale School of Music revisits the theme of having musicians from Yale and New Haven share the stage of Sprague Hall for an evening of exciting and creative music.

The first “Common Ground” concert caused a sensation with a jazz piano trio, a 20-member steel band, and leading-edge music written by several Yale composers for an eclectic instrumental ensemble that included steel pans alongside a rhythm section, winds, and strings. The second “Homegrown on Common Ground” concert on Friday, November 12 at 8 pm in Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Hall (470 College Street) picks up where the first concert left off.

Director of the Duke Ellington Fellowship, Willie Ruff, has invited several of the performers to return as well as the featured guest artist, Ben Allison, the jazz bassist and composer of music for NPR’s “On the Media.” Allison is a native of New Haven who studied music at the Educational Center for the Arts and who played his first professional gigs on the salsa circuit in Connecticut and Massachusetts. He will perform with his band, which includes Jenny Scheinman, violin; Michael Blake, saxophones; Steve Cardenas, guitar; and Rudy Royston, drums. Returning by popular demand is the St. Luke’s Steel Band from New Haven, directed by Deborah Teason, and steel pan virtuoso Andy Akiho. Akiho will again appear with the St. Luke’s Band, as well as with the Yale Steel Band and the Common Ground Ensemble.  Four composer/performers – Andy Akiho (steel pans), Deborah Teason, Samuel Adams (bass), and Paul Kerekes (piano) – have written pieces that will be premiered by this group, which features three pan players in addition to piano, bass, drums, and violin.

“These young musicians are creating some of the most exciting and original music I’ve heard in a long time,” says Ruff. “I think we’re seeing history being made by these composer-performers.”

Tickets to the concert are $12 to $20, $7 with student ID. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit music.yale.edu or call the Yale School of Music concert office at 203 432-4158.

Panel Discussion,  “A Vision for the Future of Music”

The next day, November 13 at 10 am in Sudler Recital Hall, 100 Wall Strett (next door to Sprague Hall), Willie Ruff will be joined by Ben Alliston, Andy Akiho, and several of the other performers of the previous night’s concert in a wide-ranging panel discussion, “A Vision for the Future of Music,” that will explore the future of new music: the most promising trends in creative music-making, the kinds of venues where audiences will hear this music, the ressurgence of the composer-performer, and more. According to Ruff, “The question I intend to ask is, ‘In today’s rapidly changing musical landscape, what kind of tomorrow should the now emerging music makers be preparing for?'” Admission is free. MORE

Published October 20, 2010
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YSM student & alumni composers and Project 440

Andy Akiho '11MM

Several Yale School of Music composers will participate in WXQR’s groundbreaking Project 440, where composers from all over the country will compete for a commission from the world-famous Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in New York City.

Sixty candidates were posted in the month of June, including several YSM alumni and students: Andy Akiho ’11MM, Timothy Andres ’07BA, ’09MM, Judd Greenstein ’04MM, Ted Hearne ’08MMA, Polina Nazaykinskaya ’10MM, Andrew Norman ’09AD,  and John Orfe ’01MM, ’02MMA, ’09DMA.

Two more rounds will reduce the number of candidates from sixty to thirty, and from thirty to twelve; finally, four winners will be chosen in October 2010.

In the meantime, each candidate will have a bio and audio clips posted on the WXQR website, giving home listeners the chance to weigh in on their favorite composers. The final judging will be done by Orpheus, but opinions from the website will be taken into consideration.

Polina Nazaykinskaya ’10MM

With both popular feedback and professional judging, Project 440 is  a celebration of the best of America’s musical talents.

www.wqxr.org/series/project440

Published July 30, 2010
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“Home Grown on Common Ground” concert features local stars

St. Luke’s Steel Band and Christian Sands, along with Yale performers Andy Akiho and friends

St. Luke's Steel Band

For the spring concert on the Ellington Jazz Series, artistic director Willie Ruff has gathered together an unusual array of talent from the New Haven area and Yale University for an exciting program. The concert is called “Home Grown on Common Ground,” and takes place on Friday, April 23, 2010 at 8 pm in Sprague Hall. The cast of local performers includes the remarkable 25-member St. Luke’s Steel Band and the Grammy-nominated jazz pianist Christian Sands with Thadeus Exposé on bass and Arti Dixson on drums. Among the Yale performers is composer and steel pan virtuoso Andy Akiho, who will perform with the St. Luke’s Steel Band and with a large ensemble of woodwind, string, and brass players from the Yale School of Music.

The program will include music by steel pan players Liam Teague and Andy Akiho, Yale graduate composers Sam Adams and Richard Harrold, and the piece Fire Down Below by popular steel pan composer Len “Boogsie” Sharpe. Teague, a native of Trinidad and Tobago who serves on the faculty at Northern Illinois University, has been called “the Paganini of the steel pan.” Akiho is a composer and percussionist who “shreds on the steel pan, defying stereotypes about what kind of music that instrument is intended for” (Hartford Advocate). Akiho, Adams, and Harrold are all students in the Yale School of Music’s graduate program in composition. MORE

Published March 30, 2010
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