Convocation 2017 defines YSM as place for “Music Among Friends”

School of Music Dean Robert Blocker often describes music as “the currency of hope” and has long championed the School’s commitment to inclusivity and diversity. That commitment was reiterated emphatically on Thursday night in his 2017 Convocation speech, “Music Among Friends,” in which he celebrated “courage, inclusivity and diversity, connectedness, tolerance and respect, and compassion.” Upon its founding, he said, “the School of Music opened wide its doors and heart to all those who brought their gifts of talent and intellectual curiosity to campus.” Today, Blocker pointed out, the School stands in solidarity with those whose place in our community hangs in the balance.

“All of us bring anxieties, concerns, and even fears about the human condition to this room tonight,” he told new and returning students, faculty, staff, alumni, and guests, “for we live in a time in which human dignity and indeed humanity are being assaulted throughout the world. Nothing, I think, is as incomprehensible and unimaginable as the vengeful rescindment of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, known as DACA. Now, these young people we call Dreamers live with fear rather than hope. This action touches our community profoundly because we are witnesses to the deep grief and stressful uncertainty these Dreamers and their families suddenly face. I do believe reasonable and compassionate leaders among us hear and feel the anguished cries of Dreamers and that they, with our encouragement and support, will find a way to keep their American dream alive.”

Connecting YSM’s values to its mission, Blocker said, “music teaches us that every voice is distinct and important, that each is necessary for harmony, and that is precisely why we know that our combined voices will help repair our troubled world.”

Following University Provost Benjamin Polak’s installation of the incoming class, whose members come from five continents, 25 countries, 26 states, and 58 institutions, Convocation attendees sang Schubert’s An die Musik (with Franz von Schober’s text, as translated by YSM faculty bass-baritone Richard Cross), as is School tradition. Blocker then delivered his remarks before introducing the faculty, alumni, and current students who performed as part of the ceremony.

Violinist Daniel S. Lee ’06MM ’08AD, a newly appointed faculty member in early music whose ensemble, The Sebastians, is in residence at the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments, performed Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber’s Sonata No. 3 in F major, C. 140 (from Sonatae, violino solo) with faculty harpsichordist Arthur Haas. Bass-baritone Dashon Burton ’11MM sang “Grosser Herr, o starker König,” from Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248, and “Mache dich, mein Herze rein,” from the St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244, with pianist David Fung ’11MM ’13MMA ’17DMA. And violinist Sirena Huang ’19AD performed Tchaikovsky’s Valse-Scherzo, Op. 34, with pianist Lam Wong ’18MM.

The performances added punctuation to Blocker’s remarks, which concluded with him telling members of the incoming class that “here at YSM, you will experience fully the gift that is ‘Music Among Friends,’ and encouraging all in attendance, referencing a favorite story about Robert Louis Stevenson, to “take hope, and make holes in the dark with the beauty and light of your music.”

Photos by Harold Shapiro

Published September 8, 2017
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[ concerts ]

Arthur Haas and friends perform chamber works on period instruments Jan. 30

Arthur HaasThe Faculty Artist Series at the Yale School of Music presents a recital featuring harpsichordist Arthur Haas on Saturday, January 30 at 7:30 pm. Haas will be joined by Yale alumnus Daniel S. Lee on Baroque violin, as well as by Sang Joon Park, Baroque flute, and Martha McGaughey, viola da gamba.

The program, entitled Crossing the Rhine, will showcase early 18th-century chamber music from France and Germany, including selections by Rameau, Couperin, Telemann, and Bach. MORE

Published January 7, 2016
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The Glorious Year 1685: Arthur Haas in recital Jan. 21

Arthur HaasThe Faculty Artist Series at the Yale School of Music presents harpsichordist Arthur Haas in a solo recital on Wednesday, January 21 at 7:30 pm.

1685 had far-reaching consequences for the history of music. Three of the most distinguished Baroque musicians and composers were born that year: Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frederic Handel, and Domenico Scarlatti. This recital will celebrate these composers’ birth year with Handel’s Suite in E Major, three sonatas by Scarlatti, and Bach’s Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue.

In addition, Haas will perform music written in or around 1685 by Henry Purcell, Bernardo Pasquini, and Jean-Henri D’Anglebert. These composers comprise the first half of the program, with Purcell’s Suite in G minor, Z. 661; three pieces in G minor by Pasquini; and D’Anglebert’s Transcriptions de Lully. MORE

Published January 15, 2015
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[ concerts ]

Arthur Haas performs harpsichord music of Jean-Philippe Rameau

Arthur Haas

The Yale School of Music’s Faculty Artist Series presents American harpsichordist Arthur Haas, a world-renowned performer and scholar of French Baroque music, in a concert of works by Jean-Philippe Rameau on Saturday, February 1st at 5 pm. The concert takes place in Morse Recital Hall, located in Sprague Hall at 470 College Street.

A member of the YSM faculty, Arthur Haas is an authority on the music of Rameau; he recently recorded the composer’s complete harpsichord works for Plectra Records. He has also been praised by Le Monde for his interpretations of French keyboard music. This concert will feature selections from Rameau’s three books of keyboard pieces (written in 1706, 1724, and 1728), as well as the standalone piece La Dauphine  (1747). MORE

Published January 28, 2014
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[ in the press ]

Arthur Haas and Webb Wiggins Keep It Original

Harmonia Early Music
Arthur Haas
By Janelle Davis

One of the most intriguing things about early keyboard instruments, and original period instruments in general, is their lack of standardization. Of course, every instrument—modern, folk, period, traditional—has its own personality. But instrument personality is especially apparent in the many makes and models of keyboard instruments of the bygone eras–each bearing characteristics further defined by national lines: German harpsichords were different than French harpsichords which were different still from Italian and English models. These keyboards also evolved incredibly fast resulting in instruments each with a unique “user interface”  and with distinctive subtleties of touch, action, timbre and sound.


Published January 17, 2014
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Arthur Haas performs keyboard music by Rameau and others May 8

Recital also includes music by Corelli, Geoffroy, and Alessandro Scarlatti

haas_arthurAmerican harpsichordist Arthur Haas, renowned worldwide for his performances of French baroque and contemporary music, will perform at the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments on Wednesday, May 8 at 5:30 pm. Haas is a member of the Yale School of Music faculty.

Titled “Oh! The Things You Will See: Rameau Goes South”, the concert will feature early works by Jean-Philippe Rameau, one of the leading French composers of his time, and follows him in his travels southward to Italy, a country represented by composers such as Alessandro Scarlatti, who was best known for his operas.

Jean-Phillipe Rameau was one of the most influential Baroque composers of the eighteenth century. He was the leading French composer of opera and harpsichord music of his time. Initially, his revolutionary use of harmony was attacked by more traditional musical consumers; by the 1750s, however, Rameau was criticised in an incident known as the “Querelle des Bouffons,” in which those who favored Italian opera viciously attacked him as an “establishment” composer.

The concert will also include an 18th-century harpsichord transcription of one of Arcangelo Corelli’s Concerti Grossi, as well as the Suite in G minor by French composer Jean-Nicolas Geoffroy. Known for his inventive harmonies, Geoffroy was author of the largest collection of harpsichord music of 17th-century France.

Admission to the performance is free, but reservations are suggested due to limited space; the public should call 203-432-0822 to reserve seats. The Yale Collection of Musical Instruments is located at 15 Hillhouse Ave, New Haven.

This concert will stream LIVE online at

For more information, visit or contact the Collection of Musical Instruments at 203-432-0822. MORE

Published April 22, 2013
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Yale Collection of Musical Instruments opens concert season with “Crossing the Rhine” Sep. 23

“Extraordinary elegance.”  –The Berkshire Review

The Yale Collection of Musical Instruments opens its 2012–2013 concert season on Sunday, September 23 with “Crossing the Rhine,” a concert of 18th-century music from France and Germany featuring the acclaimed trio of Wieland Kuijken, viola da gamba; Eva Legêne, recorder; and Arthur Haas, harpsichord.

Reviewing a performance by the trio in The Berkshire Review, Seth Lachterman wrote: “Nothing… could have prepared me for the extraordinary elegance of today’s recital with renowned gambist Wieland Kuijken, recorder virtuoso Eva Legêne, and harpsichordist Arthur Haas.”

The Yale Collection of Musical Instruments, one of the foremost institutions of its kind, preserves and exhibits musical instruments from antiquity to the present. Many instruments are maintained in playing condition and are featured in performances and demonstrations in the fine acoustic of the upstairs gallery, the venue for this performance.

The concert begins at 3 pm at the Collection, which is located at 15 Hillhouse Avenue. Tickets are $20, $15 for seniors, and $10 for students. For more information, call the Yale School of Music concert office at 203 432-4158 or visit

About the Performers

Belgian musician Wieland Kuijken is a player of the viola da gamba and baroque cello. MORE

Published September 7, 2012
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William Christie leads the Yale Philharmonia in all-Handel concert

Feb. 25 concert also features harpsichordist Arthur Haas, new Yale Choral Artists

The Yale School of Music presents guest conductor William Christie in an all-Handel concert on Saturday, February 25. Christie, a graduate of the School of Music and the founder of the acclaimed early music ensemble Les Arts Florissants, returns to Yale to lead the Yale Philharmonia and the new Yale Choral Artists in a program dedicated to the music of George Frideric Handel.

The renowned keyboard player Arthur Haas will play harpsichord and organ. The four members of the Yale Baroque Ensemble, a post-graduate ensemble dedicated to historical performance practice, will be the orchestra’s principal string players for this concert.

The concert opens with Handel’s stately overture to the oratorio Solomon and continues with the Funeral Anthem for Queen Caroline, The Ways of Zion Do Mourn. The second half of the concert features the Concerto Grosso in G minor, Op. 6, No. 6, HWV 324. The Yale Choral Artists re-join the orchestra to conclude the concert with the celebratory Coronation Anthem No. 3: The King Shall Rejoice.

The New Yorker wrote that Christie’s “position in the world of early music is not unlike that of Zeus in a Baroque-opera production, gliding over the mortals in a bright chariot.” The Guardian notes that Christie’s contributions to early music have seen him “honored by academia, critics, the public and the French state.” MORE

Published February 1, 2012
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