Achievements celebrated at annual Honors Dinner

Carol Colburn Grigor, recipient of the Samuel Simons Sanford Award

Left to right: Benjamin Polak, Peter Salovey, Samuel Simons Sanford Award winner Carol Colburn Grigor, and Robert Blocker

The Yale School of Music held its annual Honors Dinner on Sunday, May 7, welcoming students and alumni, faculty and staff, and distinguished guests to the Yale Commons for an evening of celebration. After thanking recently retired staff members for their service and acknowledging the University officers who were in attendance, YSM Dean Robert Blocker presented Carol Colburn Grigor ’69MMA CBE with the School’s highest honor, the Samuel Simons Sanford Award. Grigor, Blocker, said, “is one of America’s most generous … most thoughtful philanthropists.” Composer and former Edinburgh International Festival director Jonathan Mills congratulated Grigor via video.

Willie Ruff, recipient of the Nathan Hale Award

Left to right: Benjamin Polak, Peter Salovey, Nathan Hale Award recipient Willie Ruff, and Robert Blocker

Dean Blocker, with University President Peter Salovey and Yale Provost Benjamin Polak at his side, presented longtime YSM professor Willie Ruff ’53BM ’54MM, who will retire at the end of the semester, with the University’s prestigious Nathan Hale Award. “He’s changed all our lives,” Blocker said, before attendees were shown a video tribute to Ruff’s life and work. In a nod to the man who indirectly inspired him decades ago to study at YSM, Ruff said, “I thank, most of all, Charlie Parker.” The jazz office in the Yale School of Music’s Adams Center for Musical Arts was recently named in Ruff’s honor.

Left to right: Benjamin Polak, Peter Salovey, Ian Mininberg Distinguished Service Award winner Warren Lee, and Robert Blocker

Blocker presented the Ian Mininberg Distinguished Service Award to pianist Warren Lee ’00MM and the Cultural Leadership Citation to retiring Yale Collection of Musical Instruments curator William Nicholas Renouf ’71MMA. The Collection’s director, William Purvis, accepted the Citation on behalf of Renouf, who was unable to attend the Honors Dinner. Before presenting student prizes, Blocker referenced an impressive number of awards and successes earned and realized this year by students, faculty, and staff. He recognized longtime YSM faculty pianist Peter Frankl, who plans to retire in the fall, for his dedication to the School community.

At the end of the evening, Blocker told the students in attendance, “Claim the future. It belongs to you. You will make us better.” What follows is a list of the student prizes awarded during YSM’s 2017 Honors Dinner. MORE

Published May 9, 2017
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[ in the press ]

The sound of music

music-schools16Yale Alumni Magazine | By Christopher Arnott

It’s a Saturday morning. But at Wilbur Cross High School, the joint is jumping.

The school lobby is scattered with violins, cellos, basses, and their respective cases, as a classical ensemble sets up chairs and prepares to rehearse. Down the hall in the school’s band room, a trombonist blows the main melody from “Summertime,” and then a roomful of brass and other instruments chime in, finding their collective way through the Gershwin classic. A glee club is sitting in a different classroom, planning the next practice session. “I gotta go early,” one student says. “I gotta be in college,” says another. This leads to a discussion about responsibility and collaboration.

“Rehearsal is a sacred time,” announces Rubén Rodríguez Ferreira ’11MM, lead teacher of the Music in Schools Initiative. This gentle rejoinder effectively ends the excuses.


Published October 29, 2015
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Yale College Class of 1957 receives award

The Association of Yale Alumni (AYA) recently awarded its Outstanding Class Volunteer Engagement and Leadership Award to the Yale College Class of 1957.

In its citation, AYA praised the Class “for conceiving and funding the Class of ’57 Music Endowment to enable Yale to share its resources in support of music education for urban public school children.” Much of this activity has taken place in close collaboration with the School of Music.

The School of Music has long supported arts education programs in the New Haven Public Schools. These efforts were confirmed and enhanced with the establishment of the Music in Schools Initiative in 2007, thanks to the generous contribution of the 50th reunion class gift by the Yale College Class of 1957.

In recognition of the value of music and arts education in the public schools, these visionary Yale alumni established an endowment to ensure the continuing development of music programs in New Haven.


Published February 6, 2012
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Stephen Adams ’59 awarded Yale Medal

medalAmong the recipients of this year’s Yale Medal is Stephen Adams ’59, a member of the School of Music’s Board of Visitors and a donor whose generosity has transformed the School. The medal will be awarded tonight at the annual Yale Medal dinner.

Inaugurated in 1952, the Yale Medal is the highest award presented by the Association of Yale Alumni and is conferred solely to recognize and honor outstanding individual service to the University. Since its inception, the Yale Medal has been presented to 272 individuals, all of whom not only showed extraordinary devotion to the ideals of the University, but also were conspicuous in demonstrating their support of Yale through extensive, exemplary service on behalf of Yale as a whole or one of its many schools, institutes, or programs. MORE

Published November 19, 2009
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