Violinist Sophia Mockler ’17MM ’18MMA joins the Minnesota Orchestra

Violinist Sophia Mockler ’17MM ’18MMA recently won a position in the second violin section of the Minnesota Orchestra. It was her first professional orchestra audition.

Asked about her preparation for the audition, Mockler, who studied with Ani Kavafian at YSM, talked about the value of position-specific instruction. “Since this was my first orchestral audition, I wanted to get as much help from my mentors as I could before the audition,” she said. “I had the opportunity to work on the excerpts with a string player from the New York Philharmonic, which was invaluable. His suggestions were extremely helpful and specific to the variety of things a jury would be listening for.”

As “extensive” as the audition process was—it was described that way on the Minnesota Orchestra’s website—Mockler found more opportunity in each round to concentrate on musicality. “In the audition I tried to play as musically and imaginatively as possible so that the jury could hear my personality through the screen,” she said. “With each audition round that was added, I continued to focus on being musical, confident, and free.”

While Mockler is excited to begin playing with the orchestra in September, she is most looking forward to getting to better know the ensemble’s musicians, calling them an “outstanding group of people.”

“The sheer level of enthusiasm and encouragement that I felt from everyone in the orchestra during my trial was amazing,” she said, “and I am grateful to play alongside them.”

Published June 25, 2019
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Guest post: baritone Zachary Johnson ’17MM ’18MMA, on performing Opera Scenes

Baritone Zachary Johnson

On a chilly day in February 2015, I walked into Doris Yarick-Cross’ office for my audition interview. Nervous, and very excited, I answered a series of well-thought-out questions about my education, musicianship, and hopes for the future. I remember the interview well, but there will always be one question that sticks out to me: “Can you learn and memorize music quickly?” I answered, sang my audition, and later accepted my position and moved to New Haven the following September. Within the first week of school I was given a large envelope of music for my first production at Yale: Opera Scenes. I was to perform four different roles, in four different opera scenes — two in Italian, one in German, and one in English. I had just over a month to learn the repertoire, work with coaches, and sing the music from memory. I had my work cut out for me, but I thought back to that interview question and knew that this is what is expected from a singer in this program, and I was not going back down.

“Così fan tutte,” 2017

Opera scenes are an incredibly useful venture for singers, especially young singers intending to pursue a career in opera. While teaching us how to learn multiple styles of music in multiple languages at once, they also help us develop the skill of switching gears emotionally, mentally, and physically as we jump from character to character. I can remember transforming from an eccentric, dancing butler to a slow, dim-witted carpenter all in one night. What is unique about the Yale Opera is that the scenes programs are fully costumed and staged, so each snippet of these incredible operas can stand alone and tell their own stories. We get to work with incredibly talented vocal coaches that help us achieve a deeper understanding of the music and text so we are fully prepared to step on stage and bring these stories to life. Strengthening the ability to jump from character to character and language to language is an extremely useful skill for all opera singers, and Opera Scenes is one of the best programs for that. Following our scenes program in the fall, we perform a complete, fully staged production at the Shubert Theatre. The work chosen is usually one we performed a scene from the previous semester, which is an incredibly useful feature of the Yale Opera program. While developing the skill of balancing multiple roles is important, diving into an entire role and being able to understand the growth and trajectory of a single character is equally as vital for a young singer. the Yale Opera provides its singers with opportunities for both, and you will finish this program with a quicker mind, a thicker resume, and the skills you will absolutely need to balance the multifaceted workload of a professional opera singer.

“Don Quichotte,” 2016

In my third year here at the Yale School of Music, I still think back to that interview. I think back to that question. I will admit, in February 2015, that my answer lacked confidence. I was unsure if I possessed what it takes to be an opera singer. If you were to ask me the same question today, another chilly day, in November 2017, I would smile, think back on the incredible amount of opportunities I have been given in this program to develop as a singer, a musician, and a human being, and give you the most confident “Yes.”

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE NOV. 3 & 4 FALL OPERA SCENES PROGRAMS

Published November 2, 2017
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Conductor Dante Anzolini named music director of Orquesta Sinfónica de Guayaquil

Photo by Sarah Wilson

Conductor Dante Santiago Anzolini ’89MM ’97DMA has been appointed music director of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Guayaquil, in Ecuador. Anzolini is the subject of a March 1 blog post (“How to Choose a Music Director Without Talking to Agents”) on Norman Lebrecht’s website, Slipped Disc. Lebrecht’s blog post details the compelling and rather straightforward process by which the OSG chose Anzolini from an initial group of nearly 100 applicants. Every member of the orchestra in Guayaquil was involved in the selection process.

Anzolini was one of five conductors to be invited to conduct the orchestra in a three-hour rehearsal. He is enthused about leading the group, whose “potential,” he said, “is bigger than even they think.” Anzolini is no stranger to capable ensembles, having conducted such orchestras as the Vienna Symphony, German Opera on the Rhine, Bonn Opera, Munich Symphony Orchestra, Beethoven Orchester Bonn, American Composers Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and the Washington National Opera, among others.

Anzolini recently paid a visit to the Yale School of Music, where he studied with Eleazar de Carvalho.

“When he saw that I was serious,” Anzolini said, “he offered me lessons every day,” explaining that “if it wasn’t for Yale, I would not be a conductor.”

SLIPPED DISC

DANTE ANZOLINI

Published March 31, 2017
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