YSM Alumni News | November 2018

Molly Joyce. Photo by Nadine Sherman

Flutist Amanda Baker ’00MM returned to Yale in April 2018 to become Senior Associate Director for Young Alumni for the Yale Alumni Fund. She was also a guest lecturer this spring at the University of Hartford, where she taught “Entrepreneurship in the Arts,” and continues to teach flute at Eastern Connecticut State University.

Double Bassist Mark Elliot Bergman ’97MM received a Performing Arts Fellowship in Music from the Wyoming Arts Council, one of four recipients in the state. Bergman’s winning original compositions include Ondine, The Temple, and Shenandoah Suite, a string trio commemorating the 75th anniversary of the founding of Shenandoah National Park.

Violist Emily Grace Brandenburg ’17MMA was named Administrative Assistant at the McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University in Macon, Ga. MORE

Published November 7, 2018
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Willie Ruff retires having given “conservatory without walls” a home at Yale

By Lucile Bruce

Willie Ruff

Willie Ruff was born in 1931 in Sheffield, Alabama, a rural town on the south side of the Tennessee River. As a child, he showed an aptitude for music and immersed himself in the musical resources of his community. A neighborhood boy shared his drum set with young Willie and they became lifelong friends. The pianist at church became his piano teacher. But the best music he heard was the drumming in the African Pentecostal church half a block from his house. “We would sit on the ground outside the church and listen to the people playing those drums,” Ruff recalled. “It was the most exciting, the most moving music. I heard them in my sleep.”

Across the river from Sheffield stands Florence, the hometown of W.C. Handy, the “Father of the Blues.” Handy visited Ruff ’s elementary school classroom, played for the children, and accompanied their singing. “W.C. Handy was a big presence in my world,” Ruff recounted. “When I saw him on stage in my school, talking about the importance of our musical heritage, I said, ‘I want to do that.’ I think I have.” MORE

Published May 1, 2017
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Jiyeon “Jiji” Kim, Samuel Suggs take top honors at Concert Artists Guild competition

Jiyeon "Jiji" Kim and Samuel Suggs

Jiyeon “Jiji” Kim and Samuel Suggs

Guitarist Jiyeon “Jiji” Kim ’17MM has won the Victor and Sono Elmaleh First Prize at the Concert Artists Guild’s 2016 Victor Elmaleh Competition and double bassist Samuel Suggs ’14MM ’20DMA has been named the organization’s New Music/New Places Fellow. Each will receive a management contract from the Concert Artists Guild and will be presented in recital in New York City. Kim also earned a $5,000 cash award.

The final round of the competition took place on October 27 at Merkin Concert Hall at the Kaufman Music Center in New York City and was judged by an eight-person jury.

Steven Shaiman, the Concert Artists Guild’s senior vice president and director of artist management, said Kim’s “musical skill and talent combined with [her] overall stage presence and persona as an artist who has real potential for a career” factored into her success at the competition.

“Sam also stood out as a unique artist worthy of having the opportunity to develop what he’s doing,” Shaiman said. The Concert Artists Guild’s New Music/New Places program, Shaiman said, was devised a little more than 10 years ago to help develop artists’ unique visions and to bring those visions into “non-traditional venues” such as bars, clubs, cabarets, and art galleries.

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Published November 2, 2016
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[ students & alumni ]

Samuel S. Suggs appointed Assistant Professor of Bass at James Madison University

suggs_bwCurrent doctoral student and YSM alumnus Samuel S. Suggs ’14 MM, will join the faculty of James Madison University School of Music as Assistant Professor of Bass; his appointment will begin in fall 2016.

Suggs’ impressive list of recent accomplishments includes a feature as Musical America’s Artist of the Month (October, 2015) and a first-place win at the 2015 International Society of Bassists Solo Competition. He is the only bassist to win the Beijing International Music Festival Competition and was the youngest principal bassist of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.

 

MORE ABOUT SAMUEL

MUSICAL AMERICA ARTICLE

Published May 2, 2016
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[ in the press ]

Samuel Suggs named Musical America’s New Artist of the Month

suggs_bwAt this year’s biennial International Society of Bassists Convention in June Fort Collins, CO, the solo competition boasted its usual share of top flight talent from around the globe, providing ample evidence (if any is needed) that the standards of double bass playing continue to soar. The prize winners were all outstanding virtuosos, but the winner of the Gary Karr Prize for first place wooed the judges not only on the strength of his playing, but also with creative programming that managed to adhere to the competition requirements while drawing unexpected connections between works.

Sam Suggs is a 25-year-old DMA candidate at Yale University, pursuing studies in double bass, yet boasting a range of interests that go far beyond mere regurgitations of the standards. Competition chairman Paul Sharpe described the attributes that ultimately tipped the scales in Suggs’s favor. “It was his innovation in both repertoire and programming that engaged the audience and then kept our full attention for the duration. Artistry by itself is great. But, innovation and artistry together create momentum and progression.” MORE

Published October 1, 2015
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