Yale in New York concert celebrates YSM’s guitar and composition programs

Ben Verdery

Benjamin Verdery

In programming Music for Guitars, an upcoming Yale in New York series concert at Carnegie Hall, faculty guitarist Benjamin Verdery reflected on a November 2010 program that featured music by a host of Yale-affiliated composers. That program, by design, celebrated the legacies of the School of Music’s composition and guitar programs.

Verdery also reflected, in curating the upcoming Yale in New York program, on inspiration he found, a little more than 10 years ago, at the Rhode Island School of Design. Verdery’s son was applying to the school, whose application requirements included drawing a bicycle or some element thereof. Accepted students’ illustrations were on view when Verdery brought his son to Providence to visit the school. “It was mind-bending,” Verdery said.

“I’m going to have my friends write a piece of music—just the notes, the pitches and the rhythms,” without tempo or dynamic indications, he decided. Since then, each year, prospective School of Music students applying to study with Verdery have been required to learn and perform, as part of their audition, a piece written by one of Verdery’s colleagues, along with other repertoire. Like RISD’s bicycle-drawing admissions requirement, the commissioned audition pieces leave room for interpretation, giving Verdery some insight into the ability and creativity of prospective students.

Those who have been commissioned by Verdery to compose audition pieces, over the course of the past decade, include former YSM Dean and Prof. of Music Ezra Laderman, faculty composers Martin Bresnick and Christopher Theofanidis; Lecturer in Electronic Music Jack Vees; YSM alumni Bryce Dessner, James Moore, and Brendon Randall-Myers; Yale University Department of Music Prof. Kathryn Alexander; and current composition student Tanner Porter, among others. Audition pieces by the above-mentioned musicians will be showcased as part of Music for Guitars, the third and final concert in the 2018-2019 Yale in New York series. The concert will feature Verdery and current School of Music students and alumni, including René Izquierdo.

The program also includes works by Hindemith (who taught at the School of Music), Mudarra, and Terry Riley; arrangements of music by Bach, Scarlatti, and Schubert; and world premieres of James Moore’s Turning and Verdery’s arrangement, for guitar and string quartet, of Bernstein’s Sonata for Clarinet and Piano. Izquierdo will perform Turning, which was this year’s YSM guitar audition piece. Verdery will perform the Bernstein with violinists Kate Arndt and Gregory Lewis, violist Marta Lambert, and cellist Guilherme Monegatto-all current YSM students.

The repertoire for the program reaches back to 16th century composer Alonso Mudarra’s fantasias for vihuela—which will be played on an instrument from the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments—and visits music composed since then and up to the present. The program also taps into the arranging chops of the guitarists who’ll be performing. It’s something “all of us in the world of guitar do,” Verdery said.

“There’s a lot of color and expression of what the guitar is,” Verdery said of the program. There will also be a lot of virtuosity on display—and, like the 2010 program, of which it’s a musical extension, many connections to the School of Music.

The School of Music’s Yale in New York series presents Music for Guitars on Friday, March 29, at 7:30 p.m., at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. A preview concert is scheduled for Thursday, March 28, at 4:30 p.m., in Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Memorial Hall. Admission to the preview concert is free.


Published March 20, 2019
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Szymon Nehring wins Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition

Szymon Nehring. Photo by Piotr Markowski

Incoming YSM artist diploma candidate Szymon Nehring was named the first prize-winner of the 15th Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition in Tel Aviv, Israel. In addition to winning the Arthur Rubinstein Award (Gold Medal), Nehring won the Best Performer of a Chopin Piece, Advanced Studies, and Junior Jury prizes, as well as the Audience Favorite in the Periphery prizes for Or Yehuda and Jezrael Valley. In addition to earning $49,000 in cash awards, Nehring will perform numerous recitals as part of a concert tour organized by the Arthur Rubinstein International Music Society, which administers the competition. One of those performances, on October 26, will take place in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. MORE

Published May 16, 2017
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Argus Quartet wins Senior Strings division of M-Prize competition

The Argus Quartet, left to right: cellist Jo Whang ’09MM, violist Dana Kelley, violinist Jason Issokson, and violinist Clara Kim

The Argus Quartet, YSM’s fellowship quartet-in-residence, has been named the first place winner in the Senior Strings division of the University of Michigan’s M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition. In addition to a cash prize of $20,000, the quartet will return to the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance for a residency during the 2017-18 academic year.

Now in its second year, the M-Prize seeks “to identify and showcase the highest caliber of international chamber arts ensembles,” according to the competition’s website. In addition to distributing more than $200,000 of cash prizes (an increase from last year) the M-Prize provides competition winners with platforms for professional development and performance opportunities.

This year, 29 applicants were selected to compete as semifinalists for the grand prize in Michigan. The ensembles, which are made up of 112 artists from seven countries, were selected from an pool of more than 100 ensembles representing 41 countries. In addition to increased prize coffers, this year’s competition featured an interview round during which each of the senior division winners (strings, winds, and other) were asked to advocate on behalf of their ensemble’s repertoire and program plan.

Having been praised by the Calgary Herald for its “supreme melodic control and total authority,” the Argus Quartet is quickly gaining a reputation as one of today’s most dynamic and versatile young ensembles.


Published May 10, 2017
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Seolyeong Jeong takes third-prize at inaugural New York Piano Competition

JeongYale School of Music student Seolyeong Jeong MM ’17 collected two top prizes at the inaugural New York Piano Competition, winning the award for Best Performance of a 20th Century Composition, as well as third-prize overall in her age group. For the competition, 12 winners were selected from a pool of 30 candidates in two categories: ages 12-17 and 18-25.

The competition, organized by the New York Piano Festival and led by founder and artistic director Alexander Beridze, distributed more than $20,000 in awards and scholarships. Beridze spoke of the excitement surrounding the competition in a recent press-release, saying, “For us this has been the most amazing year to date. After seven years of running a festival we launched a Piano Competition … and right away received over 100 entries from all 14 different countries.” The jury for the competition was comprised of eight internationally renowned pianists, including Yale’s own Arthur Haas.

Seolyeong’s third-place result earned her a slot at this evening’s winner’s concert, presented in the famed Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, as well as a cash prize of $1,000. To get to this stage, Jeong had to pass through two rounds of competition, including a video round and a live round in New York. Each stage involved performing a demanding range of repertoire, including six separate works ranging from the Baroque to the 20th century. For the live round, Seolyeong performed Robert Schumann’s Piano Sonata No. 1 in F-sharp Minor, Op.11; Igor Stravinsky’s The Firebird Suite, arranged by Guido Agosti; and Tai-Bong Chung’s Sungnyemun.  MORE

Published July 1, 2016
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[ students & alumni ]

Diomedes Saraza Jr. to make Carnegie Hall debut

dio_saraza10_large_2Violinist Diomedes Saraza Jr. ’17 MMA will make his Carnegie Hall debut on June 18th, 2016. Saraza will perform the Sibelius Violin Concerto with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, who will also be making their Carnegie Hall debut, under the baton of Olivier Ochanine.

The concert aims to bring pride to Filipinos living in the United States, and to celebrate the Filipino spirit through music. Proceeds from the concert will be given to the Philippine Disaster Relief Corporation to assist with the organization’s housing projects. MORE

Published May 31, 2016
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[ students & alumni ]

Richard Dowling ’87 MM to give Carnegie Hall recitals featuring music of Scott Joplin

Pianist and YSM alumnus Richard Dowling ’87 MM will perform the Complete Piano Works of famous ragtime composer Scott Joplin in two consecutive recitals at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. The April 1, 2017 concerts will celebrate the composer on the 100th anniversary of his death in New York. Dowling is the first pianist in to undertake the complete works of Joplin in a public performance.

Dowling will also release a multi-CD set of the cycle on Rivermont Records; the forthcoming album is set to be released in the Fall of 2016. In addition to the Carnegie recitals, Dowling plans to take his all-Joplin program on the road, embarking on a tour across the United States.

About Richard Dowling

Hailed by The New York Times as “an especially impressive fine pianist,” Richard Dowling appears regularly across the United States in solo recitals, at chamber music and jazz/ragtime festivals, and as a guest soloist with orchestra. Career highlights include a sold-out New York orchestral debut at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, a solo recital at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, and a special award from the National Federation of Music Clubs in recognition of his outstanding performances of American Music. Dowling is also a versatile recording artist with over a dozen CDs of classical, chamber, ragtime, jazz, and popular music to his name.


Published May 6, 2016
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Seminole Trombone Quartet makes Carnegie Hall debut May 6

STQYSM alumni Stephen Ivany ’14 MM and Christopher Brown ’14 AD are set to make their Carnegie Hall debut with their ensemble Seminole Trombone Quartet on May 6 at 8 pm. The program, which takes place in Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, features a world premiere by John Mackey alongside some of the best of the trombone quartet literature including works by Bach, Debussy, Koetsier, and more. The group will also be joined onstage by Ivany and Brown’s former teacher, YSM trombone professor Scott Hartman. STQ earned this prestigious performance opportunity by winning the recent “Noles in NYC” campaign.


Published April 29, 2016
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Argus Quartet performs at Carnegie Hall

Argus Quartet

Argus Quartet

The Argus Quartet, current fellowship quartet-in-residence at the Yale School of Music, will perform at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall on April 15. The concert is part of the Kronos Quartet’s weeklong workshop for young professional string quartets to explore new works. These works are commissioned as part of Fifty for the Future: The Kronos Learning Repertoire, a major commissioning initiative devoted to the most contemporary approaches to the string quartet. The workshop culminates in the Zankel Hall performance, which also features selections from one of Kronos’ signature works, Terry Riley’s Salome Dances for Peace.

In addition to the Riley, the concert includes music by Fodé Lassana Diabaté, Garth Knox, and Wu Man, and the Friction and Ligeti Quartets will also perform.


(Buy one ticket and get the second one free with code KRO23736*. Doors open one hour early, and the first 200 concertgoers receive a voucher for a free drink.)


Published April 12, 2016
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Chang Pan and Ronaldo Rolim to Perform at Carnegie Hall

pan rolimTwo Yale School of Music students, cellist Chang Pan and pianist Ronaldo Rolim, will perform at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall on February 3, 2016 at 7:30 pm. Both have appeared worldwide as soloists, recitalists, and chamber musicians, and will perform music ranging from Northern Europe to Asia.

The program will begin with Manuel de Falla’s Suite popular Española, a collection of seven Spanish folk songs originally written for voice and piano. The duo will then turn their attention to music of the French with one of César Franck’s best-known compositions, his Violin Sonata in A Major. The concert will proceed with music from China, starting with Festival Tianshan for cello solo by Wentao Jiang and Ling Cao, and will conclude with Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg’s largest chamber work, his Cello Sonata in A Minor, Op. 36. MORE

Published January 26, 2016
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Flutist Ginevra Petrucci ’12MM, ’13AD debuts at Carnegie Hall

petrucci_ginevraGinevra Petrucci ’12MM, “13AD, flute, will give her debut recital at Carnegie Hall with pianist Bruno Canino on November 21, 2013 at 8:00 pm in Weill Recital Hall. The program includes music by Gabriel Pierné, Sigfrid Karg Elert, Leonardo De Lorenzo, Jean Michel Damase, and YSM composer Daniel Schlosberg. MORE

Published October 29, 2013
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