This young rising star from Philly just got the call-up of a lifetime

Kensho Watanabe

The Philadelphia Inquirer | By David Patrick Stearns

Kensho Watanabe can barely fathom the turn of events that found him on stage leading the Philadelphia Orchestra last weekend — with three hours’ notice.

 “I know what happened,” Watanabe said in an interview this week. “But my brain is still processing it.”

Surreal is one word that comes to mind, he said. Watanabe was notified at 5 p.m. Saturday that music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin had come down with a virus and could not conduct the 8 p.m. program at the Kimmel Center.

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Published June 29, 2017
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Inside YSM: David Yi, conductor

David Yi

On Friday, February 24, 2017, YSM conducting fellow David Yi led the Yale Philharmonia and student pianist Vyacheslav Gryaznov in a performance of Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Ravel’s “Le tombeau de Couperin,” and Brahms’ Symphony No. 3.

Asked when he became interested in conducting, David said, “I first started with the piano and then played the violin. For some reason, I always wanted to become a conductor, ever since I was a child. I always loved playing in the orchestra as a violinist/pianist. There is something great about making music with a large group of people. As a conductor, nothing is more satisfying than the moment when I realize that we are making music together.” 

In addition to his studies with Yale Philharmonia principal conductor Peter Oundjian, David’s approach to leading an orchestra has been shaped by several other notable conductors.

“Hugh Wolff at the New England Conservatory had a huge influence on my approach to score study,” David said. “Nicolás Pasquet at the Franz Liszt Conservatory in Germany helped with physical conducting. I had an opportunity to study with Riccardo Muti. He emphasized the importance of showing drama through music.”

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Published March 24, 2017
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Farkhad Khudyev wins third prize in Solti International Conducting Competition

Farkhad KhudyevFarkhad Khudyev ’10MM was named the third prize-winner in the 8th annual Sir Georg Solti International Conducting Competition on February 16, 2017. Khudyev was one of 22 aspiring young composers selected from a pool of nearly 300 applicants to participate in the live rounds of the competition, and his 3rd place finish earned him the opportunity to conduct the Frankfurt Radio Symphony in addition to cash prizes.

“It felt incredible conducting one of the best orchestras in Europe and performing for the German audience,” Khudyev said. “I could strongly feel the traditions and the culture of the orchestra.”

Khudyev’s performance of Weber’s Oberon Overture in the final round was praised by the Frankfurter Neue Presse as “graceful, very sensitive, with almost magically bright winds.”

Khudyev has been the recipient of the “Best Interpretation Prize” at the 1st International Taipei Conducting Competition in Taiwan, the Grand Prize and Gold Medal at the 2007 National Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, and the recipient of the Glenn Miller Competition Prize and the Neil Rabaut Prize. He has performed around the United States, Europe and Asia at world-class venues and festivals including the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Emilia Romagna Festival in Italy, the Alte Oper Great Hall and the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festpiele in Germany. MORE

Published March 23, 2017
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Christoph Campestrini appointed Kapellmeister of Vienna’s Hofkapelle

Christoph Campestrini

Christoph Campestrini

Yale School of Music alumnus Christoph Campestrini ’92MM has been appointed Kapellmeister at Vienna’s Hofkapelle, home of the Vienna Boys’ Choir. With the appointment, Campestrini joins the ranks of the historically important and influential musicians who have been members of the Hofkapelle. He will lead the famed Hofmusikkapelle, which includes the Vienna Boys’ Choir and members of the Vienna State Opera orchestra and chorus.

“Being aware of the 500-year tradition of this institution that included Joseph Haydn, Franz Schubert, and Anton Bruckner is a humbling experience and at the same time requires a commitment for the highest excellence,” he said. “In addition to my work in Europe, I also look forward to continuing to come to the United States and Canada several times every season and renewing cultural ties that go back to my time at the Yale School of Music, of which I have only the best memories.”

Campestrini has worked with such internationally acclaimed artists as Gidon Kremer, Julian Rachlin, Alisa Weilerstein, Lang Lang, and Julia Fischer and has led many of the world’s renowned orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, the radio orchestras of Moscow, Frankfurt, Budapest, and Vienna, and the national orchestras of Mexico and Taiwan, among others. He appears regularly as a guest conductor in the United States and Canada, having led the Philadelphia Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra (Ottawa), Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, and Orchestra Métropolitain in Montreal.

Born in Linz, Austria, Campestrini studied at The Juilliard School and the Yale School of Music.

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Published July 20, 2016
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Kensho Watanabe appointed assistant conductor of Philadelphia Orchestra

Kensho Watanabe

Kensho Watanabe

Kensho Watanabe ’09BS ’10MM has been appointed assistant conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, where he’ll serve under acclaimed Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Watanabe studied conducting with Otto-Werner Mueller at the Curtis Institute of Music, earning a Diploma in 2013. As the school’s first Rita E. Hauser Conducting Fellow, Watanabe was mentored for two years by Nézet-Séguin and had “incredible access” to the Philadelphia Orchestra, with which he’s worked as a substitute violinist. Watanabe has directed numerous Curtis Opera Theatre productions and served as an assistant to Nézet-Séguin for Opera de Montréal’s 2015 production of Elektra.

Watanabe studied molecular, cell, and developmental biology at Yale College, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in 2009. He earned his master’s degree in violin from the Yale School of Music, where he studied, as he had as an undergraduate, with Syoko Aki.

“Being at Yale really sparked my interest in conducting,” Watanabe said, citing Yale Symphony Orchestra Music Director Toshiyuki Shimada, whom he assisted as an undergraduate, as a particularly supportive figure.

The summer after completing his undergraduate degree, and in the summers of 2010 and 2011, Watanabe studied with Michael Jinbo at the Pierre Monteux School and Summer Music Festival, where his interest in conducting took hold and led him to Mueller’s studio at Curtis.

In addition to his work with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Watanabe’s upcoming schedule includes appearances with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, San Diego Symphony Orchestra, Alabama Symphony Orchestra, and Orchestra Métropolitain in Montreal.

Looking forward to his work in Philadelphia, Watanabe said, “I’ve really grown up with this orchestra. I’ve learned so much from this orchestra.”

Watanabe’s appointment begins with the 2016-2017 Philadelphia Orchestra season.

Published July 19, 2016
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[ students & alumni ]

Dominick DiOrio promoted to tenured Associate Professor at Indiana University

diorioConductor Dominick DiOrio ’08 MM, 09′ MMA, ’12 DMA was recently promoted to the tenured rank of Associate Professor of Music in choral conducting at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. At age 31, he is the youngest member of the school’s conducting faculty to achieve this rank.

Additionally, DiOrio was selected by the American Choral Directors Association (ADCA) to participate in their International Conductors Exchange Program with Sweden, where he gave a presentation on new choral music at the Nordic Choral Conference in Malmö alongside fellow YSM alumna Kimberly Dunn Adams ’05 MM. They will repeat this presentation at the 11th World Symposium on Choral Music, held in Barcelona, Spain in July, 2017. MORE

Published May 18, 2016
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[ in the press ]

William Christie appointed OAE Emeritus conductor

William Christie

William Christie

classical-music.com |By Elinor Cooper

The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment have added American conductor William Christie ’69 MM to their prestigious list of Emeritus conductors.

The OAE have never had a permanent conductor, rejecting the usual hierarchy of an orchestra in favour of a democratic set up.

Conductors are instead invited to perform by members of the orchestra, which allows the OAE to take advantage of a huge range of expertise. MORE

Published January 28, 2016
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[ faculty ]

Peter Oundjian Named Principal Conductor of Yale Philharmonia

oundjian3

The Yale School of Music is pleased to announce that conductor Peter Oundjian has been named the principal conductor of the Yale Philharmonia, continuing his nearly 35-year affiliation with the School. Mr. Oundjian will conduct three concerts every year with the Yale Philharmonia and will help shape the artistic identity of the orchestra, including close involvement with the selection of guest conductors and repertoire.

Maestro Oundjian will be a major addition to the orchestral conducting program at the School. This program, which will admit one conductor this year, includes performances with the Yale Philharmonia and New Music New Haven in Sprague and Woolsey Halls, as well as opportunities to work with Maestro Oundjian and the guest conductors of the Yale Philharmonia, which in recent years have included Valery Gergiev, Yu Long, Hu Yongyan, Jahja Ling, and James Conlon, among many others. Maestro Oundjian will join colleagues in the admissions process and collaborate in providing a comprehensive curriculum for the conducting program. MORE

Published November 13, 2015
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[ faculty in the press ]

Neighborhood Music School’s Youth Orchestra names new conductor

Thomas DuffyNew Haven Register | June 25

Neighborhood Music School’s Greater New Haven Youth Orchestra has named its new conductor.

Thomas C. Duffy, professor of music and director of university bands at Yale University will succeed Netta Hadari, who served as conductor of the Youth Orchestra for the past five years, according to a release from the school.

“What an honor to be invited to be the next in a long line of distinguished conductors of the Greater New Haven Youth Orchestra,” Duffy said in the release. “For most of my life I have enjoyed conducting professional and academic orchestras and wind bands all over the world. But there is something special about the process of introducing pre-college musicians to the challenges and delights of performing major repertoire — Beethoven, Brahms, Stravinsky, Elgar, Britten and others — for the very first time.” MORE

Published July 2, 2015
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[ alumni ]

San Diego Symphony appoints Kensho Watanabe its inaugural conducting fellow

kensho-watanabeThe San Diego Symphony announced Wednesday that Kensho Watanabe ’09 BS, ’10 MM will serve in the new role of conducting fellow. Sameer Patel will be the orchestra’s new assistant conductor.

Jahja Ling ’80 MMA, ’85 DMA, who has been the music director of the San Diego Symphony, plans to step down at the end of the 2016–2017 season. Ling was recently honored with YSM’s Distinguished Service Award.

Watanabe, who recently finished serving as conducting fellow at the Curtis Institute of Music, was chosen for a similar role in San Diego, where he will conduct a limited number of concerts. MORE

Published June 5, 2015
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