Convocation 2017 defines YSM as place for “Music Among Friends”

School of Music Dean Robert Blocker often describes music as “the currency of hope” and has long championed the School’s commitment to inclusivity and diversity. That commitment was reiterated emphatically on Thursday night in his 2017 Convocation speech, “Music Among Friends,” in which he celebrated “courage, inclusivity and diversity, connectedness, tolerance and respect, and compassion.” Upon its founding, he said, “the School of Music opened wide its doors and heart to all those who brought their gifts of talent and intellectual curiosity to campus.” Today, Blocker pointed out, the School stands in solidarity with those whose place in our community hangs in the balance.

“All of us bring anxieties, concerns, and even fears about the human condition to this room tonight,” he told new and returning students, faculty, staff, alumni, and guests, “for we live in a time in which human dignity and indeed humanity are being assaulted throughout the world. Nothing, I think, is as incomprehensible and unimaginable as the vengeful rescindment of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, known as DACA. Now, these young people we call Dreamers live with fear rather than hope. This action touches our community profoundly because we are witnesses to the deep grief and stressful uncertainty these Dreamers and their families suddenly face. I do believe reasonable and compassionate leaders among us hear and feel the anguished cries of Dreamers and that they, with our encouragement and support, will find a way to keep their American dream alive.”

Connecting YSM’s values to its mission, Blocker said, “music teaches us that every voice is distinct and important, that each is necessary for harmony, and that is precisely why we know that our combined voices will help repair our troubled world.”

Following University Provost Benjamin Polak’s installation of the incoming class, whose members come from five continents, 25 countries, 26 states, and 58 institutions, Convocation attendees sang Schubert’s An die Musik (with Franz von Schober’s text, as translated by YSM faculty bass-baritone Richard Cross), as is School tradition. Blocker then delivered his remarks before introducing the faculty, alumni, and current students who performed as part of the ceremony.

Violinist Daniel S. Lee ’06MM ’08AD, a newly appointed faculty member in early music whose ensemble, The Sebastians, is in residence at the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments, performed Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber’s Sonata No. 3 in F major, C. 140 (from Sonatae, violino solo) with faculty harpsichordist Arthur Haas. Bass-baritone Dashon Burton ’11MM sang “Grosser Herr, o starker König,” from Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248, and “Mache dich, mein Herze rein,” from the St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244, with pianist David Fung ’11MM ’13MMA ’17DMA. And violinist Sirena Huang ’19AD performed Tchaikovsky’s Valse-Scherzo, Op. 34, with pianist Lam Wong ’18MM.

The performances added punctuation to Blocker’s remarks, which concluded with him telling members of the incoming class that “here at YSM, you will experience fully the gift that is ‘Music Among Friends,’ and encouraging all in attendance, referencing a favorite story about Robert Louis Stevenson, to “take hope, and make holes in the dark with the beauty and light of your music.”

Photos by Harold Shapiro

Published September 8, 2017
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Tiam Goudarzi, recorder and Paolo Zanzu, harpsichord perform Nov. 11

paolo-zanzu-webThe Yale Collection of Musical Instruments at the Yale School of Music presents Baroque recorder player Tiam Goudarzi and harpsichordist Paolo Zanzu on Wednesday, November 11 at 5:30 pm. The program, entitled Dissertazione corelliana (Corellian dissertation), explores the rise of the Roman school of instrumental music in the 18th century.

The duo will open and close the program with two sonatas from Arcangelo Corelli’s Opus 5. The collection was originally written as a set of 12 violin sonatas; Goudarzi and Zanu will open the program with the Sonata in B-flat major, Op. 5, No. 9 and will close with the Sonata in E-flat major, Op. 5, No. 1.

Zanzu will then play three short keyboard pieces by Domenico Scarlatti: the Sonata in A major, K. 113; Sonata in A major, K. 114; and Sonata in C minor, K 115. The pair will team up again for a performance of Georg Frideric Händel’s Recorder Sonata in D minor, HWV 367, and William Babell’s “Vo’ far guerra” from the opera Rinaldo. Zanzu will perform one more work for solo harpsichord, Händel’s Harpsichord suite in B-flat major, HWV 434, before the closing Corelli work.


Published October 27, 2015
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Lutenist Nigel North performs 16th-century music at Collection Oct. 11

north_n-hThe Yale Collection of Musical Instruments presents celebrated lutenist Nigel North in recital on Sunday, October 11 at 3:00 pm. The program, entitled A Decoration of Silence, will include lute music of 16th-century Italy, France, and England.

Nigel North has been called “perhaps the greatest performer of the instrument of all time.” He has produced numerous recordings, including a four-volume collection entitled Bach on the Lute, and was a founding member of the ensemble Romanesca.

The concert will take place in the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments, located at 15 Hillhouse Ave. Tickets are $25, $20 for seniors and Yale employees, $10 with student ID. The event will also stream live on the Collection’s website. MORE

Published October 1, 2015
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Boston Globe: Antico Moderno focuses on fresh sounds for period instruments

antico-moderno-webBoston Globe | By David Weininger
May 15, 2015

Jacques Wood’s eureka moment came when he was a graduate student at Yale. Having completed the academic portion of his doctoral studies in cello performance, Wood in 2010 began an immersion in early music practice with Robert Mealy, one of the country’s prominent historical-string players. For many musicians trained on modern instruments, the first serious encounter with instruments of the past can be such a bombshell that they end up pursuing early music with a convert’s zeal.

For Wood, the experience brought a different insight no less revelatory. “My initial reaction was that playing early music for the first time felt a lot like playing new music for the first time,” he said in a recent conversation at a Harvard Square cafe. “It’s the same feeling, where there’s no tradition attached to it. You’re looking at it for the first time.” MORE

Published May 15, 2015
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New York Times: Plucking Notes, and Strings, of Long Ago

New York Times | By Phillip Lutz

In 1640, Andreas Ruckers of Antwerp was producing harpsichords of such clarity and consistency that they were the envy of Northern Europe. Most of those harpsichords, like others of their vintage, have disappeared or been radically altered, sometimes with disastrous results.


One that hasn’t, however, sits among the more than two dozen period keyboards on display at the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments in New Haven. Apart from the slight extension of its range in the early 18th century, the floridly adorned, single-manual instrument remains fundamentally untouched, its soundboard yielding a brilliant tone that, on a recent weekday, carried throughout the collection’s quarters, a onetime fraternity house on Hillhouse Avenue. MORE

Published March 30, 2015
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“Refreshing” El Mundo Ensemble performs at Collection April 12

el mundoThe Yale School of Music and Collection of Musical Instruments presents the El Mundo Ensemble at the Collection of Musical Instruments on Sunday, April 12 at 3:00pm.

The ensemble, led by artistic director Richard Savino, will present a program of music focusing on the Spanish Baroque. “El Mundo plays with a refreshing lack of rigidity or dogmatism,” says the New York Times, and Savino is a baroque guitarist hailed as “a player of high technique and sensitivity to style” (Gramophone).

The program includes selections by Antonio de Salazar, Rafael Castellano, Santiago de Murcia, and Sebastian Duron, among others. MORE

Published March 30, 2015
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Gold and Glitter: Aulos Ensemble presents music from Venice and Versailles Feb. 22

aulos_webThe Yale Collection of Musical Instruments presents the Aulos Ensemble on Sunday, February 22 at 3:00 pm. The acclaimed ensemble will present a program called Gold and Glitter: Music from Venice and Versailles.

Founded in 1973, The Aulos Ensemble was one of the first American “original instrument” ensembles. Its accomplishments over the past four decades have given it preeminence in the early music movement. Early Music America said of a recent Rameau recording, “The performers exhibit a masterfully controlled sense of ensemble throughout, and their precisely articulated delivery breathes with Rameau’s subtly dramatic phrasal undulations. The effect is exquisite.”

The members of the ensemble include harpsichordist Arthur Haas, a member of the YSM faculty, as well as Linda Quan, violin; Christopher Krueger, flute; Marc Schachman, oboe; and Myron Lutzke, cello. MORE

Published February 16, 2015
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Violinists from the Yale Baroque Ensemble perform virtuoso program Nov. 18 & 19

Yale Baroque Ensemble 2014-15The Yale School of Music will present members of the Yale Baroque Ensemble in a baroque violin recital on Tuesday and Wednesday, November 18 and 19. Each performance takes place at 5:30 pm at the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments (15 Hillhouse Avenue, New Haven).

The recital features violinists Hyejin Koh and Seul-A Lee, both current members of the postgraduate Yale Baroque Ensemble. They will be joined by Christopher Hwang, baroque cello; Stephen Gamboa, harpsichord; and Arash Noori, theorbo. MORE

Published November 14, 2014
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Yale Collection of Musical Instruments presents Juilliard Baroque Jan. 26

juilliardbaroqueThe Yale Collection of Musical Instruments presents the ensemble Juilliard Baroque on Sunday, January 26. The concert features music by Quantz, J.S. Bach, C.P.E Bach, Zelenka, and Telemann.

The performers include YSM faculty member Robert Mealy, violin, alongside Gonzalo Ruiz, oboe; Dominic Teresi, bassoon; and Kenneth Weiss, harpsichord. MORE

Published January 9, 2014
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Yale Baroque Ensemble performs “musique de chambre” Dec. 8

YBE_2013-14The Yale School of Music will present the Yale Baroque Ensemble on Sunday, December 8, 2013. Directed by faculty member Robert Mealy, the ensemble will perform a concert of elaborate and virtuosic music of the French Baroque. The performance begins at 3 pm in Morse Recital Hall, located in Sprague Hall at 470 College Street, New Haven.

The program features Couperin’s great last large-scale chamber work, “L’Imperiale” from Les Nations. Also on the program are brilliant sonatas by Leclair, Barrières, and others.  MORE

Published November 13, 2013
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