Bernarda Fink to perform “kaleidoscope” of favorite works

Bernarda Fink

Mezzo-soprano Bernarda Fink was born in Argentina to Slovenian parents. Her world, growing up, was a mix of cultures. Fink’s father often sang songs by Austrian composer Franz Schubert in the house, and Czech composer Antonín Dvořák’s music is “part of my Slavic roots,” Fink said. At the same time, Argentine composer Carlos Guastavino’s work is “mother earth,” a musical home as much as any other.

This semester, Fink’s physical home is here in New Haven. She’s serving as Visiting Lecturer in Voice (a joint appointment with the Yale Institute of Sacred Music) at a time when her career focus is shifting to include more teaching and a bit less performing. “I am in the privileged time,” she said, a career point at which she can share her experiences with younger artists and learn anew from them. “It is amazing how much we can learn from teaching and from knowing different personalities and different young people searching for themselves,” she said. “You rediscover things you know and forgot. It is a beautiful experience.”

While she’s performing less than she has in previous years, Fink remains a fixture on the concert stage, one whom The New York Times has described as “a master of the disarming, deceptive simplicity of the song recital.” On Friday, Fink will perform a program she described as “a kaleidoscope of all my most precious pieces.” The program, with pianist Anthony Spiri, includes music by Schubert, Dvořák, Guastavino, Austrian composer Hugo Wolf, and Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo.

While on paper the program looks long, Fink said it’s on the shorter side, a reflection of her shifting career focus. If there’s one thing Fink wants from an audience it’s “that they come with open hearts.” An artist “has to have empathy for different music types,” she said. The same goes for concertgoers.

Mezzo-soprano Bernarda Fink will perform music by Schubert, Wolf, Dvořák, Rodrigo, and Guastavino, with pianist Anthony Spiri, on Friday, Nov. 8, at 7:30 p.m. in Morse Recital Hall. 

DETAILS

Published November 5, 2019
Share This Comments

Faculty tubist Carol Jantsch, on exploration and perpetual study

Carol Jantsch

In 2006, Carol Jantsch was named Principal Tubist of the Philadelphia Orchestra. She further explains on her website that “she won the position during her senior year at the University of Michigan, becoming the first female tuba player in a major symphony orchestra.” We reached out to Jantsch, who joined the Yale School of Music faculty in 2012, to talk about teaching, arranging music for her instrument, and musical pursuits beyond her work with the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Q: When, where, and how did you choose the tuba—or did the instrument choose you? I know your family is quite musical. Were you encouraged to pursue music as a field of study and a profession?

A: My mom forced me to start piano lessons when I was 6, and she sent me and my brother to Interlochen Arts Camp a few years later. That first summer at Interlochen I took a class called “Instrument Exploration,” where we were introduced to all the instruments and chose one to learn. I wanted something weird and different, so the euphonium fit the bill perfectly. I made the switch to tuba a few years later, when I was around 12 years old.

Q: To what extent have you learned through teaching? In other words, to what degree has working with students informed your approach to the instrument? In what ways have you grown as a musician since 2006?

A: Teaching forces you to put your values and techniques into words, and this process has been hugely educational for me. I always had strong opinions about how I wanted to sound, but now my ideas have more clarity and refinement. I’m also much more conscious of how I’m doing what I’m doing from having to explain it to others.

I feel very fortunate to have come of age as a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra. I’m constantly drawing inspiration from my amazing colleagues, and I absolutely believe that I’m a much better musician for getting to hear them for the past 13 years.

Q: I’m always curious to learn about an artist’s routines. How do you juggle individual practice, arranging, rehearsing with the orchestra and other groups, teaching, recording, and other aspects of your life?

A: I get a lot of emails and arranging done on the train to Yale!

The orchestra is and always will be my primary focus; I’m very grateful to have such a wonderful job, and it’s also the thing that enables me to do everything else. I’ll definitely get more practice time when the orchestra is playing “New World” Symphony than I will in a Mahler week, and the time for other projects ebbs and flows with my Philadelphia Orchestra responsibilities. While it can be hectic to have so many side projects, I think it’s important to make the time for them because they keep me growing as a musician and person.

Q: With limited repertoire composed specifically for tuba, you necessarily perform a good number of arrangements. How do you go about choosing which pieces to arrange for your instrument—what are the important considerations beyond a desire to play a particular piece? How much do you and your students discuss and work on arranging?

A: Just like teaching, arranging has had a profound influence on my musicianship. Arranging a piece of music is like solving a puzzle: How do you fundamentally change the nature of something while still capturing the essence of the original? What specifically makes Beethoven sound like Beethoven, or Led Zeppelin sound like Led Zeppelin—and then how do I preserve that when I write for tubas?! They’re fun questions to tackle, and I think having that sense of the big picture is really helpful as a performer. I find it so helpful in fact that I’ve started requiring my students to create at least one transcription or arrangement for their graduation recital.

Q: Is Tubular currently active? If so, what’s your set list like?

A: Yes we are! For the uninitiated, Tubular is my cover band comprised of two euphoniums, two tubas, drums, and all of us do vocals. In September, we performed the entire Beatles album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band—that was a pretty epic night. But normally our shows span a lot of eras and styles—Queen, Beyoncé, the Jackson 5, Bruno Mars, the Eagles, Kesha, Flight of the Conchords, really anything we think will be awesome and/or hilarious. I’m currently working on a ’70s rock medley that will include Styx, Heart, AC/DC, and more …

What have you been listening to and reading lately?

I’ve been on a classic rock kick because of my current arranging project! Spotify makes some pretty great playlists, and the one called “Classic Rock Workout” is pretty much solid gold; exercise or not, I highly recommend it.

Faculty tubist Carol Jantsch will perform a free Faculty Artist Series recital on Sunday, Oct. 13, at 3 p.m., in Morse Recital Hall. 

DETAILS

Published October 9, 2019
Share This Comments

Robert van Sice to perform with current YPG members and alumni

Robert van Sice

Yale Percussion Group Director Robert van Sice recently said that Garth Neustadter’s Seaborne “is the best piece anyone’s written for me since [James Wood’s] Spirit Festival with Lamentations.” Neustadter’s piece, which will be premiered on Saturday, March 3, as part of a concert billed as Robert van Sice & Friends, was commissioned to be a sort of companion piece to Steve Reich’s Sextet.

The March 3 program is built around Seaborne, which is fitting given that Neustadter ’12MM is a YSM alum and the concert will feature current YPG members and a host of alumni. In addition to Seaborne, which includes a film component created by van Sice’s son, Kjell van Sice, the program includes Thierry De Mey’s Musique de tables, “Story” from John Cage’s Living Room Music, and Reich’s Sextet.

Current YPG member YoungKyoung Lee ’18MM said the concert “represents the most important part of Bob’s teaching, which is learning from your peers and having the community together.” Percussionists are told when they arrive at YSM, “You will learn more from the other five students here than you will learn from me,” van Sice said. During the March 3 concert, several generations of YSM-trained percussionists will share the Morse Recital Hall stage, introducing the audience to some of the students who have passed through the School since van Sice joined the faculty in 1997.

While he’s looking forward to celebrating his time on the YSM faculty, van Sice is quick to recognize those who were here before him: Fred Hinger and Gordon Gottlieb. “These are really significant people who I have the privilege of succeeding,” van Sice said.

The March 3 concert, van Sice said, is “going to look way more like a party than a concert.”

DETAILS

Published February 28, 2018
Share This Comments

[ concerts ]

Faculty Artist Series features violinist Kyung Yu Mar 5

Kyung YuThe Faculty Artist Series at the Yale School of Music presents a recital by violinist Kyung Yu on Saturday, March 5 at 7:30 pm. Pianist Melissa Rose will join Yu for the evening to perform music by Mozart, Brahms, and Ravel.

The concert will open with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart‘s Sonata in G major, K. 301/293a, followed by Johannes Brahms‘ Violin Sonata No. 3 in D minor, Op. 108. Written for the famous violinist Joseph Joachim, Brahms’ dramatic sonata is written in four movements, an expansion of the traditional three-movement sonata form.

Closing the program are two works written by Maurice Ravel in the 1920s. The Violin Sonata No. 2 shows Ravel’s love of American jazz and blues; the virtuosic Tzigane, Rhapsodie de concert pour violon et piano has a Gypsy-influenced flair. MORE

Published February 24, 2016
Share This Comments

[ concerts ]

Violist Ettore Causa, pianist Wei-Yi Yang perform Feb. 12 with violinist Julie Eskar

Ettore Causa, Wei-Yi Yang, and Julie Eskar

Ettore Causa, Wei-Yi Yang, and Julie Eskar

The Yale School of Music’s Faculty Artist Series presents a recital featuring violist Ettore Causa and pianist Wei-Yi Yang, along with guest violinist Julie Eskar, on Friday, February 12 at 7:30 pm. The concert will include music by Mendelssohn, Nielsen, Penderecki, Fauré, and Bruch.

The program opens with two sonatas: Felix Mendelssohn’s Sonata for Viola and Piano in C minor, MWV Q14, and Carl Nielsen’s Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 2, Op. 35. The two string players will team up for Krzysztof Penderecki’s Ciaccone for Violin and Viola.

Causa will perform his own arrangement of Gabriel Fauré’s Elegie, Op. 24, originally written for cello and orchestra. All three musicians will come together to close the concert with four selections from Max Bruch’s Pieces for Violin, Viola, and Piano, Op. 83. MORE

Published February 9, 2016
Share This Comments

[ concerts ]

Hannah Lash offers three new works Feb. 9

Hannah Lash, composition facultyThe Faculty Artist Series at the Yale School of Music a concert of music by prize-winning composer Hannah Lash on Tuesday, February 9 at 7:30 pm.

Performing Lash’s music will be The City of Tomorrow wind quintet as well as YSM students and alumni: Molly Netter, soprano; Jeff Stern, percussion; Samuel Suggs, bass; Jacob Ashworth, violin; and Lee Dionne, piano.

The program will feature the world premieres of three new works by Lash. The City of Tomorrow will present a wind quintet, Hero and Leander. The Sonata for Violin and Piano will be performed by Jacob Ashworth and Lee Dionne. Four Songs will feature the composer on harp along with Molly Netter, soprano; Samuel Suggs, double bass; and Jeff Stern, percussion. MORE

Published January 20, 2016
Share This Comments

[ concerts ]

Frankl and colleagues present celebratory recital Feb 6

Peter Frankl, piano

Peter Frankl, piano

The Faculty Artist Series at the Yale School of Music presents a concert celebrating Peter Frankl‘s 80th birthday year on Saturday, February 6 at 4:00 pm.

Frankl, a pianist, will team up with fellow YSM faculty members Ani Kavafian, violin; Ettore Causa, viola; Ole Akahoshi, cello; Stephen Taylor, oboe; David Shifrin, clarinet; Frank Morelli, bassoon; William Purvis, horn; and Janna Baty, soprano. In various configurations, they will perform music from Schumann and Saint-Saëns to Dohnányi and Dutilleux.

The program opens with three duets: Camille Saint-Saëns‘ Five Songs for oboe d’amore and piano; Robert Schumann‘s Three Romances for bassoon and piano; and Henri Dutilleux‘s Choral, Cadence et Fugato for trombone and piano. MORE

Published January 12, 2016
Share This Comments

[ concerts ]

Wendy Sharp offers chamber music recital Jan 31

sharp_wendy_web_hThe Faculty Artist Series at the Yale School of Music presents violinist Wendy Sharp and friends in a chamber music recital on SundayJanuary 31 at 4:00 pm. Sharp will be joined by fellow YSM faculty member Melvin Chen, piano, as well as by Julie Kim, violin, Marka Gustavsson, viola, and Mimi Hwang, cello.

The program opens with the first of Haydn‘s many string quartets: the Quartet in B-flat major, Op. 1, No. 1. This is followed by Ernö Dohnányi‘s Serenade in C major for string trio, Op. 10, which the composer based on Beethoven’s Op. 8 Serenade for string trio.

Closing the program, all five players will come together for Elgar‘s Piano Quintet in A minor, Op. 84.  MORE

Published January 7, 2016
Share This Comments

[ concerts ]

Arthur Haas and friends perform chamber works on period instruments Jan. 30

Arthur HaasThe Faculty Artist Series at the Yale School of Music presents a recital featuring harpsichordist Arthur Haas on Saturday, January 30 at 7:30 pm. Haas will be joined by Yale alumnus Daniel S. Lee on Baroque violin, as well as by Sang Joon Park, Baroque flute, and Martha McGaughey, viola da gamba.

The program, entitled Crossing the Rhine, will showcase early 18th-century chamber music from France and Germany, including selections by Rameau, Couperin, Telemann, and Bach. MORE

Published January 7, 2016
Share This Comments

[ concerts ]

Benjamin Verdery celebrates 30 years at Yale with his own compositions Jan. 19

verdery_benThe Faculty Artist Series at the Yale School of Music presents guitarist Benjamin Verdery on Tuesday, January 19 at 7:30 pm.

Celebrating Verdery’s 30 years on the YSM faculty, the recital will feature Verdery playing his own compositions in collaboration with guest artists. Featured guests include guitarist Simon Powis ’08 MM, ’10 MMA, ’14 DMA, a former student of Verdery’s.

Beatboxer and vocal percussionist Mark Martin will team up with Verdery on the premiere of a new work. The concert will conclude with another collaborative piece featuring hip-hop artist Billy Dean, with whom Verdery has collaborated extensively. VIDEO MORE

Published December 23, 2015
Share This Comments