Achievements celebrated at annual Honors Dinner

Carol Colburn Grigor, recipient of the Samuel Simons Sanford Award

Left to right: Benjamin Polak, Peter Salovey, Samuel Simons Sanford Award winner Carol Colburn Grigor, and Robert Blocker

The Yale School of Music held its annual Honors Dinner on Sunday, May 7, welcoming students and alumni, faculty and staff, and distinguished guests to the Yale Commons for an evening of celebration. After thanking recently retired staff members for their service and acknowledging the University officers who were in attendance, YSM Dean Robert Blocker presented Carol Colburn Grigor ’69MMA CBE with the School’s highest honor, the Samuel Simons Sanford Award. Grigor, Blocker, said, “is one of America’s most generous … most thoughtful philanthropists.” Composer and former Edinburgh International Festival director Jonathan Mills congratulated Grigor via video.

Willie Ruff, recipient of the Nathan Hale Award

Left to right: Benjamin Polak, Peter Salovey, Nathan Hale Award recipient Willie Ruff, and Robert Blocker

Dean Blocker, with University President Peter Salovey and Yale Provost Benjamin Polak at his side, presented longtime YSM professor Willie Ruff ’53BM ’54MM, who will retire at the end of the semester, with the University’s prestigious Nathan Hale Award. “He’s changed all our lives,” Blocker said, before attendees were shown a video tribute to Ruff’s life and work. In a nod to the man who indirectly inspired him decades ago to study at YSM, Ruff said, “I thank, most of all, Charlie Parker.” The jazz office in the Yale School of Music’s Adams Center for Musical Arts was recently named in Ruff’s honor.

Left to right: Benjamin Polak, Peter Salovey, Ian Mininberg Distinguished Service Award winner Warren Lee, and Robert Blocker

Blocker presented the Ian Mininberg Distinguished Service Award to pianist Warren Lee ’00MM and the Cultural Leadership Citation to retiring Yale Collection of Musical Instruments curator William Nicholas Renouf ’71MMA. The Collection’s director, William Purvis, accepted the Citation on behalf of Renouf, who was unable to attend the Honors Dinner. Before presenting student prizes, Blocker referenced an impressive number of awards and successes earned and realized this year by students, faculty, and staff. He recognized longtime YSM faculty pianist Peter Frankl, who plans to retire in the fall, for his dedication to the School community.

At the end of the evening, Blocker told the students in attendance, “Claim the future. It belongs to you. You will make us better.” What follows is a list of the student prizes awarded during YSM’s 2017 Honors Dinner. MORE

Published May 9, 2017
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YSM students receive grant from Yale Entrepreneurial Institute’s Venture Creation Program

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Left to right: Igor Lichtmann, Jiwon Sun, Lydia Consilvio, Chris Garwood, and Felice Doynov

A group of five Yale School of Music students have received a grant from the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute’s Venture Creation Program to create a Practice Portal designed to foster dialogue about effective approaches to practicing. The grant includes a $1,000 cash investment and enrollment in YEI’s five-week series of lean-startup workshops. Grantees are also connected with YEI’s network of mentors and a dedicated student Venture Creation Advisor from the Yale School of Management.

The YSM students — oboist Lydia Consilvio ’17MM, flutist Felice Doynov ’17MM, guitarists Chris Garwood ’17MM and Igor Lichtmann ’18MM, and violinist Jiwon Sun ’17MM — developed their project idea after having related discussions during a course taught by YSM’s coordinator of career strategies, Astrid Baumgardner.

“A huge part of our daily life consists of practicing, three to eight hours a day for most people,” Doynov said. “And if we’re not practicing as effectively as possible, we’re not getting better as quickly as possible. What we want to do is use modern technology and the resources we have at Yale to bring musicians valuable information in an online community that focuses on practicing.”

Doynov and her colleagues are in the process of launching a website and have been uploading content to Practice Portal Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. Doynov said they hope to launch a Practice Portal app, as well.

“The Venture Creation Program,” according to the YEI website, “was created to catalyze and support the growth of new, early-stage ventures at Yale. It is dedicated to providing resources for entrepreneurial teams to commercialize promising, unique products or services.”

Kassie Tucker, YEI’s program director, said the students who conceived Practice Portal are “trying to be innovative in a not-always-innovative space” and are trying to improve on an area that’s a “pain point” for many musicians.

YALE ENTREPRENEURIAL INSTITUTE

Published November 18, 2016
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NYT: Yale Composers Showcase Their Works at New Music New Haven

Ani Kavafian, Lisa Morre, and David Shifrin | Photo by Chris Lee

Ani Kavafian, Lisa Moore, and David Shifrin | Photo by Chris Lee

The New York Times | By Vivien Schweitzer

It’s rarely a compliment to describe a composer as “academic”: the word is usually applied to those perceived as being sequestered on campus creating esoteric, dreary works. Conversely, being too “accessible” (i.e., not challenging enough) has also been deemed a negative. But there’s nothing pejoratively “academic” or “accessible” about any of the Yale faculty composers featured during a concert on Wednesday at WQXR’s Greene Space in SoHo.

David Lang, Hannah Lash, Christopher Theofanidis, Aaron Jay Kernis and Martin Bresnick represent an accessible aesthetic that draws on multiple stylistic influences. Some of their music has been championed by Bang on a Can, the lively genre-bending collective whose three founders, all Yale alumni, include Mr. Lang. The vocalist Helga Davis hosted Wednesday’s event, part of the NY Phil Biennial, and interviewed each composer and Alan Gilbert, the Philharmonic’s music director, onstage. MORE

Published May 26, 2016
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YSM students to perform at Kennedy Center on Feb. 19

kennedy1As part of the Kennedy Center’s Conservatory Project, five YSM students will perform at the Kennedy Center on Friday, February 19.

For the Yale School of Music’s 2016 showcase, the Videnia Quintet will perform a wide-ranging program of original works and arrangements for woodwind quintet. The members of the quintet are flutist Felice Doynov ’17 MM; oboist Lydia Consilvio ’17 MM; clarinetist Bixby Kennedy ’16 MM; hornist Cody Halquist ’16 MM; and bassoonist Cornelia Sommer ’16 MM.

Their program will begin with György Ligeti‘s Six Bagatelles, originally written in 1953 for solo piano under the title Musica riservata. They continue with an arrangement by hornist Cody Halquist of Verdi‘s 1841 Overture to Nabucco, and will then perform an intricate work by YSM composition faculty Martin Bresnick titled Just Time. MORE

Published January 28, 2016
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