Hilary Purrington’s “Harp of Nerves” to receive world-premiere performance

Hilary Purrington. Photo by JIJI

In 2017, a few months after graduating from the School of Music, composer Hilary Purrington ’17MMA received the American Composers Orchestra’s Underwood Emerging Composer Commission. After her Likely Pictures in a Haphazard Sky was read during the orchestra’s 2017 Underwood New Music Readings, the organization’s artistic director, Derek Bermel, said, “Hilary Purrington’s music spoke in a highly personal voice … Her work unfolded assuredly, revealing an orchestral palette at once austere and lyrical.”

On November 13, the ACO will give the world-premiere performance of Purrington’s guitar concerto, Harp of Nerves. The yield of the Underwood Commission, Purrington’s concerto was written for JIJI (Jiyeon Kim) ’17MM, winner of Victor and Sono Elmaleh First Prize at the Concert Artists Guild’s 2016 Victor Elmaleh Competition. Purrington and JIJI were roommates during their time at Yale. Their careers are in sync in an upward trajectory.

“I had JIJI in mind, of course,” Purrington said, and proposed a guitar concerto upon receiving the commission. During the composition process, Purrington said, “imagining (JIJI) playing the piece (was) helpful. She loves new music and she plays a lot of new music.” Also helpful was “knowing (JIJI’s) character and what she’s going to put into the piece.” That includes the “drama of seeing her playing.”

Throughout her relationship with the ACO, Purrington attended “as many ACO concerts as I could … to really get their sound in my head. I also wanted to have a sense of (Zankel Hall) and them playing in the hall.” That includes the subway rumble audiences can feel if not hear. “I have these very slow crescendo and decrescendo bass-drum rolls that come from that, directly,” she said, laughing, “since it’s going to be there anyway.”

To write for guitar, Purrington wanted to know the instrument as well as she could, so she studied the instrument herself. “I played quite a bit,” she said. “It was massively helpful and completely changed my approach. When she gave JIJI the music this past summer, Purrington said Jiji had no questions, which she took as the “highest compliment.”

JIJI. Photo by Lauren Chun

“She really understands the instrument well,” JIJI said. “She really used very idiomatic writing for the guitar. You can tell” she studied the instrument. “I’ve known Hilary’s music since we lived together. I was like, ‘You know what to do. You do your magic.’” JIJI, who recently heard a performance of Likely Pictures in the Haphazard Sky, described Purrington as an “amazing orchestrator” and said, “She knows how to work with textures and colors. She’s just really smart. You can hear it in her music.”

JIJI’s guitar will by amplified for the performance. “It liberates me, so I’m not forcing it on the instrument,” trying to compete with the orchestra, she said.

As Purrington pointed out, JIJI is a champion of new music. “Art should reflect the life of the time we live in,” she said. We live in this century and we should be part of this century.” There’s also a matter of available repertoire. JIJI said classical guitarists have, to a degree, been playing the same music over and over again, whereas, for example, the percussion repertoire has “exploded.” “Classical guitar needs this,” she said. “We need to really reinvent ourselves and try to expand our repertoire.” Purrington is helping with that.

The American Composers Orchestra will present a program called New England Echoes on Wednesday, November 13, at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall. The program includes the world premiere of Hilary Purrington’s guitar concerto, Harp of Nerves, with soloist Jiji, a selection of Charles Ives’ songs, arranged by Purrington, YSM faculty composer Hannah Lash ’12AD, and Jonathan Bailey Holland and featuring mezzo-soprano Jaime Barton, and the New York premiere of Matthew Aucoin’s Evidence.

CONCERT DETAILS

HILARY PURRINGTON

JIJI

Published November 11, 2019
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YSM Alumni News | May 2019

Miki Aoki

Composers Samuel Adams ’10MM and Suzanne Farrin ’00MM ’03MMA ’08DMA have been named 2019 Guggenheim Fellows.

Kathleen Allan ’14MM has been appointed Artistic Director and Conductor of the Amadeus Choir of Greater Toronto, a 45-year-old symphonic chorus that works regularly with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Pianist Miki Aoki ’02MM released her fourth album, Tokyo Story, in the fall. It contains the world’s first recordings of the original piano scores of the last seven films by Yasujiro Ozu.

Composer Sheila Barnes ’74MM ’75MMA has taught voice at Cambridge University, Trinity College since 2010. In 2018 she adjudicated the Governor’s Prize of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and led a forum for composers at the Conservatory of Amsterdam on writing for voice. Barnes is currently writing an opera for the Netherlands Opera and the London-based early music group La Nuova Musica.

Double bassist Andrea Beyer ’15MM, bassoonist Francisco Joubert Bernard ’17MM, violinist Ethan Hoppe ’16MM ’18MMA, double bassist Levi Jones ’16MM, clarinetist Jesse McCandless ’17MM, cellist Alan Ohkubo ’14MM, violist Yuan Qi ’15MM, and violinist Yefim Romanov ’16AD are current fellows in the New World Symphony.

Violinist Claudia Bloom ’80MM is the Director of the Palo Alto School of Chamber Music, an intergenerational chamber music program. Now in its fifth year, the program offers professional coaching for string players, woodwind players, and pianists, and participants comprise a small orchestra.

The Great Necks Guitar Trio, whose members include Scott Borg ’06AD and Matthew Rohde ’07MM, released its debut album, Original Arrangements for Three Guitars, which reached the No. 10 spot on the Traditional Classical Billboard Charts for the week of December 1.

Trumpeter Joel Brennan ’06MM ’07MMA ’11DMA and violist Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti ’08MM are inaugural faculty members at The Tianjin Juilliard School.

Violinist Davis Brooks ’78MM released his fourth solo album, Violin & Electronics 2, in December, featuring music by Richard Einhorn, Filipe Leitão, Frank Felice, Patrick Long, James Aikman, and Otto Luening.

Pianist Lydia Brown ’95MM ’96AD has been named Chair of the Collaborative Piano Department at the Juilliard School for fall 2019. Brown is in her 15th year as Assistant Conductor at the Metropolitan Opera and her 13th year as the head of the vocal program at the Marlboro Music School and Festival.

The St. Martin’s Chamber Choir of Denver performed Two French Noels by Susan Brown ’76MM as part of a series that featured music by women composers, exclusively.

Conductor Hannah Carr ’17MM, Artistic Director of the Hoboken, New Jersey-based Cantigas Women’s Choir, led the group in a May 19 concert called “Music from the Mountaintops.”

Composer Carlos Carrillo ’96MM and flutist Christine Gangelhoff ’95AD recently co-organized Puentes Caribeños (Caribbean Bridges), a Symposium of Caribbean Art Music. The symposium focused on strengthening bonds between composers, performers, artists, and scholars throughout the Caribbean and its diaspora.

Countertenor Jay Carter ’08MM and soprano Sherezade Panthaki ’11AD sang the Houston premiere of Alessandro Stradella’s oratorio San Giovanni Battista with Ars Lyrica Houston in March.

Christopher Cerrone

The Peabody Institute will welcome Christopher Cerrone ’09MM ’10MMA ’14DMA and Harold Meltzer ’97MMA ’00DMA to its composition faculty for the 2019-2020 academic year. Cerrone was awarded a 2019 Charles Ives Fellowship by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Eric Cha-Beach ’07MM, a member of So Percussion, has contributed to tracks on the new album I Am Easy to Find by The National and appears on upcoming albums with Caroline Shaw, Buke and Gase, Tristan Perich, and others. So Percussion recently premiered Construction, a new project with choreographer Susan Marshall.

Trumpeter Kelly Dehnert ’86MM will return to Central Wyoming College as Director of Bands in fall 2019. Dehnert was Professor of Music at CWC for 14 years before spending eight years in Malawi, Africa, as Chair of Music at the African Bible College.

Percussionist Peter Derheimer ’88MM completed a tour of Germany with the Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla in March with the celebrated guitar soloist Pepe Romero.

Conductor Dominick DiOrio ’08MM ’09MMA ’12DMA and NOTUS, the Contemporary Vocal Ensemble at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, have been selected to perform at the 12th World Symposium on Choral Music in Auckland, New Zealand, in July 2020.

The April 2018 issue of The Strad included a feature on Spectrum Concerts Berlin, which opened its 31st season in March. The chamber ensemble is directed by founder and cellist Frank Dodge ’81MM.

Pianist Richard Dowling ’87MM has been appointed Visiting Artist Faculty at the new Aureus Conservatory of Music in Singapore. He will teach individual lessons, give master classes and workshops, and perform solo recitals during each of his six, two-week residencies in 2019 and 2020.

Violinist Gerald Elias ’75MM won first prize in the Creative Nonfiction Essay division of the 2018 Utah Original Writing Competition for his essay “War & Peace. And Music.”

The S&R Foundation announced its 2019 Washington Award winners: Reena Esmail ’11MM ’14MMA ’18DMA, who won the Grand Prize, and trombonist Brittany Lasch ’12MM. Esmail was one of six musicians to be named a 2019 Fellow by United States Artists, an organization that aims to illuminate the value of artists to American society.

The Pasadena Symphony’s 2019-2020 season will include a Composers Showcase featuring the music of up-and-coming composers, including Teen Murti by Reena Esmail and Red, Red Rose by Caroline Shaw’07MM.

Composer Kirsten Vogelsang Eyerman ’84MM recorded and released two albums in the past year, Glowing Prayer and Cello Holiday: Carols and Incantations.

Viola da gambist Grace Feldman’63MM was inducted into the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame and was named one of TIAA’s 100 Difference Makers, an honor for which Neighborhood Music School in New Haven, where Feldman taught for 55 years, received $10,000.

Violinist Kirstin Fife ’86MM has had many of her compositions performed this year, including Four Paintings by Salvador Dalí by the Lobo Ensemble and Tango Johana for violin and piano. Her choral piece A Rose was recently performed in South Carolina.

The song “love is a place” by composer Douglas Fisk ’05MM ’06MMA (with text by E.E. Cummings) was included in NewMusicShelf’s Anthology of New Music: Mezzo-Soprano, Vol. I. Fisk was also awarded a 2019 New Work Grant by the Queens Council on the Arts.

Harmonizations and Descants, Parts I & II, by organist Stuart Forster ’98MM ’99AD, were published by Selah Publishing. The books have received praise from the Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians.

Guitarist Lars Frandsen ’93MM was appointed Director of Music Theory and Ear Training at Nyack College, where he is a full professor at the Manhattan Campus. Dr. Frandsen is also an associate professor and director of classical guitar studies at Brooklyn College, CUNY, where he has taught for 21 years.

Composer Jeff Fuller ’69MM, with the trio Jeff Fuller & Friends, released his third album, Happenstance. Fuller formed the trio in 2014 to perform original music in the jazz tradition, and the group has since played at concerts, festivals, and clubs throughout Connecticut.

In January, harpsichordist Stephen Gamboa-Diaz ’16AD performed the complete Brandenburg Concerti, as the soloist and continuo player, with Chamber Music Silicon Valley.

Eliud Garcia

Trombonist Eliud Garcia ’17MM was selected for the 2019 Puerto Rico Summer Music Festival, with which he will perform Prokofiev’s First Symphony, Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony, and other works on a tour of Puerto Rico.

Zachary Haas ’18MM received an Honorable Mention at the International Trombone Association’s Edward Kleinhammer Orchestral Bass Trombone Competition.

Composer Juliana Hall ’87MM has had 35 song-cycles and vocal chamber works published by E. C. Schirmer, a cycle published by Boosey & Hawkes, and several songs recently chosen for NewMusicShelf’s new art-song anthologies.

As members of the Pacifica Quartet, violinist Austin Hartman ’06AD and cellist Brandon Vamos ’94MM ’95AD gave a concert on the 25th anniversary season of the Neskowin Chamber Music series in Oregon.

Pianist Nansong Huang ’18MM was named a 2019 Luminarts Fellow in Classical Music by the Luminarts Cultural Foundation of Chicago. The fellowship includes a $7,500 award.

Composer Thomas Johnson ’67MM recently presented a new sound installation, Knock on Wood, in Lausanne, Switzerland, in collaboration with Martin Riches. A book of Johnson’s writings in German and English was released by MusikTexte in April.

Percussionists Ji Hye Jung ’09MM, Matthew Keown ’16MM ’22DMA, Svet Stoyanov ’07MM, and Sam Um ’17MM ’18MMA performed the premiere of YSM faculty composer Christopher Theofanidis’ Drum Circles with the Oregon Symphony.

Composer John Kaefer ’01MM scored the upcoming films A Score to Settle, starring Nicolas Cage and Benjamin Bratt, and The Divine Plan, as well as the video game series Quantum Break. Kaefer’s recent concert work States of Motion was premiered by The Hollywood Chamber Orchestra with pianist Molly Morkoski.

Oboist Kristin Kall ’13MM ’14AD was named Director of Operations at the National Repertory Orchestra.

Composer Daniel Kellogg ’01MM ’03MMA ’07DMA was named President of Young Concert Artists in New York City.

Members of the icarus Quartet—percussionist Matthew Keown ’16MM ’22DMA and Jeff Stern ’16AD and pianists Larry Weng ’12AD ’14MMA ’19DMA and Yevgeny Yontov ’14MM ’20DMA—recently won Chamber Music in Yellow Springs’s 34th Annual Competition for Emerging Professional Ensembles.

Soprano Angela Jihee Kim ’11AD sang the role of Mimi in La Bohème with the Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea at the Algonquin Arts Theatre in New Jersey.

Guitarist Jiyeon “Jiji” Kim ’17MM was the featured soloist in a performance of Rodrigo’s Concerto de Aranjuez with the Sequoia Symphony Orchestra.

Violinist Kyung Jun Kim ’09CERT was awarded fifth prize at the Rising Stars Grand Prix 2018–International Music Competition Berlin.

Baritone Paweł Konik ’17MM started the 2018-2019 season singing Mercutio in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette at the Opera Śląska in Poland. Konik also made debuts at the Staatsoper Stuttgart in October as Marullo in Verdi’s Rigoletto and with the Kölner Philharmonie as Harlekin in Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos.

Pianist Andrew Kraus MM presented a program of works by women composers at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va., in March.

Guitarist Alan Kulka ’12MM released a single, “Special,” available on streaming services.

Jean Margaret Laurenz ’13MM ’14AD joined the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as Professor of Trumpet.

Trombonist Achilles Liarmakopoulos ’10MM has released a new single, “I will never forget,” with guitarist Spiros Exaras.

Trombonist Richard Liverano ’16MM is the new Manager of Institutional Giving at Liberation Programs, Inc.

Soprano Jamilyn Manning-White ’12AD was featured a soloist in a performance of Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem by the Hartford Chorale and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra in April.

After graduating from Yale, bassoonist Tonia Marcune ’73MM performed with several symphonies on the California coast and taught in the Music Department of the University of Nevada, where she completed a master’s degree in educational psychology. Today, Marcune lives in Boca Raton, Fla., where she works in forensics and performs with a touring orchestra during the summer months.

Organist Vaughn Mauren ’09MM was named Artistic Director of a newly established concert series at St. James Episcopal Church in West Hartford, Conn., and will play a recital to rededicate the church’s recently rebuilt pipe organ in late May.

Guitarist Michael McCallie ’08MM joined the faculty of the McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tenn., as full-time director of the school’s classical guitar program.

The Vic Firth Company released a video for “Five Times,” written for percussionist Kramer Milan ’15MM ’16MMA by Krists Auznieks ’16MM ’22DMA.

Violinist Ai Nihira ’08MM will join the first violin section of the San Diego Symphony for the 2019-2020 season.

Composer Andrew Norman ’09AD was named a 2019 Pulitzer Prize Finalist in Music for his orchestral work Sustain, which was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and premiered on October 4, 2018, under the baton of Music and Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel.

Marissa Olegario ’13MM accepted the tenure track position of Assistant Professor of Music in bassoon beginning in fall 2019 at the University of Arizona’s Fred Fox School of Music.

Composer Timothy Olsen ’88MM ’89MMA ’95DMA was named Professor of Music at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y, where he has taught courses in world music cultures, jazz improvisation, and music theory since 1994. Olsen has also been named Music Director at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Schenectady.

Organist David Perry Ouzts ’87MM co-chaired the liturgy/music committee and conducted music for the consecration of the Fourth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee in May. The festival service featured a diocesan choir of 125 singers with organ, brass, and timpani.

Oboist Andrew Parker ’10MM has been named Assistant Professor of Oboe and Director of Summer Music Camps at the Oklahoma State University Greenwood School of Music starting in fall 2019. He is currently Lecturer of Oboe and Music Technology at Brevard College.

Loft Recordings recently released Salome’s Dance, recorded by organist Robert Parkins ’73MM ’75MM ’80DMA on the renovated Aeolian organ in the Duke University Chapel. Parkins’ eighth solo recording features late German Romantic music and works by American composers.

Kim Perlak ’01MM was named Chair of the Guitar Department at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass. Perlak becomes the first woman to chair the department and the fourth person to hold the position since the college added guitar as a principal instrument in 1962.

Flutist Ginevra Petrucci ’12MM ’13AD is launching a multi-step commissioning project to expand the repertoire for the flauto d’amore. A concert program that will include music by Yale composers Gleb Kanasevich ’13MM and Liliya Ugay ’16MM ’22DMA is being planned.

Violinist Igor Pikayzen has been appointed Assistant Professor of Violin at the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver.

Composer Hilary Purrington ’17MMA joined Barnard College’s Office of Development as Associate Director of Advancement.

Bassoonist Dantes Rameau ’07MM has been selected as one of seven fellows for the DeVos Institute of Arts Management’s 2021 cohort.

Flutist Catherine Ramirez ’02MM released several chamber music videos through a Professional Development Grant from St. Olaf College. Ramirez also won several opportunities through the Sphinx Organization for Latinx and Black orchestral musicians and will participate in the National Alliance for Audition Support’s (NAAS) Audition Intensives at the New World Symphony in Miami and at the Sphinx Orchestral Partners Auditions (SOPA) in Detroit.

Violinist Kate Ransom ’81MM will launch the Serafin Ensemble, which evolved from the Serafin String Quartet, in June. Ransom will also serve as Artistic Director for the Serafin Summer Music festival, which will be presented by the Serafin Ensemble in collaboration with the University of Delaware and The Music School of Delaware.

Rhona Rider

Cellist Rhonda Rider ’80MM is Head of Strings at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee. An Artist-in-Residence at Grand Canyon and Petrified Forest National Parks, she presented her solo cello commissions at UC Davis and Brandeis University. This summer she will hold a contemporary cello music seminar on a farm in upstate New York.

Soprano Natalia Rubiś ’17MMA sang the title role in Halka by Stanisław Moniuszko at the Wroclaw Opera House in Poland under the baton of Adam Banaszak.

Sharon Ruchman ’73MM wrote a memoir, The Gift of Rudy, and a piece for viola and piano, Another Time, to honor her great uncle Rudy Fuchs, a violinist who died at age 25.

Composer Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez ’91MM was a featured guest at Hong Kong Baptist University’s “The Keyboard in the 21st Century,” an international conference for composers, at the Mexico Remixed Festival at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, and at the Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition.

Tenor Rolando Sanz ’02MM ’03AD has taken on various large-scale projects as Executive Producer, including the world premiere of a new concept opera, I am Anne Hutchinson/I am Harvey Milk by Andrew Lippa, featuring the composer and Kristin Chenoweth.

Marco Sartor ’13MMA ’18DMA was appointed Assistant Teaching Professor of Guitar at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. He will start the position in the fall after three years on the faculty of the New World School of the Arts in Miami, Fla.

Organist Andrew Scanlon ’03MM was a clinician for the Royal School of Church Music Nigerian Training Course, held in Lagos, Nigeria, where he taught organ, choir training, theory, and conducting to organists and choirmasters from various parts of Africa and conducted the RSCM Nigeria National Choir at the closing performance of the conference.

Cellist Inbal Segev ’93CERT will premiere Anna Clyne’s cello concerto Dance in June with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Music Director Marin Alsop. Segev will record the concerto with Alsop and the London Philharmonic Orchestra in September.

Pianist Yury Shadrin’s ’08MM 2017-2018 season included appearances with the Philippines Philharmonic Orchestra, the Gilmore Festival Orchestra in Kalamazoo, a solo recital at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, and master classes in Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Nanning, China.

Bridge Records released Butterflies Remember a Mountain: Arlene Sierra, Vol. 3 in November, featuring the works of composer Arlene Sierra ’94MM. Gramophone praised the album as “a wonderful chamber music issue that enthralls from first bar to last.”

Inbal Segev

The Youth Symphonic Orchestra of Russia gave the world premiere of Across Differences by composer Alvie Singleton ’71MMA at the Zimnij Theatre in February as part of the Winter International Arts Festival.

Composer Caroline Shaw ’07MM and members of the Jasper String Quartet—violinist J Freivogel ’10AD, violist Sam Quintal ’10AD, and cellist Rachel Henderson Freivogel ’10AD—were featured in a concert at the American Music Festival in Morehead City, N.C.

James Austin Smith ’08MM was appointed Co-Principal Oboe of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and became Artistic and Executive Director of Tertulia Chamber Music, a series that presents concerts in restaurants in New York and San Francisco.

Conductor Anna Song ’00MM was awarded the 2018 Tom Hellie and Julie Olds Creative Achievement Award for her work as Artistic Director of In Mulieribus, an early music women’s vocal ensemble based in Portland, Ore. In Mulieribus released a new album in March titled Cycles of Eternity featuring contemporary works for women’s voices.

The Tel Aviv Philharmonic Choir premiered Out of the Whirlwind, a cantata for choir, soloists, and narrator by Max Stern MM at the Diaspora Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv in commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2019.

Double bassist Alexander Svensen ’10MM was appointed Principal Bassist of the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra. Svensen also retains his position as Assistant Principal Double Bassist of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra.

Composer Augusta Read Thomas MM will have several works premiered this season, including a work for string quartet and percussion quartet commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra for the opening of its Tanglewood Center for Music and Learning, and an opera, Sweet Potato Kicks the Sun, for the Santa Fe Opera.

Horn player Josh Thompson ’17MM ’18MMA will join the Washington, D.C.-based wind quintet District5.

In January, tubist Daniel Trahey ’03MM held a residency with the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional Juvenil, Chile’s national youth orchestra, where he worked with students, trained educators, and collaborated with professional orchestral musicians to collectively compose a new work based on civil rights issues in Latin America.

Composer Jay Wadley ’07MM ’08AD created the score for the upcoming Netflix series Tales of the City.

Composer Joseph Waters ’82MM presented pieces from his developing work El Colibrí Mágico (The Magic Hummingbird), an opera-musical about Honduran refugees attempting to cross the border, at The Cutting Room in New York City in November and at the NWEAMO Festival in San Diego in April.

Conductor Amanda Weber ’13MM accepted the position of Interim Director of Choral Ministries at Westminster Presbyterian Church in downtown Minneapolis, Minn. Weber also celebrated three years of directing the Voices of Hope Women’s Prison Choir, which she founded in October 2015 at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Shakopee.

Clarinetist Jason Weinberger ’97MM, Artistic Director of the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony in Iowa, recently founded the concert production company The New Live, which aims to bring sophisticated multimedia productions to orchestras and other presenters worldwide.

Pianist Amy Yang ’10AD performed as a guest artist with the Newport Symphony Orchestra in Newport News, Va. on a concert featuring Clara Schumann’s Piano Concerto and Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 1.

Pianist Clara Yang ’06MM ’07AD was featured as a guest artist with the Winston-Salem Symphony, playing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25 in C Major, K. 503.

Pianist Hanna Yukho ’17MMA hosted “Celebrate the Gift of Hearing with an Evening of Music” in Winchester, Mass., an event that raised money for Massachusetts Eye and Ear to aid research of causes and treatments for children with hearing loss.

Published May 17, 2019
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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.

PREVIEW CONCERT
YALE IN NEW YORK

Published March 20, 2019
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YSM Alumni News | November 2018

Molly Joyce. Photo by Nadine Sherman

Flutist Amanda Baker ’00MM returned to Yale in April 2018 to become Senior Associate Director for Young Alumni for the Yale Alumni Fund. She was also a guest lecturer this spring at the University of Hartford, where she taught “Entrepreneurship in the Arts,” and continues to teach flute at Eastern Connecticut State University.

Double Bassist Mark Elliot Bergman ’97MM received a Performing Arts Fellowship in Music from the Wyoming Arts Council, one of four recipients in the state. Bergman’s winning original compositions include Ondine, The Temple, and Shenandoah Suite, a string trio commemorating the 75th anniversary of the founding of Shenandoah National Park.

Violist Emily Grace Brandenburg ’17MMA was named Administrative Assistant at the McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University in Macon, Ga. MORE

Published November 7, 2018
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YSM Alumni News | September 2018

Reena Esmail. Photo by Rachel Garcia

Sandbox Percussion, a group comprised of Jonathan Allen ’13MM ’14AD, Victor Caccese ’13MM, Ian Rosenbaum ’10MM ’11AD, and Terry Sweeney ’15MM, recently signed on with Blu Ocean Arts Music Management company.

Hornist Jocelyn Crawford Carr ’08MM was appointed third horn of the Bangor Symphony Orchestra.

Composer Reena Esmail ’11MM ’14MMA ’18DMA has been elected to the executive board of New Music USA.

Pianists Juan Carlos Fernández-Nieto ’09MM ’10AD and Sun-A Park ’16AD ’17MMA participated in the Santander International Piano Competition in Spain. Park advanced to the semifinals, while Fernández-Nieto advanced to the finals and took home the Canon Audience Prize.

Guitarists Thomas Flippin ’07MM ’08AD and Christopher Mallett ’09MM, performing as Duo Noire, released an album called Night Triptych on New Focus Recordings. The album features several world-premiere recordings of newly commissioned works by women composers.

Keyboardist Stephen Gamboa ’16AD was named Music Director at Bethesda Lutheran Church in New Haven.

David Gier

David Gier ’85MM ’86MMA ’92DMA has been appointed Dean of the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theater & Dance. He was also named the Paul Boylan Collegiate Professor of Music.

Composers Trevor Gureckis ’07MM and Jay Wadley ’07MM ’08AD, founders of the artist collective Found Object Music Productions, have been nominated for an Emmy Award for their work on the sixth season of HBO’s VICE.

Conductor Ng Tian Hui ’10MM was named the conductor of the Pioneer Valley Symphony in Greenfield, Mass.

Pianist Wenbin Jin ’13MM ’15AD was awarded the Liszt Ferenc Society’s International Grand Prix du Disque for his Naxos recording of Liszt’s Grandes études, S. 137. An award ceremony will take place on Liszt’s birthday, October 24, in Budapest.

Pianist Fantee Jones ’18MMA, violinist Sissi Yuqing Zhang MMA, and violinist Kyung Min Lee ’17MM toured Asia this past summer as Ensemble Trois.

Clarinetist Emil Khudyev ’11MM received tenure at the Seattle Symphony & Opera Players’ Organization in June.

Soprano Jihee Kim ’11AD received third prize at the Riccardo Zandonai Competition this summer at the Musica Riva Festival in Italy.

Conductor Jahja Ling ’80MMA ’85DMA is the subject of an exhibition at the Bonita Museum and Cultural Center in California. Running through the end of September, the exhibition charts the highlights of Maestro Ling’s career and includes interactive elements to introduce visitors to the world of orchestral conducting.

Alasdair Neale. Photo by Lucy Gellman

Conductor Alasdair Neale ’85MM ’86MMA has been named Music Director of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, beginning in the 2019-2020 season.

Composer Tawnie Olson ’99MM ’00AD was awarded the 2018 Barlow Prize from the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition and will compose a new major work for SATB choir. The Barlow Endowment, based at Brigham Young University, also awarded composer Andy Akiho ’11MM a grant to compose a work for Sandbox Percussion.

Hilary Purrington ’17MMA is one of six composers whose work was played, workshopped, and recorded by the Philadelphia Orchestra under the direction of Assistant Conductor Kensho Watanabe ’09BS ’10MM.

Pianists Gabriele Strata ’19MM, Wenting Shi ’19MMA, and Yannick van de Velde ’20MMA took home awards from the Virtuoso & Belcanto Festival in Lucca, Italy. In the piano competition, Strata won first prize and Shi won third prize. Shi and van de Velde won first prize in the chamber music competition for their piano four-hands performance of The Rite of Spring.

 

Published September 7, 2018
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YSM Alumni News | July 2018

Samuel Adams

Composer Samuel Adams ’10MM had a new chamber concerto premiered by violinist Karen Gomyo and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. His Movements (for us and them) will be performed by the Australian Chamber Orchestra on tours of Australia and the United States this summer.

Guitarist Trevor Babb ’12MM ’14MMA was appointed adjunct artist in guitar at Vassar College and will begin that role in the fall.

Hornist Luke Baker ’18MM, bassoonist Matthew Gregoire ’17MM, and double bassist Kaden Henderson ’17MM ’18MMA will join The Orchestra Now at the beginning of the 2018-2019 season.

Composer, pianist, and organist Calvin Bowman ’99MMA ’05DMA was signed to Decca/Universal Music Australia, which will release a recording of his songs called Real and Right and True in July.

Sarah Boxmeyer ’16MM won the position of associate principal/third horn of the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra. Boxmeyer played with the orchestra for much of the 2017-2018 season and will begin her first full season in September.

Conductor John Concklin ’08MM received a one-year appointment as associate professor of conducting at the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University.

Kevin Dombrowski ’14MM won the position of second trombonist of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and will begin playing with the orchestra in October.

Percussionist Timothy Feeney ’01MM ’02MMA ’07DMA was appointed to a full-time faculty position as a percussion artist at the Herb Alpert School of Music at California Institute of the Arts.

Timothy Gocklin ’14MM ’15AD was appointed artist-in-residence in oboe at the University of Northern Colorado.

Romie de Guise-Langlois

Romie de Guise-Langlois ’06MM ’07AD was appointed assistant professor of clarinet at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Violinist Ethan Hoppe ’16MM ’18MMA will join the New World Symphony for the 2018-2019 season.

Guitarist Sharon Isbin ’78BA ’79MM is serving as director of classical guitar at the Aspen Music Festival this summer, teaching, giving master classes, and performing.

Organist Paul Jacobs ’02MM AD recently joined the Philadelphia Orchestra on its tour of Europe and Israel. Jacobs’ recent solo engagements also include performances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and The Cleveland Orchestra.

Conductor Farkhad Khudyev ’10MM, the third prize-winner at the eighth annual Sir Georg Solti International Conducting Competition in 2017, received a 2018 Solti Foundation Career Assistance Award.

Pianist Henry Kramer ’13AD ’19DMA was named the L. Rexford Whiddon Distinguished Chair in Piano at the Joyce and Henry Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University.

Violinist Cheuk Yin Luu ’18MM won a position in the first violin section of the Buffalo Philharmonic and will begin playing with the orchestra in September.

Missy Mazzoli ’06MM was named the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s new Mead Composer-in-Residence. Music Director Riccardo Muti appointed Mazzoli to a two-year term.

Bassoonist Marissa Olegario ’15MM was appointed assistant professor of music at the University of Arizona’s Fred Fox School of Music for the 2018-2019 academic year. Olegario will teach bassoon and perform in the Arizona Wind Quintet, a faculty ensemble.

Choral conductor Sarah Paquet ’16MM was appointed assistant director of choral activities and lecturer in music in the Smith College Music Department and will begin in the fall.

Trombonist Matthew Russo ’12MM joined the S. E. Shires Company’s artist roster.

Kate Sheeran

Hornist Kate Sheeran ’04MM was named executive director of the Kaufman Music Center, effective in August 2018. Sheeran previously served as provost and dean at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

James Austin Smith ’08MM joined the faculty at Stony Brook University as interim visiting artist-in-residence of oboe.

Flutist Leo Sussman ’18MM will join Ensemble Connect in September.

Guitarist An T. Tran ’16MM was awarded first prize at the University of Rhode Island’s Rising Stars Competition.

Pianist Yevgeny Yontov ’14MM ’20DMA was appointed to a one-year assistant professorship as instructor of piano in the College of Musical Arts at Bowling Green State University. Yontov will begin in mid-August and will teach piano and collaborative piano and coach chamber music.

Pianist Joon Yoon ’16MM was awarded the Guildhall School’s (London) Gold Medal, the school’s most prestigious prize for outstanding soloists.

Published July 9, 2018
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Prizes awarded at annual Honors Banquet

Dean Robert Blocker

On Sunday, May 6, YSM Dean Robert Blocker told graduating students that he looks forward to hearing their music in venues around the world. The occasion was the School’s annual Honors Banquet, which was held this year at the Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale. Attendees included students and alumni, faculty and staff, YSM board members Mary Beth Buck, Walter Buck, and Stephanie Yu Lim, and emeritus staff and faculty members Rosemary Gould, Gene Kimball, Judy Long, and Mary-Jo Warren. Aimlee Laderman, whose late husband Ezra Laderman was a longtime member of the School’s composition faculty and from 1989 to 1995 served as Dean, was also in attendance.

Blocker announced that the Ian Mininberg Distinguished Service Award would be presented at Commencement, as this year’s recipient, composer Lori Laitman ’76MM, was unable to attend the Honors Banquet, at which the award is traditionally conferred. Blocker congratulated students who won or placed at competitions this year and acknowledged YSM’s Music in Schools Initiative, whose leadership — Director Rubén Rodríguez ’11MM, Associate Dean Michael Yaffe, and Yaffe’s assistant, Rachel Glodo — was recognized by the University in April with an Ivy Award for the work the program does at Yale and in the New Haven community. “Yale has no finer community engagement program than Music in Schools,” Blocker said.

At the end of the night, Blocker expressed his gratitude to students, faculty, and staff for a wonderful year. “As one who at different moments has been touched by your talent and compassion,” he said, “I want to thank you on behalf of a wider audience.”


The following student prizes were presented during the Honors Banquet.

Brass and Woodwinds

The Thomas Daniel Nyfenger Memorial Prize, which is awarded to a graduating student who has demonstrated the highest standard of excellence in woodwind playing, was presented to oboist Lauren Williams. The John Swallow Prize, which is given to an outstanding brass player whose artistry and dedication have contributed to the department, was awarded to trombonist Zachary Haas.

Left to right: Dean Robert Blocker, Director of Choral Conducting Marguerite Brooks, Joseph Kemper, and Professor of Choral Conducting Jeffrey Douma

Left to right: Dean Robert Blocker, Director of Choral Conducting Marguerite Brooks, Joseph Kemper, and Professor of Choral Conducting Jeffrey Douma

Choral Conducting

The inaugural Robert Shaw Prize, given in honor of the renowned American choral conductor and awarded to a choral conducting major in the School of Music chosen by the choral conducting faculty for distinguished achievement, was presented to Joseph Kemper.

Composition

The Woods Chandler Memorial Prize for the best composition in a larger form written during the year was awarded to Krists Auznieks. The Rena Greenwald Memorial Prize for the best piano composition written during the year went to Alishan Gezgin. The John Day Jackson Prize for outstanding chamber music compositions written for strings with or without other instruments was presented to Fjóla Evans. The Frances E. Osborne Kellogg Memorial Prize for the best composition written in a contrapuntal style was given to Liliya Ugay. And the Ezra Laderman Prize for the best compositions written for musical theater or voice was awarded to Sophie Cash-Goldwasser and Eli Greenhoe.

Dean Robert Blocker, Sophie Cash-Goldwasser, Eli Greenhoe, and Professor of Composition Martin Bresnick

Left to right: Dean Robert Blocker, Sophie Cash-Goldwasser, Eli Greenhoe, and Professor of Composition Martin Bresnick

Guitar

The Eliot Fisk Prize, which is given to an outstanding guitarist whose artistic achievement and dedication have contributed greatly to the department, was awarded to Gunnlaugur Björnsson.

Organ

The Charles Ives Prize, which is awarded to an outstanding organ major, went to Diana Chou. The Julia R. Sherman Memorial Prize for excellence in organ playing was awarded to Matthew Daley.

Piano

The Charles S. Miller Prize, which is given to a gifted pianist who has done outstanding work during the first year of study, was awarded to Gabriele Strata. The Elizabeth Parisot Prize, which goes to outstanding pianists in the School of Music, was awarded to Dong Won Lee and Yannick Van de Velde.

Strings

The Georgina Lucy Grosvenor Memorial Prize, which is awarded to the violist in the graduating class whose performances while at Yale have exhibited the highest potential for success as a soloist or chamber musician in the field, was given to Julia Clancy. The Aldo Parisot Prize, which is awarded to gifted cellists who show promise for a concert career, was presented to Samuel DeCaprio and Bitnalee Pong. The Broadus Erle Prize, which is given to outstanding violinists in the School of Music, went to Laura Park, Alyssa Blackstone, and Dhyani Heath.

Voice

The David L. Kasdon Memorial Prize, which is awarded to an outstanding singer in the School of Music, went to Stephen Clark. The Smriti Deb Memorial Prize, which is given to an outstanding graduating singer who best reflects and exemplifies the ideals and values of Smriti Deb and her commitment to teaching low-income and underrepresented children, was awarded to Sylvia D’Eramo. And the Phyllis Curtin Career Entry Prize, whose purpose is to assist in launching the career of a graduating voice student who demonstrates exceptional talent as an artist and promise for professional success, was awarded to Bryan Murray.

Doctor of Musical Arts

The Friedmann Thesis Prize, which is awarded to a DMA candidate whose thesis is notable for its distinguished research, original perspective, in-depth engagement with its subject, and well-crafted presentation, was presented to composer Krists Auznieks.

Left to right: Dean Robert Blocker, Deputy Dean Melvin Chen, Sophiko Simsive, Leo Sussman, Scott Leger, Liliya Ugay, Director of Admissions and Alumni Affairs Donna You, Bora Kim, Sarah Saturnino, and James Simon Lee

Left to right: Dean Robert Blocker, Deputy Dean Melvin Chen, Sophiko Simsive, Leo Sussman, Scott Leger, Liliya Ugay, Director of Admissions and Alumni Affairs Donna Yoo, Bora Kim, Sarah Saturnino, and James Simon Lee

School

The Malcolm L. Mitchell and Donald M. Roberts, Class of 1957 Prize, which is given to an outstanding graduating teaching artist in the Music in Schools Initiative, was awarded to flutist Helen Hye Jin Park. The Philip Francis Nelson Prize, which is awarded to a graduating student whose musicianship is outstanding and who demonstrates curiosity, talent, and the entrepreneurial spirit in the many dimensions of the music profession, was presented to violist Florrie Marshall. The Presser Foundation Music Award, which is awarded to an outstanding returning student to advance his or her music education, went to Shawn Hutchison. And the Yale School of Music Alumni Association Prize, which is awarded to graduating students who have not only excelled in their respective fields but have also made important contributions to the general life of the School, was presented to clarinetist Graeme Johnson, violinist Bora Kim, choral conductor James Simon Lee, hornist Scott Leger, mezzo-soprano Sarah Saturnino, pianist Sophiko Simsive, flutist Leo Sussman, and composer Liliya Ugay.

Photos by Harold Shapiro.

Published May 8, 2018
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YSM alumni take home Grammy Awards

The National’s “Sleep Well Beast”

Several Yale School of Music alumni won Grammy Awards on Sunday, Jan. 28. Please join us in congratulating the following musicians on this exciting accomplishment.

Guitarist Bryce Dessner ’99MM won as a member of The National, whose album Sleep Well Beast won in the “Best Alternative Music Album” category.

Saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom ’77MM earned an award as a surround producer in the “Best Surround Sound Album” category for her Early Americans.

Violinists Irene Cheng ’94MM and Louis Lev ’90MM and trombonist Rebecca Cherian ’81MM won as members of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in the “Best Orchestral Performance” category for the ensemble’s recording of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 and Barber’s Adagio for Strings. For that recording, which was engineered by Mark Donahue, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra also won in the “Best Engineered Album, Classical” category.

Violinists Maureen Nelson ’00MM and Kayla Moffett ’13MM and cellist Joshua Koestenbaum ’80MM won as members of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra in the “Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance” category for the ensemble’s Death and the Maiden album, which features music by Dowland, Gesualdo, Kurtág, Normiger, and Schubert.

Published January 29, 2018
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YSM now accepting applications for fall 2018 enrollment

Violinist Wynton Grant ’17MM. Photo by Matt Fried

The School of Music is now accepting applications for enrollment in fall 2018. “We have openings in all areas, including the tuba and harpsichord studios and the orchestral conducting program,” Donna Yoo, YSM’s director of admissions and alumni affairs, said. “It is unusual for us to have available spaces across all programs, and we are looking forward to welcoming new students to all areas of study.”

The Admissions Office anticipates interest in the School’s revamped B.A./M.M. program, which is now open to applications from high-school seniors. The program, Yoo said, “should appeal to students who are interested in pursuing both academic and musical excellence at an Ivy League institution.”

The School will announce available fellowship opportunities in December. These would include openings in the string quartet fellowship program and the recently launched collaborative piano program. Applications for the Morse Postgraduate Teaching Artist Fellowship will also be accepted starting in December.

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Published September 15, 2017
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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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