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Peter Oundjian leads the Yale Philharmonia in Wagner, Korngold, Brahms April 10

Benjamin Hoffman, violin

Benjamin Hoffman, violin

The Yale School of Music presents a concert featuring guest conductor Peter Oundjian and the Philharmonia Orchestra of Yale on Friday, April 10. Award-winning violinist Benjamin Hoffman is also featured on the program, which includes music of Wagner, Korngold, and Brahms. TICKETS

The concert opens with Wagner‘s Overture to Tannhäuser. The opera’s overture is its most famous section: the shimmering, dramatic chords give way to a series of thrilling and expansive themes that, like many of Wagner’s overtures, can easily stand alone.

Second on the program is the Violin Concerto in D major by Hollywood film composer Erich Korngold, featuring violin soloist Benjamin Hoffman, a winner of the Woolsey Concerto Competition. The Moravian-born Korngold once vowed never to write music outside of film until Hitler was defeated; after the end of WWII in 1945, the violin concerto was the first concert piece he wrote. MORE

Published March 27, 2015
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St. Lawrence String Quartet performs Mozart, John Adams, and more April 3

Adams composed his String Quartet expressly for SLSQ

The Yale School of Music presents the St. Lawrence String Quartet in concert on Tuesday, April 3. “The St. Lawrence,” writes The New Yorker, “are remarkable not simply for the quality of their music making, exalted as it is, but for the joy they take in the act of connection.” The concert, which features string quartets of Mozart, Korngold, and John Adams, takes place at 8 pm in Morse Recital Hall.

The concert opens with Mozart’s String Quartet in D minor, K. 421, the only minor-key piece in the set that Mozart dedicated to his teacher Haydn. Next is the lyrical, String Quartet No. 3 of Erich Korngold, a composer best known for his career scoring films for Hollywood. But with this piece, written in 1946, Korngold turn his attention back to the world of concert music for the first time in many years.

After hearing the SLSQ in concert, composer John Adams was inspired to write for them. The result was his String Quartet, which the SLSQ premiered in 2009 and will perform as the finale of this concert. “The piece is a knockout,” raved the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Thanks to the St. Lawrence… so was the performance.”

The St. Lawrence String Quartet (SLSQ) – Geoff Nuttall and Scott St. John, violins; Lesley Robertson, viola; and Christopher Costanza, cello – last appeared at Yale in 1995. Since then, as the Globe and Mail noted, “…this group has matured and deepened without losing its freshness and edge.” The Seattle Post-Intelligencer called one concert “Stylistically impeccable, with superb ensemble work, beautiful tone and expressiveness… as fine a performance as I could ever hope to hear.” MORE

Published March 6, 2012
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Wendy Sharp performs music of Beethoven, Bielawa, and more

Nov. 6 concert also features pianist Joel Wizansky

The Yale School of Music’s Faculty Artist Series presents Wendy Sharp, violin, and Joel Wizansky, piano in concert on Sunday, November 6th at 4 pm. The program brings together music related to words in various ways, from a suite based on Shakespeare to a piece incorporating narration.

The concert opens with the brief Scherzo by Johannes Brahms based on a motive of the pitches F, A, and E. Next comes a suite of incidental music for Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing.” The suite is an early work by Erich Korngold, who went on to become a leading composers of film music.

The first half closes with a piece by 2009 Prix de Rome recipient and Yale alumna Lisa Bielawa. Her “Meditations” for solo violin are drawn from her larger work, “The Lay of Love and Death,” whose name and texts come from Rainer Maria Rilke’s epic poem contemplating the loss of innocence. The composer will recite Rilke’s poetry between the movements for solo violin.

The second half of the program features Beethoven’s virtuosic and passionate “Kreutzer” Sonata in A major, Op. 47. This sonata is considered, along with the Third Symphony, to demonstrate the beginnings of Beethoven’s revolutionary turn to the Romantic. Among the many artists who have been inspired by this sonata is Leo Tolstoy, whose novella The Kreutzer Sonata in turn inspired a painting, a play, and several film adaptations.

Admission to the performance is free. For more information, visit music.yale.edu or contact the Yale School of Music concert office at 203 432-4158.


Wendy Sharp, award-winning violinist, performs frequently as a recitalist and a chamber musician. In demand as a teacher and chamber music coach, she is on the faculties of the Yale School of Music and California Summer Music, and maintains a private studio.  For nearly a decade, Ms. Sharp was the first violinist and a founding member of the Franciscan String Quartet. As a member of the quartet she toured the USA, Canada, Europe, and Asia, and was honored with many awards including first prize in the Banff International String Quartet Competition and the Press and City of Evian prizes at the Evian International String Quartet Competition. A native of the San Francisco Bay area, she attended Yale University, graduating summa cum laude with distinction in music, and received her Master of Music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Ms. Sharp has served on the faculties of the Mannes College of Music, Dartmouth College, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and Choate Rosemary Hall, and has participated in the Aspen, Tanglewood, Chamber Music West, Norfolk, Britten-Pears, and Music Academy of the West festivals. Ms. Sharp is currently the director of chamber music at the Yale School of Music, where she has also served on the violin faculty since 1997.

Joel Wizansky is acclaimed by audiences and musicians alike for his combination of fiery intensity and probing musicianship. The Washington Post wrote of his “emotional and rich performance, sparkling runs, beautiful phrasing, and dramatic interpretation.” After his debut with the San Francisco Symphony at age 17, he went on to win numerous awards, including first prize in the Helen Hart International Piano Competition and the Yale Gordon Competition and fifth prize in the Marguerite Long International Competition. He has performed frequently in recital and with orchestras in the United States, Europe, Taiwan, and Korea and has been heard in broadcast performances in New York, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Chicago. His first solo compact disc, “A Brahms Recital,” was released in 2001 on the MRC label. He is also a noted chamber musician and collaborator, and has performed in duo recitals at Carnegie Hall, the National Concert Hall in Taipei, and many other venues. He has served on the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory and is currently a staff pianist at the Yale School of Music.

Composer and vocalist Lisa Bielawa is a 2009 Rome Prize winner in musical composition. She moved to New York two weeks after receiving her B.A. in literature in 1990 from Yale University, and became an active participant in New York musical life. She frequently takes inspiration for her work from literary sources and close artistic collaborations. Gramophone reports, “Bielawa is gaining gale force as a composer, churning out impeccably groomed works that at once evoke the layered precision of Vermeer and the conscious recklessness of Jackson Pollock,” and The New York Times describes her music as “ruminative, pointillistic, and harmonically slightly tart.”

Published October 18, 2011
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