[ concerts ]

Michael Compitello, percussion, offers DMA recital Sep. 17

Mike Compitello | photo by Matt Fried

Mike Compitello | photo by Matt Fried

Percussionist Michael Compitello will perform music by Xenakis, Golijov, and more in his DMA recital on Thursday, September 17. The performance, which also features cellist Hannah Collins, takes place at 7:30 pm in Morse Recital Hall.

The program includes three works for solo percussion: Tonia Ko’s Blue Skin of the Sea, Georges Aperghis’ Le Corps à Corps, and Iannis Xenakis’ Psappha.

Compitello will also perform with fellow YSM graduate Hannah Collins as part of New Morse Code, a cello/percussion duo. New Morse Code was inspired by pieces such as Nick Didkovsky’s Caught by the Sky with Wire and Osvaldo Golijov’s tragic ballad Mariel, both of which are on Thursday’s program. In addition, New Morse Code will perform Tonia Ko’s Hush, written expressly for them. MORE

Published September 15, 2015
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[ alumni ]

Percussion alumni win orchestra, faculty appointments


Ji Hye Jung

Ji Hye Jung ’09 MM was appointed Associate Professor of Percussion at Vanderbilt University. For the past six years, she has been Associate Professor of Percussion at the University of Kansas.

That newly open position at the University of Kansas will be filled by Michael Compitello ’09MM, ’12MMA, who has been serving as Director of Percussion at Cornell University.

Mike Compitello | photo by Matt Fried

Mike Compitello | photo by Matt Fried


Georgi Videnov

In addition, Georgi Videnov ’15 MM was recently appointed Assistant Timpanist and Percussionist in the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for the 2015–2016 season. MORE

Published May 15, 2015
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[ alumni ]

Alumni duo New Morse Code receives grant from Chamber Music America

New Morse Code

New Morse Code

The cello/percussion duo New Morse Code has been awarded a 2014 Classical Commissioning Grant from Chamber Music America. The duo — made up of percussionist Michael Compitello ’09MM, ’12MMA and cellist Hannah Collins ’08MM, ’09AD — will work with composer Christopher Stark on a new piece for cello, percussion, and electronics.

The grant will support the creation of this new piece, which will be premiered in the 2015–2016 season. Called The Language of Landscapes, Stark’s composition will leverage the unique sonic terrain of cello and percussion—transforming real and imagined landscapes into compelling musical spaces.

The journey created in the piece will begin with Michael’s Southwest desert home, traveling through the deciduous hills of upstate New York (Hannah’s home) and finally towards the wide sky of Christopher’s northern Rockies.


Published October 1, 2014
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Michael Compitello appointed to Cornell University faculty

Michael Compitello ’09MM, ’12MMA has been appointed Interim Lecturer in Percussion at Cornell University, where he will direct Cornell’s percussion ensembles—the Cornell University Steel Band and the World Drum and Dance Ensemble—and coordinate the school’s percussion department.

This fall, Compitello is also Interim Lecturer in Percussion at UMass Amherst, where he teaches private lessons and directs the school’s percussion ensemble.

An advocate for new expressions in music and art, Michael Compitello has worked with composers David Lang, John Luther Adams, Martin Bresnick, Helmut Lachenmann, Alejandro Viñao, and Marc Applebaum on premieres and performances of new works, and has performed as a chamber musician and soloist in such diverse locations as the Darmstadt Summer Course, the Banff Centre, and the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. MORE

Published September 10, 2012
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Feb. 13 concert features music of Martin Bresnick

“Bresnick is a major voice.”
–Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times

The Faculty Artist Series at the Yale School of Music presents a concert of music by the award-winning composer Martin Bresnick on Monday, February 13. Featuring performances by pianist Robert Blocker, the acclaimed piano-cello duo TwoSense, and alumni of the School of Music, the concert is a tribute to Bresnick’s thirty years on the Yale faculty. Bresnick, a professor of composition, is also the coordinator of the composition department at the School of Music.

“Bresnick’s legacy as a teacher is secure,” writes John Schaefer on emusic, “but it has threatened to overshadow the fact that Bresnick can just flat-out write.” As evidence of this, Bresnick also the winner of such prestigious awards as the Rome Prize, a Fulbright grant, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, among many others.

The piano-cello duo TwoSense, featuring Bang-on-a-Can All-Stars Ashley Bathgate (’07 MM, ’08 AD), cello and Lisa Moore, piano, will open the concert with “Ballade,” an homage to Brahms. Bathgate will join with violinist Sarita Kwok (’06 AD, ’09 DMA) to perform “Bird as Prophet” (1999), a piece that Fanfare Magazine considers “an expansive yet concentrated power of expression.”

Robert Blocker, the dean of the Yale School of Music, will perform “Strange Devotion,” a movement from Bresnick’s collection “Caprichos Enfaticos” (inspired by Francisco Goya’s masterful series of paintings, Los Destastres de la Guerra).

Percussionists Robert van Sice (a YSM faculty member) and Ian Rosenbaum (’10 MM, ’11 AD) will join with pianist Moore to perform the double concerto “Grace.” In the piece, writes Anthony Tommasini in the New York Times, “extended passages of halting rhythms and quizzical restraint are broken up with bursts of precise and telling gestures.”


Published January 20, 2012
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Playing David Lang’s the so-called laws of nature

This is the last in a series of three guest posts by Michael Compitello ’11MMA, a member of the Yale Percussion Group.
Part I
Part II

Playing the so-called laws of nature

Members of the Yale Percussion Group

During the spring semester and into the summer, we in the Yale Percussion Group have been working with David Lang, one of the founders of Bang on Can and a faculty member at the Yale School of Music, on a new interpretation of his seminal percussion quartet, the so-called laws of nature. Come and join us at 7:30 pm June 22nd at Galapagos Art Space in Dumbo, Brooklyn!

Playing the so-called laws of nature is an unforgettable but unforgiving experience. Since what we and feel when we play is so personal, I can only offer my own experiences. For an excellent discussion of performance issues in the second part, check out So Percussion’s video on the website of drumstick manufacturer Vic Firth.)

One of the most difficult aspects of performing the so-called laws is a large factor in what makes the piece so compelling: the physical, almost theatrical setup of the quartet on the stage. Rather than positioning ourselves in an arc or semi-circle, David asks that the quartet present each movement in a line. In the first and third parts, we stand facing the audience, while in the second part, the group stands in profile, accentuating the visual and musical canon. Although this arrangement presents us — as David asks — as “four soloists playing (almost) the same virtuosic solo at (almost) the same time,” the loss of sight lines and the added distance complicate our efforts to play together. This is especially true in the second part, when each player is progressively displaced by one eighth note. When I played this movement, I memorized the composite rhythm — the simultaneous rhythm of all four parts — as a way to help me keep my place, using the staggered entrances of the different pipes and certain melodic fragments as way-points in lieu of normal visual cues. MORE

Published June 15, 2011
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Getting ready to play

This is the second of three guest posts in a series by Michael Compitello ’11MMA, a member of the Yale Percussion Group

Part I

Getting Ready

Unlike most instrumentalists, percussionists are rarely able to get a new piece of music and immediately begin practicing. Outside of marimba solos, we must usually go through a kind of hunting and gathering, finding the required instruments and mallets and positioning them into a newly constructed altar devoted to this new piece. Only then may we begin to explore. At the same time, a composer’s specificity about which instruments and mallets to use could mean that the same piece could sounds light-years apart in the hands of different percussionists. While some composers are almost stiflingly specific about instruments (“a 12-inch tom-tom tuned to a B-flat that rings for approximately 3 seconds when struck with a 6mm knitting needle” and so on), others are very general, asking for “a tom tom” or “woodblock.” David’s music lies is somewhere in-between these two, asking us to take care with some of the parameters, but to use our intuition with others: in the second movement of the so-called laws, each player needs seven specific pitches of pipe, but in the third movement, any 9 “small and fragile sounding” teacups will work. MORE

Published June 14, 2011
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Michael Compitello on playing David Lang

This is the first of three guest posts in a series by Michael Compitello ’11MMA, a member of the Yale Percussion Group

My name is Michael Compitello, and I’m a percussion student at the Yale School of Music, and a member of the Yale Percussion Group. On June 22nd, we’re playing a concert at Galapagos Art Space in Dumbo, Brooklyn, that features David Lang’s percussion quartet the so-called laws of nature. Because we’re so excited about this concert, I thought I could offer some thoughts as an introduction to us and the piece, and what this music is like to prepare, rehearse, and perform.

I’ve loved David Lang’s music from the first time I heard it.  As a high-schooler aggressively inhaling any music I could find, David’s “Cheating, Lying Stealing” made me hit the severely underutilized “repeat” button on my Discman.  To someone with little experience in contemporary music beyond The Rite of Spring, something about the sound of David’s language felt relevant to me, while with repeated listening the way in which his music created form struck me as aggressively interesting.  From that point on, I launched the most sophisticated musical investigation I could muster.  Discovering what David, Michael Gordon, and Julia Wolfe had done with Bang on a Can was a step towards what has become my obsession with all kinds of contemporary music, and I consumed willingly and indiscriminately.  Since then, I’ve been lucky to have the chance to play a lot of great music and explore many different cultures of contemporary music in Europe and the US, but I’ll never forget the impact that just one piece had on me.

Because of the pivotal role his music played in my self-education, I have always jumped at the chance to play any piece of David’s.  The opportunity to work with him on the so-called laws of nature, which is not only an amazing piece, but an amazing piece written for percussion instruments, has been insightful and inspiring. MORE

Published June 13, 2011
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Michael Compitello ’09MM receives Fulbright

Michael Compitello, a graduate of the Yale School of Music, has been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student scholarship to Germany in Musical Instrument Training, the United States Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board announced. Compitello, a percussionist, is one of over 1,500 U.S. citizens who is traveling abroad for the 2009-2010 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Compitello was a 2009 recipient of the Yale School of Music Alumni Association Prize.

The Fulbright Program, America’s flagship international educational exchange program, is sponsored by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has provided approximately 294,000 people – 111,000 Americans who have studied, taught or researched abroad and 183,000 students, scholars and teachers from other countries who have engaged in similar activities in the United States – with the opportunity to observe each others’ political, economic, educational and cultural institutions, to exchange ideas and to embark on joint ventures of importance to the general welfare of the world’s inhabitants. The Program operates in over 155 countries worldwide. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. MORE

Published December 8, 2009
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