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Yale Opera’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ to chase midwinter’s chill

midsummerNew Haven Register | By Joe Amarante

When Yale Opera honcho Doris Yarick-Cross signed a director for the School of Music’s big February production, she didn’t just get a big name, but one with a pedigree that, it turns out, inspired the show’s Norwegian conductor when he was a boy.

Director Claudia Solti is the daughter of late-great conductor Georg Solti and former BBC presenterValerie Pitts. Sir Georg is best known for his work with opera companies in Europe and as longtime music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. His daughter is making her Yale Opera debut with this opera about “the fickle nature of romantic love,” as she put it.

And in a release, Yarick-Cross said she chose Bergmann because, “I was convinced that his joyous, convincing and skillful handling of the orchestra was exactly what was needed for our production.”

The new production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Benjamin Britten’s atmospheric opera adapted from Shakespeare’s revered play, will take place Feb. 19-21 at the Shubert Theatre on College Street. MORE

Published February 12, 2016
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Imani Winds’ music of the dance blows into Yale Tuesday

imani_windsNew Haven Register | By Joe Amarante

Wind quintet Imani Winds played an engaging and impressively precise concert at Long Wharf Theatre during the International Festival of Arts & Ideas in June, one that conveyed a “Passion for Bach and Coltrane.”

Some fans have this coming Tuesday’s date circled on the calendar, when the Jeff Scott-led quintet will return to New Haven for a Yale School of Music concert celebrating dance in Morse Recital Hall at Sprague Memorial Hall on College Street, as part of the Oneppo Chamber Music Series.

The 7:30 p.m. concert will feature a variety of music from multiple Latin American composers, Imani members and traditional dance music, notes a Yale release. Tickets start at $26, although student tickets are $13. Call 203-432-4158 or visit the box office at 470 College St. MORE

Published December 4, 2015
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Guilford’s New Duke to jazz it up at New Haven’s Sprague Hall

newdukeNew Haven Register | By Lisa Reisman

NEW HAVEN >> Abstract. Avant garde. Impenetrable.

It’s how a lot of people view jazz. And Guilford musician Brian Torff wants to change that.

Torff is the musical director and arranger for New Duke, an accomplished eight-piece band that infuses the work of legendary composer, bandleader and pianist Duke Ellington into funk, hip-hop, rock, reggae and other contemporary sounds. The ensemble will be performing at Yale’s Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Hall on the evening of Friday, Dec. 4 in a concert presented by the Yale School of Music.

“Duke’s blend of melodies, rhythms, and sonic movements gave audiences a new experience—complex yet accessible jazz that made the heart swing,” said Torff, a bassist whose musical chops have taken him to Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and the Kennedy Center, in a telephone interview. “You can’t replicate his music, but you can build on it in new ways, and that’s what we try to do.” MORE

Published December 3, 2015
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Willie Ruff among Greater New Haven Arts Council honorees

Willie Ruff

Willie Ruff

New Haven Register | By Joe Amarante

There’s something special about the art of Susan Clinard, who is quick to point out that there’s something very special about art in general — as a powerful tool for self- and world-awareness. Wood sculptor Clinard, who has created a notable body of work in her artist residency at Eli Whitney Museum and Workshop, will be one of six people and organizations honored at the annual Arts Council of Greater New Haven Awards and Luncheon Dec. 4 at the New Haven Lawn Club.[…]

The Arts Council has been host to the annual Arts Awards for three-plus decades. And speaking of long commitments, the C. Newton Schenck III Award for Lifetime Achievement (and Contributions to the Arts) will go to Willie Ruff, an accomplished and Yale-educated jazz musician who has also served the community as an educator at Yale, writer (about classical composer Paul Hindemith, who was a teacher of his at Yale, and about his experiences with jazz composers Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn) and ambassador (his Mitchell-Ruff Duo was the first jazz band to play in the Soviet Union and China). MORE

Published December 1, 2015
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Yale School of Music’s gifted musicians a click away — via live streaming

Gene Kimball in the Fred Plaut Recording Studio. Photo by Peter Hvizdak, New Haven Register

Gene Kimball in the Fred Plaut Recording Studio. Photo by Peter Hvizdak, New Haven Register

NEW HAVEN » Yale’s stream of concert-ness has become a torrent of sorts.

As a new semester of music emanates from the Yale School of Music’s students and faculty, a well-resourced group of Yale techs is again taking advantage of a fast current to live-stream those classical music performances. The growing service is enhanced by new technology and high-seed Internet in homes.

Since 2010, when clarinetist Sara Wollmacher’s 95-year-old grandmother Julia Wollmacher watched her degree recital online from far away, relatives of Yale musicians have been able to watch performances in New Haven from points worldwide. The individual recitals require a password, but about 70 concerts a year of Yale Philharmonia, Yale Concert Band and other musicians are available, live and free, to anyone who clicks on the Yale site as they’re happening. A distribution company makes sure the stream works in different formats (iPad, Windows, etc.). MORE

Published September 1, 2015
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Yale School of Music Norfolk Chamber Music Fest opens

bermanBy Joe Amarante | New Haven Register

A 75-minute drive to the hills of western Connecticut, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival begins its summer run of chamber music for the 74th time this week, presented by the Yale School of Music and including internationally known ensembles and chamber musicians alongside students and young professionals.

At 8 p.m. Friday at the Norfolk Festival Music Shed, pianist Boris Berman and Norfolk Festival Artists and Fellows will perform Mozart’s “Quintet for Piano and Winds” (which Mozart considered to be the best work he ever composed), as well as his “Adagio and Rondo for Glass Harmonica.” Also on the program is Franck’s “Piano Quintet.” MORE

Published July 9, 2015
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International voices, raised in song this week at Yale Choral Fest

New Haven Register | By Joe Amarante

Entrevoces of Cuba

NEW HAVEN >> You may not be born a fan of choruses, but you should acquire the musical taste after you’ve heard enough of them.

And the Elm City will present that opportunity with five days in choral heaven starting Tuesday, when Yale’s International Choral Festival rolls out nightly as a side offering of the International Festival of Arts & Ideas.

All events are at lovely Morse Recital Hall in Yale’s Sprague Hall on College Street, except for Saturday’s grand finale (see below). Tickets to all shows are $45 in advance, $50 day of the show (but the Saturday event is free). MORE

Published June 17, 2015
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NewMusic4us Sunday at Firehouse 12 in New Haven


Miki Sawada ’14MM

New Haven Register | By Joe Amarante

A while back, we told you about Music Haven’s successful Kickstarter campaign that led to funding NewMusic4us, and now there’s a concert to celebrate the result.

The Second Movement, the producer, presents New Haven Piano Trios (led by adult musicians Miki Sawada ’14AD, Melanie Clapies ’14MM and Yan Levionnois) playing music that includes two world premiere pieces commissioned for Music Haven’s young students. The concert will be at 3 p.m. Sunday at Firehouse 12, 45 Crown St.

“So far, we’ve received three commissioned pieces out of the four we fundraised for NewMusic4us,” said Sawada in an email, “and Music Haven teachers (myself included) have spent dozens of hours teaching the new music to the students. Yale School of Music’s Martin Bresnick has finished his piece for NewMusic4us and will be presenting it to the students at the concert.” MORE

Published April 8, 2015
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Violins, voices and African rhythms mark Yale in New York season


Brentano String Quartet

By Joe Amarante, New Haven Register

The recently announced eighth year of Yale in New York at Carnegie Hall will bring a world of variety: composer John Adams conducting the Yale Philharmonia and Brentano QuartetYale Opera performing music from Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library; and the Yale Percussion Group unveiling rhythms it collected this spring on a trip to Ghana alongside Mauricio Kagel’s instrumental-theatrical work “Dressur.”

And the great thing for Greater New Haven locals is you can catch the programs in the Elm City days before the New York show. MORE

Published August 20, 2014
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Music program hits high notes

NEW HAVEN — Two weeks ago, fifth-grader Serena Santiago secured a coveted spot in the John C. Daniels School band.

With interest high and instruments limited, Santiago told band director John Miller she’d be dedicated to whatever he had for her.

The pitch worked. He handed her a trombone.

Serena now walks to school 45 minutes early and stays after for 90 minutes each day to practice, said her mother, Wendy Santiago. Then Serena practices again at home. MORE

Published February 18, 2009
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