Convocation 2017 defines YSM as place for “Music Among Friends”

School of Music Dean Robert Blocker often describes music as “the currency of hope” and has long championed the School’s commitment to inclusivity and diversity. That commitment was reiterated emphatically on Thursday night in his 2017 Convocation speech, “Music Among Friends,” in which he celebrated “courage, inclusivity and diversity, connectedness, tolerance and respect, and compassion.” Upon its founding, he said, “the School of Music opened wide its doors and heart to all those who brought their gifts of talent and intellectual curiosity to campus.” Today, Blocker pointed out, the School stands in solidarity with those whose place in our community hangs in the balance.

“All of us bring anxieties, concerns, and even fears about the human condition to this room tonight,” he told new and returning students, faculty, staff, alumni, and guests, “for we live in a time in which human dignity and indeed humanity are being assaulted throughout the world. Nothing, I think, is as incomprehensible and unimaginable as the vengeful rescindment of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, known as DACA. Now, these young people we call Dreamers live with fear rather than hope. This action touches our community profoundly because we are witnesses to the deep grief and stressful uncertainty these Dreamers and their families suddenly face. I do believe reasonable and compassionate leaders among us hear and feel the anguished cries of Dreamers and that they, with our encouragement and support, will find a way to keep their American dream alive.”

Connecting YSM’s values to its mission, Blocker said, “music teaches us that every voice is distinct and important, that each is necessary for harmony, and that is precisely why we know that our combined voices will help repair our troubled world.”

Following University Provost Benjamin Polak’s installation of the incoming class, whose members come from five continents, 25 countries, 26 states, and 58 institutions, Convocation attendees sang Schubert’s An die Musik (with Franz von Schober’s text, as translated by YSM faculty bass-baritone Richard Cross), as is School tradition. Blocker then delivered his remarks before introducing the faculty, alumni, and current students who performed as part of the ceremony.

Violinist Daniel S. Lee ’06MM ’08AD, a newly appointed faculty member in early music whose ensemble, The Sebastians, is in residence at the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments, performed Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber’s Sonata No. 3 in F major, C. 140 (from Sonatae, violino solo) with faculty harpsichordist Arthur Haas. Bass-baritone Dashon Burton ’11MM sang “Grosser Herr, o starker König,” from Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248, and “Mache dich, mein Herze rein,” from the St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244, with pianist David Fung ’11MM ’13MMA ’17DMA. And violinist Sirena Huang ’19AD performed Tchaikovsky’s Valse-Scherzo, Op. 34, with pianist Lam Wong ’18MM.

The performances added punctuation to Blocker’s remarks, which concluded with him telling members of the incoming class that “here at YSM, you will experience fully the gift that is ‘Music Among Friends,’ and encouraging all in attendance, referencing a favorite story about Robert Louis Stevenson, to “take hope, and make holes in the dark with the beauty and light of your music.”

Photos by Harold Shapiro

Published September 8, 2017
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Peter Frankl plays recital of Beethoven and Schumann Jan. 14

Peter Frankl, piano

Peter Frankl, piano

The Yale School of Music’s Horowitz Piano Series presents the pianist Peter Frankl in recital on Wednesday, January 14. Frankl will play music by Beethoven and Schumann written in the first half of the nineteenth century.

Frankl will dedicate his recital to the memory of Claude Frank, who was a member of the School of Music’s piano faculty 1964–2006 and who passed away in December.

The concert opens with Beethoven’s Sonata No. 12 in A-flat major, Op. 26, written 1800–1801. Frankl will then play Schumann’s Humoreske, Op. 20, composed in 1839. Just after completing the piece, Schumann wrote to his future wife, Clara Wieck: “All week I’ve been sitting at the piano and composing and writing and laughing and crying, all at the same time. You will find this beautifully illustrated in… the great Humoreske.” MORE

Published January 6, 2015
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Brentano String Quartet begins Yale residency with Sep. 23 concert

brentano_vThe Yale School of Music presents the Brentano String Quartet on Tuesday, September 23, 2014 at 7:30 pm. The acclaimed ensemble will play music by Schubert, Bartók, and Mozart.

The concert opens with Mozart‘s String Quartet in B-flat major, K. 458, nicknamed “The Hunt” for the propulsion and harmony of the first movement. Bartók‘s fascinating String Quartet No. 3 follows, with what one writer has called a “kaleidoscope of coloristic effects.”

Schubert‘s String Quartet in D minor, D. 810, “Death and the Maiden,” a perennial audience favorite, concludes the evening. Schubert, suffering through illness, wrote his “Death and the Maiden” quartet with the full knowledge that he would soon die. MORE

Published September 19, 2014
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The Miró String Quartet performs Schubert, Beethoven, Dutilleux March 25


The Yale School of Music presents the Miró String Quartet  in a concert on Tuesday, March 25 at 8 pm, in Morse Recital Hall. The quartet, which last appeared at Yale in 2011, will perform music by Schubert, Beethoven, and Dutilleux.

The concert opens with Beethoven’s String Quartet in B-flat major, Op. 18, No. 6, known as “La malinconia” for the slow introduction to the third movement. The composition’s structure and emotional depth are harbingers of Beethoven’s later quartets.  MORE

Published March 5, 2014
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Smithsonian Chamber Players Piano Trio performs at Collection March 2

Smithsonian_piano_trioThe Yale Collection of Musical Instruments presents the Smithsonian Chamber Players Piano Trio on Sunday, March 2 at 3 pm.

The trio of Vera Beths, violin; Kenneth Slowik, cello; and Pedja Muzijevic, fortepiano, will perform music from the early Romantic period, with selections by Beethoven, Schubert and Mendelssohn. MORE

Published February 19, 2014
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Pianist Robert Blocker performs Brahms and more Oct. 23

Robert Blocker, piano

The Horowitz Piano Series at the Yale School of Music presents a recital by the pianist and Dean of the Yale School of Music Robert Blocker on Wednesday, October 23. Blocker, a renowned pianist and a leading arts administrator, will perform music by Mozart, Schubert, and Brahms.  MORE

Published October 2, 2013
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Pianist Peter Frankl Performs Schubert Oct. 2

Peter Frankl

The Horowitz Piano Series at the Yale School of Music opens its 2013–14 season with a recital by Peter Frankl on Wednesday, October 2. Frankl, a world-renowned pianist and a professor at the Yale School of Music, will perform solo works as well as a song cycle with acclaimed baritone Randall Scarlata. MORE

Published September 20, 2013
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May 7 concert presents winners of chamber music competition

Concert features music my Stucky, Poulenc, Schubert, and Bartók

The Yale School of Music presents the winners of the annual Chamber Music Competition in a showcase concert on Tuesday, May 7 at 8 pm in Morse Recital Hall. The concert is the last event of the 2012–2013 Oneppo Chamber Music Series.

In announcing the competition winners, Wendy Sharp, the director of chamber music at YSM, noted: “We were impressed with the high level of seriousness, preparation and musicianship. It was not easy choosing a program from such a strong list of groups. When picking the program, we considered not only the performances, but also what might make an interesting concert, the variety of work and instrumentation, and overall length.” MORE

Published April 3, 2013
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Eminent pianist Paul Lewis makes New Haven appearance Mar. 6

The Horowitz Piano Series at the Yale School of Music presents a recital by Paul Lewis on Wednesday, March 6.

In this recital, Lewis will perform Schubert’s last three sonatas: Sonata No. 19 in C Minor, D. 958, Sonata No. 20 in A Major, D. 959, and Sonata No. 21 in B-flat major, D. 960. The three sonatas, composed during the last months of Schubert’s life in 1828, are considered among the most important of the composer’s masterpieces, exhibiting a rare depth of emotional expression that is often interpreted as autobiographical.

At the beginning of 2011, Mr. Lewis embarked on a two-year project to perform all of the mature piano works from the last six years of Schubert’s life. This effort has taken him to major venues worldwide, including performances in London, Tokyo, Melbourne, and the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg. MORE

Published February 27, 2013
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“Visionary” pianist Radu Lupu makes rare New Haven appearance Jan. 17

Recital features masterworks by Franck, Schubert, and Debussy

The Horowitz Piano Series at the Yale School of Music presents a recital by the Radu Lupu on Thursday, January 17.

Critics describe Lupu in otherworldly terms: he is “a mystic” who “communes with the score on his own terms” (Washington Post). The Guardian writes: “There is a visionary quality to this playing – ecstatic, deeply affecting, and peerless.”

In this recital, Lupu will perform music by Franz Schubert, César Franck, and Claude Debussy. The concert opens with Franck’s Prelude, Chorale, and Fugue, a masterpiece of the piano repertoire whose three movements are thematically interconnected.

Next will be Schubert’s Four Impromptus, Op. 142, which are often said to resemble a four-movement sonata. After intermission, Lupu will close the evening with Book Two of Debussy’s Préludes, written one hundred years ago in 1912–1913.

The concert takes place in the excellent acoustic of Morse Recital Hall, which is located in Sprague Memorial Hall at 470 College Street. The event is part of the Horowitz Piano Series, which is directed by Boris Berman.

Tickets to this performance are $20–$30, $10–15 with student ID. Sampler packages offer discounts of up to 20% from regular ticket prices. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or call the Yale School of Music concert office at 203 432-4158. MORE

Published December 18, 2012
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