YSM alumni take home Grammys

Michael Daugherty. Photo by Grant Leighton

Michael Daugherty. Photo by Grant Leighton

Yale School of Music alumnus Michael Daugherty ’82MMA ’87DMA received three 2017 Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 12, for his Tales of Hemingway for cello and orchestra, which was recorded by cellist Zuill Bailey and the Nashville Symphony conducted by Giancarlo Guerrero. The piece won in the Best Classical Instrumental Solo, Best Contemporary Classical Composition, and Best Classical Compendium categories.

Tales of Hemingway was commissioned and premiered by Guerrero and the Nashville Symphony, whose live recording of that performance was released on an album with Daugherty’s American Gothic and a 2015 revision of his Once Upon a Castle, a work for organ and orchestra whose solo part was performed by YSM alumnus Paul Jacobs ’02MM. Guerrero recently conducted the Yale Philharmonia in a program that included Wagner’s Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde and Shostakovich Symphony No. 10.

Percussionist David Skidmore ’08MM earned a 2017 Grammy as a member of Third Coast Percussion, whose recording of works by Steve Reich won in the Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance category. MORE

Published February 13, 2017
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Christopher Theofanidis receives Grammy nomination

Christopher Theofanidis

Christopher Theofanidis

Yale School of Music faculty composer Christopher Theofanidis’ Bassoon Concerto has been nominated for a 2017 Grammy Award in the Best Contemporary Classical Composition category. The piece was recorded by bassoonist Martin Kuuskmann ’02MM and the Northwest Sinfonia, under the direction of Barry Jekowsky.

“Anything like this, which has a visibility beyond the immediate circle of concert music, that’s a really good thing for the field,” Theofanidis ’94MMA ’97DMA said. “It’s kind of like the thing that both your musical and nonmusical friends know.”

Talking about his Bassoon Concerto, Theofanidis said, “It’s a piece that I wrote 20 years ago that had never had a recording until now.” Kuuskmann, whom he’s known since their time at Yale, “really championed the piece.” MORE

Published December 7, 2016
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Steve Reich featured in March 29 NMNH concert

Reich is “…the most original musical thinker of our time.”
– The New Yorker

The Yale School of Music presents a New Music New Haven performance featuring guest composer STEVE REICH on Thursday, March 29. Musicians from the Yale School of Music will perform two of Reich’s works as well as music by students in the School’s prestigious composition program.

Guest composer Steve Reich, who will be in attendance, will have two of his works performed: Proverb (1995) and Vermont Counterpoint (1982).

Proverb, written for voices, vibraphones, and electric organs, is a setting of a single line of text by Ludwig Wittgenstein: “How small a thought it takes to fill a whole life!” The singers are members of the Yale Camerata and Yale Schola Cantorum.

The performance of Vermont Counterpoint, which is written for eleven flutes (and is often performed with pre-recorded music instead of eleven live flutists), will feature faculty member Ransom Wilson alongside his current and former students.

Works by graduate student composers include Jordan Kuspa’s Nitwit, Oddment for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and piano; Stephen Feigenbaum‘s Gatekeeper for solo viola; Justin Tierney’s Blue Tigers for three clarinets, two percussionists, and piano; Michael Gilbertson’s Nocturne for flute and guitar; and Daniel Wohl’s Slow Wave for percussion quartet.

The concert will take place at 8 pm in Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Hall (470 College St., New Haven, corner of Wall St.). Admission is free, and no tickets are required. Christopher Theofanidis is the artistic director of the New Music New Haven concert series. MORE

Published March 15, 2012
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75/100: Yale Percussion Group celebrates Steve Reich and John Cage

Feb. 19th concert honors the birthdays of two composers of significant pieces for percussion

The Yale School of Music presents the celebrated Yale Percussion Group in 75/100, a concert celebrating the birthdays of Steve Reich and John Cage, on Sunday, February 19th.

The ensemble, directed by the acclaimed percussionist and Yale faculty member Robert van Sice, has been hailed as “truly extraordinary” by composer Steve Reich. Now the YPG returns the compliment by dedicating the first half of this concert to Reich’s music.

The concert opens with Reich’s Mallet Quartet (2009), for two marimbas and two vibraphones. A highlight will be Reich’s Electric Counterpoint, in a new arrangement for vibraphone, marimba, and tape. Svetoslav Stoyanov, a YSM alum, created the arrangement and is the player heard on the pre-recorded segments.

The first half will conclude with Reich’s Music for Mallet Instruments, Voices and Organ, a 1973 composition for glockenspiels, marimbas, metallophone, women’s voices, and organ. Reich, who turns 75 this year, describes the piece as “deal[ing] with two simultaneous interrelated rhythmic processes.”

The second half of the concert is devoted to the music of John Cage, who was born 100 years ago this year and died in 1992. His Third Construction, written in 1941, is for four percussionists who play a vast variety of Western and international instruments as well as ordinary items like tin cans and a conch shell. Other Cage pieces on the program include In a Landscape (1948), originally written for piano, and Amores (1943), for piano and three percussionists.

She Is Asleep is a piece in two parts; in Part I, four percussionists play twelve tom-toms, and Part II is for voice and prepared piano (“prepared” meaning that objects have been deliberately placed in the instrument to alter the sound). Child of Tree (1975) is inspired by the sound of cactus spines being plucked; in the score, Cage instructs the performer in a structured improviation on ten instruments made of plants. “This improvisation is the performance,” Cage wrote. MORE

Published January 31, 2012
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Yale Percussion Group performs in New Haven and New York

The Yale Percussion Group, hailed as “truly extraordinary” by composer Steve Reich, brings high-energy works by Reich and David Lang to the Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn, NY on Wednesday, June 22 at 7:30 pm.

The dynamic ensemble will present the so-called laws of nature, a monumentally virtuosic percussion quartet by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang – who is both a YSM graduate and a current member of the YSM faculty. Written for So Percussion in 2002, this piece explores explore the limits of the scientific method through varied forms of fractured repetition, and features instruments built by the percussionists specifically for the piece. These instruments range from tuned metal pipes and planks of wood to teacups and flowerpots.

Fresh from their performance of Steve Reich’s Sextet in Zankel Hall last December, the ensemble will also perform Reich’s Music for Pieces of Wood, a polyrhythmic tour-de-force of sound.

On Friday, May 20, the YPG will give a free outdoor performance of Lang’s socalled laws of nature in Yale’s Old Campus.

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Published May 13, 2011
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Voices of American Music concert pays tribute to the Oral History of American Music project on its 40th anniversary

“…The world’s definitive archive of historical material on American music.”
– The New York Times

Vivian Perlis interviews Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein in Copland’s home.

The Yale School of Music presents Voices of American Music, a concert tribute to the legendary Oral History of American Music (OHAM) project at Yale. The concert will take place on Tuesday, April 6 at 8 pm in Sprague Hall (470 College Street, New Haven) as part of the Chamber Music Society at Yale.

The works of some of America’s most important composers will be heard in a rare program that joins music with footage from OHAM’s archives. Founded by Vivian Perlis, one of the foremost historians of American music, OHAM is dedicated to collecting and preserving audio and video memoirs of notable figures in American music. The musicologist H. Wiley Hitchcock called OHAM “an incomparable resource, the most extensive ongoing oral history project in America.”

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Published March 10, 2010
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