[ faculty ]

In memoriam: musicologist Philip F. Nelson

Philip Nelson

Philip Nelson | Photo by Eugene Cook, 1974

Musicologist and a former Dean of the Yale School of Music Philip F. Nelson died yesterday, June 10, 2016 at the age of 88. A native of Waseca, Minnesota, Nelson graduated with a B.A. degree in music composition from Grinnell College in Iowa in 1950, and an A.M. (1956) and Ph.D. (1958) in musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also received the Diplôme of the Université de Paris in 1957, and studied conducting with M. Louis Forestier at the Conservatorie National de Paris at the time as a Fulbright Scholar.

Nelson was Chair of the music department at SUNY Binghamton from 1963, until his appointment as the Dean of Yale School of Music in 1970. Under Philip Nelson’s visionary leadership, the Yale School of Music began its transformation as a major professional music school. Among his distinguished faculty appointments were, Krzysztof Penderecki, Otto-Werner Mueller, Phyllis Curtin, and Claude Frank. The Tokyo String Quartet was named the artists-in-residence in 1976, and the quartet remained an integral part of the life and development of the School until its retirement from the international concert stage in 2013. MORE

Published June 11, 2016
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[ alumni ]

Raul Garcia appointed principal viola of Colombia’s National Symphony Orchestra

Raul Garcia, viola

Raul Garcia, viola

Raúl García ’09MM, ’10AD was recently appointed principal viola in the National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia. A native of Colombia, García currently serves on the viola faculties at Fundación Juan N. Corpas and Central University in Bogotá. He also performs regularly with the Macondo Chamber Players.

Garcia expressed his gratitude toward his teachers and mentors from the Yale School of Music. “I want to acknowledge Yale’s great viola professor, Ettore Causa. Once I heard Ettore’s sound it never left my soul and it keeps inspiring my viola playing beyond imagination.” He also wishes to recognize Syoko Aki, Dean Blocker, the Tokyo String Quartet and the late Jesse Levine.

One of the most active orchestras in Colombia, the National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia was founded in 2003, though it has operated under various other names since the 1950’s. The orchestra is located in Columbia’s capital city, Bogotá.


Published October 21, 2014
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[ in the press ]

The Tokyo Quartet is no more.

By Garrett Harris

San Diego Reader

tokyoWhen the sole remaining founder of the Tokyo String Quartet, Kazuhide Isomura, announced his intention to retire along with second violinist, Kikuei Ikeda, the two remaining players began to accept auditions to fill those spots. MORE

Published September 16, 2013
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A Chamber Ensemble’s Passionate Swan Song

New York Times

Many string quartets start out as a family and then over time morph into an institution. As long-serving members retire, new players join in, subtly altering the sound and style until only the name remains unchanged. The Tokyo String Quartet decided to retire as a family rather than continue with further changes in its lineup. On Saturday evening, the quartet, which was founded in 1969, gave a passionate and emotionally charged performance here at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival that the ensemble says will be its last. MORE

Published July 7, 2013
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Tokyo Quartet, Peter Oundjian receive Sanford Medals

At the Tokyo String Quartet‘s performance last night, Dean Robert Blocker awarded the Sanford Medal to current and past members of the quartet. The medal, which is the highest honor that the Yale School of Music bestows, is awarded for distinguished service to music.

Blocker presented the medal to the four current members of the quartet – Martin Beaver, violin; Kikuei Ikeda, violin; Kazuhide Isomura, viola; and Clive Greensmith, cello – as well as to Peter Oundjian, who was the first violinist of the quartet for fourteen years and remains a member of the School of Music faculty.

Earlier this season, the Tokyo Quartet announced that it would retire from the international concert stage in the summer of 2013. The ensemble, which has been active for over 40 years, has been in residence at the School of Music since 1976. Yesterday’s concert was the quartet’s last in Morse Recital Hall.

The Sanford Medal is named for Samuel Simons Sanford (1849–1910), a pianist and educator who was a member of the Yale music faculty from 1894 to 1910. Sanford was instrumental in the establishment of the School of Music within Yale University. He was also a proponent of the music of Edward Elgar, and his efforts contributed to Elgar’s receiving an honorary doctorate from Yale in 1905. Previous recipients of the Sanford Medal include Georg Solti, Pierre Boulez, Aaron Copland, Virgil Thomson, Mstislav Rostropovich, Sherrill Milnes, Marilyn Horne, Emanuel Ax, and Richard Stoltzman.

Published January 23, 2013
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Tokyo String Quartet performs in Morse Recital Hall for the last time Jan. 22

Concert features string quartets by Haydn, Bartók, Mendelssohn

The Yale School of Music presents a concert featuring the Tokyo String Quartet on Tuesday, January 22. It will be the group’s last performance on the Oneppo Chamber Music Series at the Yale School of Music; this is the ensemble’s last season before retirement. In this valedictory performance, the quartet will perform music by Hadyn, Bartók, and Mendelssohn.

For the past 42 years, the Tokyo String Quartet has captivated audiences and critics with “rock-solid ensemble playing and immaculate, razor-edged precision” (Washington Post). Since 1976, they have also been in residence at the Yale School of Music, coaching chamber music and mentoring young ensembles.

The concert opens with Haydn’s String Quartet in G minor, Op. 74, No. 3, nicknamed “Rider” for the galloping rhythms in the last movement. Bartók’s Fourth String Quartet, composed in 1927, follows.

Mendelssohn’s Quartet No. 4 in E minor, written in 1837, was one of the composer’s favorites, and it was immediately popular with audiences as well. The piece will be the last that the quartet plays on the stage of Morse Recital Hall.

The concert begins at 8 pm in Morse Recital Hall, located in Sprague Memorial Hall (470 College Street, New Haven). Tickets are $30–$40, $20 with student ID. For more information, call the Yale School of Music concert office at 203 432-4158 or visit music.yale.edu.


Published January 3, 2013
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Recent press about the YSM community

In the Financial Times, Harry Eyres praised a concert he’d heard this past summer at the Yale Summer School of Music/Norfolk Chamber Music Festival: “Two of my musical highlights this year were dark, rich confrontations with mortality as interpreted by artists bringing all their life-experience to bear on music of almost unbearable poignancy.”

One of these highlights was the Brahms Clarinet Quintet, “played at the Music Shed in Norfolk, Connecticut, by an inspired David Shifrin and the Tokyo String Quartet. This last performance was made especially poignant by the Tokyo String Quartet’s announcement that this would be their last season, and by a conversation I’d had a couple of days before with viola-player Kazuhide Isomura, in which he poured out memories of 40 years of the quartet’s history.” Click here to read the full article.

Harvard Magazine featured faculty composer Hannah Lash ’12AD in a recent article that began: “There is nothing casual about the music of composer Hannah Lash.” “I’m drawn to highly, highly pigmented emotions,” the magazine quotes her as saying. “Things have to be the most fully realized they can possibly be.” Read the full article here. MORE

Published January 2, 2013
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NYC-ARTS on Channel 13 spotlights the Yale in New York series Oct. 18

NYC-ARTS, television’s weekly primetime arts and culture showcase for the tri-state area, spotlights the Yale in New York series tonight (October 18, 2012) at 8 pm. The segment will focus on the opening concert of the 2012–2013 season, which features the Tokyo String Quartet alongside faculty colleague Ettore Causa, viola, and YSM alumni the Jasper String Quartet.

The season-opening concert takes place Sunday, October 28 at 7:30 pm in Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall. Other highlights of the 2012–2013 season include a celebration of Mozart’s birthday on January 27, followed by a concert on April 12 featuring Richard Strauss’ Metamorphosen alongside a new work by Matthew Barnson and Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings. The season closes on April 25 marking the 50th anniversary of the death of Paul Hindemith, the composer and former Yale faculty member.

The NYC-ARTS segment will air again on WNET-Channel Thirteen on Sunday, October 21 at noon. Additional encore presentations follow Friday, October 19 at 7 pm and Sunday, October 21 at 3 pm on WLIW; and Sunday, October 21 at 8:30 p.m. on NJTV. New episodes become available on NYC-ARTS.org every Thursday at 8:30 pm.

Published October 18, 2012
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Tokyo String Quartet performs with Ettore Causa and Jasper Quartet Oct. 2

Program includes music by Webern, Mozart, Mendelssohn

The Yale School of Music presents a concert featuring the Tokyo String Quartet and friends on Tuesday, October 2, 2012.

The concert marks the opening not only of the 2012–2013 Oneppo Chamber Music Series but also the beginning of the Tokyo Quartet’s last season before retirement. The quartet, along with guest artists Ettore Causa (viola) and the Jasper String Quartet, will perform music of Webern, Mozart, and Mendelssohn.

The program opens with Anton Webern‘s Five Movements for string quartet, and two pieces for which the Quartet invited Yale friends and colleagues. Violist Ettore Causa, a member of the School of Music faculty, joins them in Mozart‘s Quintet in C major, K. 515.

Since 1976, the Tokyo String Quartet has been in residence at the Yale School of Music, coaching chamber music and mentoring young ensembles. One of those is the Jasper String Quartet, an “impressive young ensemble” (New York Times) that was the graduate quartet-in-residence at Yale 2008–2010. The Tokyo and Jasper Quartets will join forces to perform the Mendelssohn Octet in E-flat major, Op. 20. MORE

Published September 13, 2012
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Tokyo String Quartet to retire from international concert stage after 2012–2013 season

Tokyo String Quartet. Photo by Marco Borggreve.

The Tokyo String Quartet announced today that the concert season 2012–2013 will be its last. One of the world’s most distinguished chamber music ensembles, the quartet was founded in 1969 and joined the faculty of the Yale School of Music as Artists-in-Residence in 1977.

The Tokyo Quartet – Martin Beaver, violin; Kikuei Ikeda, violin; Kazuhide Isomura, viola; and Clive Greensmith, cello – currently performs well over one hundred concerts annually in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. They have released more than forty landmark recordings on Deutsche Grammophon, BMG/RCA Victor Red Seal, Angel-EMI, CBS Masterworks, Harmonia Mundi, and Vox Cum Laude.

The ensemble has won the Grand Prix du Disque and Best Chamber Music Recording of the Year awards from Stereo Review and Gramophone magazines, as well as seven Grammy nominations.

In announcing the quartet’s retirement from Yale and the international stage, cellist Clive Greensmith said: “It has been a humbling and extraordinary experience to be part of such an ensemble, but it is time to step away from the hectic travel schedule and allow each of us the opportunity to pursue our individual performing and teaching interests.”

Robert Blocker, Dean of the Yale School of Music, commented: “For over 35 years, the Tokyo Quartet has been an integral part of the fabric of our School. Their artistry on the concert stage is matched by their passion for the string quartet literature and their dedication to nurturing the musicians of tomorrow. We are grateful for their friendship and for their transformative contributions to the Yale School of Music.”

The Tokyo Quartet’s final concert will take place at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the summer home of the Yale School of Music, in June 2013.

Published April 19, 2012
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