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Deceptive Cadence, NPR’s classical music blog, has been discussing whether classical music needs fixing:

If there is one thing we can count on in classical music it’s that people will continue to argue over its future. Is it dying a slow death? Or is it relatively healthy, merely hitting a few bumps in an awfully rocky economic road?
– Thomas Huizenga

NPR has collected opinions from prominent performers and composers. Among the contributors are several who have studied and/or taught at Yale:

Marin Alsop (’77BA) Targets A Tech-Savvy Future

Missy Mazzoli (’06MM) Defies Dogma, Demands Diversity

YSM faculty member David Lang (’83MMA)’s New Name For Classical Music

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Stage director Sam Helfrich makes his Yale Opera debut

Working model of set. Photo by Andrew Cavanaugh Holland.

The Yale School of Music and Yale Opera will present Mozart’s masterpiece Don Giovanni February 11 through 13 at New Haven’s historic Shubert Theater. Performances take place at 8 pm February 11 and 12, and at 2 pm February 13.

With stage director Sam Helfrich at the helm, the creative team features original set design by Andrew Holland, costume design by Kaye Voyce, and lighting design by William Warfel. Giuseppe Grazioli, who enjoys an international career and has worked with Yale Opera numerous times, will conduct the Philharmonia Orchestra of Yale.

Helfrich, making his Yale Opera debut, is “delighted to be working with Yale Opera’s talented young singers on Don Giovanni, perhaps Mozart’s greatest opera.”

“The designers and I have created an entirely new production for Yale Opera, drawing inspiration from the Spanish origins of the Don Juan story in order to create a theatrical event rooted in classic images and, at the same time, hip, youthful, and which should strike a chord with smart modern audiences.”
– stage director Sam Helfrich

The opera will be performed in the original Italian with projected English translations. The principal singers are students in the prestigious Yale Opera program, which is directed by Doris Yarick Cross. The alternating casts will be announced online by the end of January.

Tickets to Don Giovanni are $19–$41, $13 for students. Senior and group discounts are available. Tickets are available from the Shubert Theater box office at 247 College Street, by phone at 203 562-5666, or online at For more information, visit or call the Yale School of Music concert office at 203 432-4158.

A scene from Yale Opera's performance of Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro at the Shubert in February 2010.

About the Creative Team

DORIS YARICK CROSS, artistic director
Doris Yarick Cross, soprano, has appeared with most of the major opera companies in the United States, including San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and New York City Opera, as well as companies in Europe, Australia, and Canada. She spent sixteen years in Germany where she sang leading roles in major opera houses. She has sung with the symphony orchestras of Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Quebec, Toronto, San Francisco, and the New York Philharmonic. She is well-known as a recitalist and has appeared in hundreds of concerts across the country. She has served on the faculty of the University of Texas and was head of the voice department at the University of Connecticut prior to coming to the Yale School of Music in 1983.

Maestro Giuseppe Grazioli returns to Yale Opera, where he has previously conducted productions of Gianni Schicchi, Suor Angelica, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He has also led students from Yale Opera in concert performances of Les Mamelles de Tirésias, Trouble in Tahiti, Orphée aux enfers, Kiss Me Kate, and others with the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi. Maestro Grazioli was invited to the Teatro alla Scala in 2001 to conduct the closing concert before the theater’s renovation and then to conduct the world premiere of Vita. Other engagements in Italy include Orphée aux enfers and Le nozze di Figaro at the Teatro Regio and Il gatto con gli Stivali at Rome’s Opera Theater. His frequent appearances in France include multiple productions with Opéra Théâtre de Saint-Étienne, Opéra National de Bordeaux, Opéra de Lyon, and Opéra de Marseille. He has conducted Lucia di Lammermoor and Les pêcheurs de perles with Washington National Opera. Among his many recordings are rarities of the twentieth century by de Falla, Martinu, Bax, Bartók, Nino Rota, and more with Orchestra Verdi.

SAM HELFRICH, stage director
This production marks Sam Helfrich’s debut with Yale Opera. Mr. Helfrich has directed theater and opera at companies including Glimmerglass Opera, Opera Boston, Portland Opera, and Wolf Trap Opera, among others. Recent productions include The Turn of the Screw at Boston Lyric Opera, Philip Glass’ Orphée at Portland Opera and Glimmerglass, Louise and Amistad at Spoleto Festival USA, Der Freischutz, Semele, and Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny at Opera Boston, Aida at Opera Omaha, and Don Giovanni and Agrippina with Boston Baroque. Upcoming projects include Michael Dellaira’s The Secret Agent, a coproduction with Center for Contemporary Opera in New York and the Armel Opera Festival in Hungary, and a trilogy of Philip Glass/Jean Cocteau operas at Spoleto Festival USA. Other projects include an off-Broadway production of Stephen Belber’s Tape, as well as the libretto for Dial M for Murder, the opera, in collaboration with composer Joe Simeone. Sam Helfrich holds a BA and an MFA from Columbia University.

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View photos from of the Yale Percussion Group’s performance on December 10, 2010 in Morse Recital Hall. Click the arrow below to play the slideshow, or click HERE for a larger view.

Photos by Harold Shapiro.

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Program includes Mozart and Szymanowski quartets, plus Mendelssohn quintet with violist Ettore Causa

The Chamber Music Society at the Yale School of Music presents the Tokyo String Quartet on Tuesday, February 8 at 8 pm in Morse Recital Hall (located in Sprague Hall at 470 College Street, New Haven). The concert will open with Mozart’s “Hunt” Quartet in B-flat major, K. 458, so named because the first movement reminded Mozart’s contemporaries of the rhythms and horn calls of a hunting scene. Szymanowski’s Quartet No. 1 in C major, Op. 37, will round out the first half. The piece, written in 1917, “deserves to be much better known” for its “inventive textures and arresting, even hallucinatory ideas” (Classics Today).

Guest artist Ettore Causa, professor of viola at the Yale School of Music, will join the quartet for Mendelssohn’s String Quintet No. 2 in B-flat major, Op. 87. Causa has been widely praised for his unusually beautiful tone; his first recording was crowned with the 5 Diapason, and his second quickly earned broad acclaim.

The Tokyo Quartet, currently celebrating its fortieth season as one of the world’s foremost ensembles, has been in residence at the Yale School of Music since 1976. The New York Times has praised the quartet for nothing less than “exemplary chamber music,” and the Toronto Star has called it “an established ensemble playing as one living, breathing organism.”

Tickets to this concert of the season are $25–$35, $15 with student ID. Pick 3 ticket packages are also still available, offering a discount 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.

About the Performers

The Tokyo String Quartet has captivated audiences and critics alike since it was founded forty years ago. Regarded as one of the supreme chamber ensembles of the world, the quartet – Martin Beaver and Kikuei Ikeda (violins), Kazuhide Isomura (viola) and Clive Greensmith (cello) – has collaborated with a remarkable array of artists and composers, built a comprehensive catalogue of critically acclaimed recordings, and established a distinguished teaching record. Performing over a hundred concerts worldwide each season, the Tokyo String Quartet has a devoted international following that includes the major capitals of the world and extends to all corners of the globe. Officially formed in 1969 at the Juilliard School of Music, the quartet traces its origins to the Toho School of Music in Tokyo. Soon after its formation, the quartet won First Prize at the Coleman Competition, the Munich Competition and the Young Concert Artists International Auditions. An exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon firmly established it as one of the world’s leading quartets, and it has since released more than 40 landmark recordings. The ensemble now records on the Harmonia Mundi label.

Born in Naples, Italy, Ettore Causa began his studies of violin and viola at the Naples Conservatory, where he graduated with the highest honors. He later studied at the International Menuhin Music Academy in Switzerland with Sir Yehudi Menuhin and others, and with Michael Tree at the Manhattan School of Music. He has been first solo viola of the Carl Nielsen Philharmonic (Denmark) and leader of the Copenhagen Chamber Soloists. In 2000, he was awarded the Peter Schidlof Prize and the John Barbirolli Prize at the prestigious Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition. He has since made solo, recital, and festival appearances around the world, performing in North and South America, Europe, and Asia. He is a member of the Aria Quartet and is regularly invited to play with colleagues such as Pascal Rogé and Thomas Adès. In 2001, Causa was appointed professor of viola and chamber music at the International Menuhin Music Academy. His first recording, for Claves, was crowned with the 5 Diapason, and a new recording has already been highly praised by critics worldwide. Ettore plays on a viola made for him by Frederic Chaudiere in 2003.

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“Dark, mordant and rhythmically relentless, Pierced is the most exciting new work in years from Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang.”

San Francisco Chronicle

The Yale School of Music will present a New Music New Haven concert on Thursday, February 3, 2011 at 8 pm in Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Hall (470 College Street, New Haven). The concert will feature David Lang’s Pierced for piano, cello, and percussion with strings. The San Francisco Chronicle called it Lang’s “most exciting new work in years” and described the piece as “Dark, mordant and rhythmically relentless… irresistible… [a] forceful thrill.” The performance will feature Shannon Hayden, cello; Jeannette Fang, piano; and Michael Compitello, percussion, as soloists, and will be conducted by Adrian Slywotzky.

The program will also present several new pieces by up-and-coming composers currently studying at the Yale School of Music: Jordan Kuspa’s upbeat, rhythmic Flybys for wind sextet; Loren Loiacono’s  Jitterbug for solo piano; Paul Kerekes‘ Reasons for Moving for solo piano, a musical evocation of four poems by Mark Strand; Garth Neustadter’s Untangoed for solo piano; and Daniel Wohl’s Pixelated for solo piano, toy piano, and glockenspiel.

The New Music New Haven concert series, which provides a forum for young composers like these to hear their works, is directed by Christopher Theofanidis. The performance is free is open to the public. For more information, visit or contact the concert office at 203 432-4158.

About David Lang

The music of David Lang has been performed by major musical, dance, and theatrical organizations throughout the world, including Santa Fe Opera, New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Kronos Quartet, Nederlands Dans Theater, and the Royal Ballet, and in the most renowned concert halls and festivals in the U.S. and Europe. He is the co-founder and co-artistic director of New York’s legendary music festival Bang on a Can. In 2008 Lang was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music for The Little Match Girl Passion. He has also been honored with the Rome Prize, the BMW Music-Theater Prize (Munich), a Kennedy Center/Friedheim Award, a Bessie Award, a Village Voice OBIE Award, and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, NEA, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, among others. His work is recorded on Sony Classical, Teldec, BMG, Chandos, Argo/Decca, Koch, Albany, CRI, and Cantaloupe. David Lang has studied with Jacob Druckman, Hans Werner Henze, and Martin Bresnick and holds degrees from Stanford University, the University of Iowa, and the Yale School of Music. His music is published by Red Poppy (ASCAP) and is distributed worldwide by G. Schirmer. David Lang joined the Yale faculty in 2008.

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Frankl’s recording of Bartók on ASV was CD Review’s Record of the Month

The Yale School of Music presents a recital by pianist Peter Frankl on Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 8 pm in Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Hall (470 College Street, New Haven). Frankl will perform music of Beethoven and Bartók; his interpretations of both composers’ works have earned him wide praise. Like Bartók, Frankl is Hungarian, and his recording of Bartók’s music on the ASV label was named CD Review’s Record of the Month. In addition to Bartók’s Allegro barbaro, Three Burlesques, and Three Rondos, the program will include three Beethoven sonatas. The first half will include both sonatas from Op. 27, subtitled “Quasi una Fantasia”: the Sonata in E-flat major, Op. 27, no. 1, and the “Moonlight” Sonata in C-sharp minor, Op. 27, no. 2. The recital will conclude with Beethoven’s monumental Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111.

Frankl, who turns 75 this concert season, has been celebrating his birthday with a series of solo and ensemble performances. On April 23, he will perform Schumann’s Piano Concerto with the undergraduate Yale Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Toshiyuki Shimada. He has been praised by Auditorium as “not a mere pianist, but a true artist.”

Tickets range from $12 to $22, $7 for students. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit or contact the Yale School of Music concert office at 203 432-4158.

About Peter Frankl

Pianist Peter Frankl made his London debut in 1962 and his New York debut with the Cleveland Orchestra under George Szell in 1967. Since that time he has performed with many of the world’s finest orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, Concertgebouw, Israel Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, all the London orchestras, and the major American orchestras. He has collaborated with such conductors as Abbado, Boulez, Maazel, Muti, Salonen, and Solti. His many chamber music partners have included Kyung Wha Chung, Peter Csaba, Ralph Kirshbaum, and the Tokyo, Takacs, Guarneri, Bartók, and Fine Arts quartets. Among his recordings are the complete works for piano by Schumann and Debussy, Bartók and Chopin solo albums, a Hungarian anthology, concertos and four-hand works by Mozart, the two Brahms piano concertos, the Brahms violin and clarinet sonatas, Bartók pieces for violin and piano, and the piano quintets of Brahms, Schumann, Dvorák, Martinu, and both Dohnányis. Mr. Frankl was awarded the Officer’s Cross by the Hungarian Republic, and on his seventieth birthday he was given one of the highest civilian awards in Hungary for his lifetime artistic achievement in the world of music.

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Clarinetist David Shifrin joins for the Brahms Clarinet Trio

Elizabeth Parisot and Ole Akahoshi performing at Convocation in October 2010.

The Yale School of Music presents a Faculty Artist Recital by Ole Akahoshi, cello, and Elizabeth Parisot, piano, on Monday, January 31, at 8 pm in Morse Recital Hall (located in Sprague Hall at 470 College Street, New Haven). The performers, who are both members of the School of Music faculty as well as graduates of the School, will be joined by a third faculty member, clarinetist David Shifrin.

The concert of Romantic works will open with Beethoven’s Cello Sonata in A major, Op. 69, and will continue with Schubert’s Cello Sonata in A minor, D. 821 (originally written for a six-stringed instrument called the arpeggione but most often played today on cello or viola).

Clarinetist David Shifrin will join the duo to perform Brahms’s Trio for Clarinet, Cello, and Piano in A minor, Op. 114. Of the piece, the composer’s friend Eusebius Mandyczewski wrote, “It is as though the instruments were in love with each other.”

Admission to the performance is free. For more information, please visit or call the Yale School of Music concert office at 203 432-4158.

About the Artists

Elizabeth Parisot, piano, received her DMA from the Yale School of Music in 1973 and has served on the faculty of the School since 1977. She has appeared in solo and chamber music concerts at such venues as Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the Kennedy Center Queen Elizabeth Hall (London), the Hispanic Institute (Madrid), and the Jerusalem Music Center. With her husband, cellist Aldo Parisot, she has toured extensively. She has toured Korea and Italy with violinist Kyung Hak Yu and Taiwan with Erick Friedman and Aldo Parisot, and has performed with Yo-Yo Ma, Janos Starker, and Ralph Kirshbaum. A collaborative artist with cellists for many years in concerts, master classes, and competitions worldwide, Ms. Parisot was awarded the title “Grande Dame du Violoncelle” in 2007 by the Eva Janzer Memorial Cello Center at Indiana University. Elizabeth Parisot has numerous recordings to her credit on the Musical Heritage Society, Serenus, Phonodisc, Delos, and Albany labels, among others.

Cellist Ole Akahoshi from Germany has concertized on four continents in recitals and as soloist with orchestras, including the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Symphonisches Orchester Berlin, and the Czechoslovakian Radio Orchestra. Winner of numerous competitions including Concertino Praga and Jugend Musiziert, Akahoshi’s performances have been featured on CNN, NPR, Korean Broadcasting Station, WQXR, and numerous German radio stations. He is a recipient of the fellowship award from Charlotte White’s Salon de Virtuosi. Akahoshi has made recordings for the Albany, New World Records, Composers Recording Inc., Calliope, Bridge, and Naxos Labels. Akahoshi studied at Juilliard, with Aldo Parisot at Yale, and with Janos Starker at Indiana University. The principal cellist of the Sejong Soloists in New York, he has been a member of Seiji Ozawa’s Saito Kinen Orchestra since 1998 and the Tokyo Nomori Opera. Mr. Akahoshi is on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music and the Yale School of Music.

Winner of the 2000 Avery Fisher prize, clarinetist David Shifrin has appeared with the Philadelphia and Minnesota orchestras and the Dallas, Seattle, Houston, Milwaukee, Detroit, and Denver symphonies. He has appeared in recital at Alice Tully Hall, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, and the 92nd Street Y in New York City, and at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. In addition he has performed in recital and as soloist with orchestra throughout Europe and Asia. A three-time Grammy nominee, he has been the artistic director of Chamber Music Northwest since 1980 and a faculty member at Yale since 1987. An artist member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center since 1989, he served as its artistic director from 1992 to 2004.

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“Rarely can we promise in advance that a concert will be among the most talked-about events of a given year, but this seven-hour introduction to a border-crashing three-month series at Merkin is pretty much a lock. Nearly all the cool kids of the postclassical generation are here.”
Time Out New York

Judd Greenstein ’04MM has been curating the Ecstatic Music Festival Marathon, which will take place this Monday, January 17, at Merkin Concert Hall in New York City. Read about his efforts here.

The Ecstatic Music Festival begins January 16 and will feature a number of Yale School of Music alumni, including:

» So Percussion

» Timo Andres ’09MM, as both composer and pianist

» Missy Mazzoli ’06MM, composer

» Ashley Bathgate ’08AD, cello

Among the ensembles whose members are YSM alumni:

» NOW Ensemble (formed at YSM in 2002, now featuring Mark Dancigers ’05MM, electric guitar; Michael Mizrahi ’09DMA, piano; Patrick Burke ’09DMA and Judd Greenstein ’04MM, composers)

» Alarm Will Sound (John Orfe ’09DMA, piano)

» Victoire (Eleonore Oppenheim ’07CERT, double bass; Missy Mazzoli ’06MM, keyboards, composer)

» Roomful of Teeth (Brad Wells ’05DMA, Dashon Burton ’11MM, Caroline Shaw ’07MM, Eric Dudley ’04MMA, and Estelí Gomez ’08BA)

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Performance features a world premiere by John Halle

The Yale School of Music will present violinist Wendy Sharp and colleagues in a Faculty Artist Recital on Sunday, January 30, 2011 at 4 pm in Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Hall (470 College Street, New Haven). Sharp will be joined by violist Marka Gustavsson, cellist Mimi Hwang, and pianist Melvin Chen in a program of music spanning three centuries.

The concert will open with the Handel-Halvorsen Passacaglia for violin and cello, a piece that Halvorsen adapted from a keyboard suite by Handel. Chen, a graduate of Yale College and a former faculty member of the Yale School of Music, will play Debussy’s Suite Bergamasque, best known for its gentle third movement, “Clair de Lune.” The first half will conclude with the world premiere of John Halle’s Many Returns for violin and viola. The second half of the program will feature all four musicians in the Piano Quartet No. 2 in A major, Op. 26, by Johannes Brahms.

Admission to the performance is free. For more information, visit or contact the Yale School of Music concert office at 203 432-4158.

About Wendy Sharp

Award-winning violinist Wendy Sharp performs frequently as a recitalist and a chamber musician. In demand as a teacher and chamber music coach, she is on the faculties of the Yale School of Music and California Summer Music, and maintains a private studio.  For nearly a decade, Ms. Sharp was the first violinist and a founding member of the highly acclaimed Franciscan String Quartet. As a member of the quartet she toured the USA, Canada, Europe, and Asia, and was honored with many awards including first prize in the Banff International String Quartet Competition and the Press and City of Evian prizes at the Evian International String Quartet Competition. A native of the San Francisco Bay area, she attended Yale University, graduating summa cum laude with distinction in music, and received her Master of Music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Ms. Sharp has served on the faculties of the Mannes College of Music, Dartmouth College, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and Choate Rosemary Hall, and has participated in the Aspen, Tanglewood, Chamber Music West, Norfolk, Britten-Pears and Music Academy of the West festivals. Ms. Sharp is currently the director of chamber music at the Yale School of Music, where she has also served on the violin faculty since 1997.

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Cellist Rhonda Rider ’80MM has been named an Artist-in-Residence at the Grand Canyon National Park 2010-2011. She has commissioned eleven composers to write works for solo cello inspired by aspects of the canyon. While in residence Rider will present two performances, one for the public and one for local school children. The public performance will be an evening program held on February 26th in celebration of the 92nd anniversary of the naming of Grand Canyon as a national park.

Other performances will take place in Boston (March 10, 8pm in Seully Hall at Boston Conservatory), Fort Worth (Inspiration Celebration, May 1-8), and Millbrook, New York (September 23 at the Cary Institute). Rider is the chair of chamber music at the Boston Conservatory, cello coach of the Asian Youth Orchestra in Hong Kong, and cellist of the piano trio Triple Helix (whose other members are YSM alumni Bayla Keyes ’80MM, violin, and Lois Shapiro ’77MM, piano).

The composers are: Yu-Hui Chang (Brandeis University); Marti Epstein (Boston Conservatory & Berklee College of Music); Howard Frazin (Longy School of Music, Cambridge, MA); Laura Kaminsky (Symphony Space, NYC), John Kennedy (Santa Fe New Music); Emma Lively (Cameron and Lively, NYC), Jeffrey Mumford (Oberlin Conservatory); David Rakowski (Brandeis University); Jan Swafford (The Boston Conservatory); Andy Vores (The Boston Conservatory); and Dalit Warshaw (The Boston Conservatory).

Says Rider: “[one] of my great joys is working with living composers. Having the opportunity to bring a new piece to life through the exploration of fresh ideas and innovative sound worlds is tremendously exciting and rewarding. For this project I have asked ten celebrated composers to write works inspired by Grand Canyon. Each person’s experience of the canyon’s grandeur, while profoundly personal, can also bring us in touch with the universality of nature and the human experience.”

Click here for more information.

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