Yale School of Music to host first reunion in a decade

2019 marks the 125th anniversary of the founding of the Yale School of Music (YSM) in 1894. As part of a year-long celebration, YSM will host its first all-class reunion in more than a decade. Alumni from the 1960s through 2010s will converge on the Adams Center and Sprague Memorial Hall Thursday and Friday, Oct. 24 and 25 for tours, panels discussion, concerts, and informal gatherings.

To kick off the festivities, YSM Dean Robert Blocker and Yale President Peter Salovey will greet attendees at a special welcome event Thursday afternoon. Although not open to the public, this event will be livestreamed.

2019 also marks the 150th anniversary of women at Yale and the 50th anniversary of Yale College coeducation. YSM’s reunion will feature events that tie into Yale’s 50WomenAtYale150 initiative, including performances by and conversations with alumnae musicians. A number of these events are free and open to the public.

On Thursday afternoon, YSM will present a free concert at 3 p.m. in Sprague Memorial Hall featuring music and performances by YSM alumni. Kimberly Foster ’04 CERT will perform a movement of Rebecca Clarke’s 1919 “Viola Sonata.” (Clarke wrote the piece for a contest sponsored by Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, the philanthropist who provided much of the money to build Sprague Memorial Hall.) Mezzo-soprano Janna Baty ’93 M.M. will perform “The Old Suffragist,” which celebrates the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment’s ratification, with the composer Juliana Hall ’87 M.M. at the piano. Pianist, composer, and choreographer Eleonor Sandresky ’95 M.M. will also perform one of her own piano etudes, “Strange Energy #7.”

Rounding out the program will be favorites from the chamber music repertoire, with selections from Stravinsky’s “L’Histoire du soldat,” Mendelssohn’s “Octet,” and works by Schumann, Chopin, Bizet, and Poulenc.

Two panel discussions Friday morning are free and open to the public and will feature faculty and alumni panelists and moderators. The first panel, which will take place at 9 a.m. in Sprague Memorial Hall, is titled “Women in Composition: Experience in a Cultural Microcosm.” It is presented in conjunction with Yale’s 50WomenAtYale150 initiative, and will feature YSM faculty moderators Martin Bresnick and Hannah Lash ’12 A.D. Panelists will include Jane Ira Bloom ’76 B.A., ’77 M.M., Lauren Loiacono ’10 B.A., ’12 M.M., Missy Mazzoli ’06 M.M., and Tawnie Olson ’99 M.M., ’00 A.D.

A second panel discussion at 10:30 a.m. will address the role of chamber music at YSM past and present, as well as chamber music’s broader cultural significance. Moderated by YSM Deputy Dean Melvin Chen ’91 B.S., the panel of YSM faculty will feature veteran chamber musicians Ani Kavafian (violin), William Purvis (horn), and David Shifrin (clarinet).

Friday evening’s festivities will conclude at 7:30 p.m. in Woolsey Hall with a concert by the Yale Philharmonia led by guest conductor Ludovic Morlot, conductor emeritus of the Seattle Symphony. The program will feature soloist and recent graduate Jung Eun Kang ’18 M.M., ’19 M.M.A. in Szymanowski’s “Violin Concerto No. 1,” along with Debussy’sPrelude à L’après-midi d’un fauneand Prokofiev’s “Fifth Symphony.” Tickets are free for students, $13 for faculty and staff, and $17 for the general public.

Pointing to the trifecta of anniversaries, YSM Dean Robert Blocker wrote in the school’s biannual magazine that “these occasions are historically significant for Yale, for each reflects its own account of the struggle to be recognized, to be included.” YSM’s reunion will be a time to reflect on the accomplishments of its many alumni within the greater context of the University, said Blocker. But, he added, “it is the promise and hope for the future that should capture our attention.”

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