Recital by School of Music violinist celebrates three anniversaries at Yale

Wendy Sharp ’82 B.A.
Wendy Sharp ’82 B.A.

Yale School of Music (YSM) faculty violinist Wendy Sharp ’82 B.A. and pianist Joel Wizansky will present a recital featuring works by Yale alumnae on Sunday, Nov. 10 at 3 p.m. in Sprague Memorial Hall, corner of College and Wall streets. The event is free and open to the public.

The recital celebrates the trifecta of anniversaries at Yale and YSM this year. In addition to the 50th anniversary of coeducation at Yale College and the 150th anniversary of women at Yale, this year also marks the 125th anniversary of the School of Music. To celebrate these milestones, Sharp will present music by women graduates of Yale College and YSM, as well as music by YSM professors.

Sharp is assistant professor (adjunct) of violin at YSM, where she is also the director of chamber music. In addition, she maintains a studio of undergraduate violinists and teaches “Performance of Chamber Music,” a popular seminar available to undergraduates by audition.

Sharp said that she was mostly unaware of the novelty of coeducation during her time as an undergraduate. She recalled her incredulity when, during her second year, Yale celebrated a decade of coeducation: “I was like, ‘What? If I were 11 years older, I wouldn’t be here.’”

From a young age, Sharp knew she wanted to be a violinist. She was attracted to Yale because it was — and remains — one of the few institutions offering a top-notch education in both liberal arts and music performance. Although the graduate school and college music department were structured differently, Sharp said she was able to take advantage of both programs as a student. In addition to her studies. Sharp performed chamber music informally with friends and colleagues. Her roommate in Berkeley College, a pianist, was one collaborator, as was the then-dean of Berkeley, with whom she performed in a piano trio.

The three alumnae whose work will be featured at Sharp’s recital are: Pulitzer Prize-winner Caroline Shaw ’07 M.M., Loren Loiacono ’10 B.A., ’12 M.M., and YSM Professor Hannah Lash ’12 A.D. Lash’s piece is a world premiere and was privately commissioned to commemorate the 50th anniversary of coeducation in Yale College. The program also includes works by Clara Schumann, Roy Harris, and Charles Ives (Yale College 1898).

Shaw and Sharp first met when Shaw was a violin student at YSM, waiting for lessons in a Leigh Hall corridor. Shaw, winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Music, wrote “Broad and Freein 2017 for her former violin teacher. The work takes inspiration from a salon piece by famed violinist Fritz Kreisler called “Leibselied.” Fragments of the piece are initially recalled like a distant memory before coalescing to form a portion of the piece itself, Sharp said, adding that listening to Shaw’s piece “is like looking at Kreisler’s [“Leibselied] through a prism.”

Loiacono graduated from Yale College in 2010 before getting a M.M. in composition from YSM. Her piece “Stout with Another Man’s Song” was written in 2014. It was inspired by Nabokov’s “Pale Fire,” a novel about the relationship between a poet and a scholar studying his work. Sharp first met Loiacono when the latter was a student in her chamber music seminar as an undergraduate.

Listen: ‘Stout With Another Man’s Song’

In addition to Sharp, the world premiere of Lash’s work, “2 Songs,” will feature faculty mezzo soprano Janna Baty ’93 M.M. and the composer on harp. The piece was first discussed when the three sat next to each other at a YSM convocation. They chatted about expanding the repertoire available to their non-traditional trio, and decided this year’s three anniversaries presented an ideal occasion to make it a reality.

Rounding out the program are works by Clara Schumann, Roy Harris, and Charles Ives. Harris’ “Dance of Spring” was initially a stand-alone piece. It later formed a movement of his “Violin Sonata,” which won an Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Medal in 1942. It was Coolidge who gave much of the money to build YSM’s Sprague Memorial Hall.

For more information, visit the Yale School of Music website.

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