School of music

School Notes: School of Music
May/June 2021

Robert Blocker |

Yale Philharmonia records pandemic-inspired work

In spring 2020, faculty composer Aaron Jay Kernis ’83Mus wrote Elegy (for those we lost), a piano piece that he dedicated, through the school’s Postcards from Confinement project, “to the families of loved ones who passed away from the coronavirus and to the doctors, nurses, and other health-care professionals who worked so tirelessly to save those loved ones.” Kernis commissioned a film from director Esther Shubinski “to show a side of loss that, up to that point, I hadn’t yet seen in the media,” the composer said. Kernis recently arranged Elegy for string orchestra, and the Yale Philharmonia recorded the piece in February. 

Bang on a Can celebrated in new book

In February, Oxford University Press released Industry: Bang on a Can and New Music in the Marketplace, a book by musicologist William Robin about the pioneering organization that Yale School of Music alumni Michael Gordon ’82MusM, faculty composer David Lang ’89DMA, and Julia Wolfe ’86MusM established in 1987. The New York Times published an essay—“How a Scrappy Arts Group Survived the ’90s”—in which Robin lauded Bang on a Can’s operational ingenuity while arguing for increased support for the arts from the US government. 

Composers win scholarships from Academy of Arts and Letters

School of Music alum Alexis Lamb ’20MusM and students Frances Pollock ’19MusM, ’25DMA, Udi Perlman ’26DMA, and Joel Thompson ’26DMA have each been awarded a $7,500 Charles Ives Scholarship by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. An awards presentation is scheduled for May 19. The winners were chosen by a committee of Academy members that included School of Music alumni Robert Beaser ’76, ’77MusM, ’86DMA, and Julia Wolfe ’86MusM; Yale College alum George Lewis ’74; and School of Music faculty composer Martin Bresnick.   

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