School of music

School Notes: School of Music
September/October 2020

Robert Blocker |

Summer programs offered online

In July, the school moved Morse Summer Music Academy online. YSM’s Music in Schools Initiative, of which the Morse Summer Music Academy is a part, is made possible by an endowment from the Yale Class of 1957. MorseOnline, as it was called this past summer, served 90 students from New Haven public schools.

The Yale Summer School of Music / Norfolk Chamber Music Festival presented concerts online. Performances featured the Brentano String Quartet, YSM’s ensemble-in-residence; faculty artists including clarinetist David Shifrin, cellist Paul Watkins, pianist, YSM deputy dean, and festival director Melvin Chen ’91; and festival alumni. The festival also presented preconcert talks and concert rebroadcasts online. 

Yale alumnus wins Pulitzer Prize in music

Composer Anthony Davis ’75 won this year’s Pulitzer Prize in music for The Central Park Five, which the jury described as “a courageous operatic work . . . that skillfully transforms a notorious example of contemporary injustice into something empathetic and hopeful.” The opera, whose libretto was written by Richard Wesley, was premiered in 2019 by the Long Beach Opera. Davis taught composition and African American studies at Yale as a Lustman Fellow in 1981 and has served as a visiting professor at the School of Music. Davis’s father, Charles Davis, who died in 1981, chaired Yale’s Department of African-American Studies and served as head of what is now the university’s Grace Hopper College.

Longtime professor retires

Michael Friedmann, who since arriving at the School of Music in 1985 has taught a course based on his method book Ear Training for Twentieth-Century Music (Yale University Press, 1990) and classes focused on chamber music analysis and performance, retired at the end of the 2019–20 academic year. Friedmann, who also led the school’s DMA seminar, first came to Yale in 1978 and taught in the Department of Music for two years before taking a position at the Hartt School at the University of Hartford. After three years there, he returned to Yale and thereafter taught at the school and the department. 

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