School of music

School Notes: School of Music
March/April 2021

Robert Blocker |

Violinist represents YSM in YAA, Yale in Hollywood

Violinist and entrepreneur Wynton Grant ’17MusM was elected to a two-year term (2020–22) as the school’s delegate to the Yale Alumni Association. He was also elected music chair of Yale in Hollywood. Grant, who in 2017 was awarded the Dean’s Prize at YSM, lives and works in Los Angeles, where he has played on recordings by such artists as Miley Cyrus, Alicia Keys, and Shawn Mendes, and composers Ramin Djawadi, Alan Menken, and Hans Zimmer. Grant has also played on the soundtracks for the Disney films Mulan and The Lion King

Celebrated pianist coaching Yale Opera this semester

Howard Watkins, a Presidential Visiting Fellow at Yale, is serving as a coach and collaborative pianist for the Yale Opera program during the spring 2021 semester. Watkins, an assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera, has appeared in recital and as a collaborative pianist with such celebrated vocalists as Kathleen Battle, Lawrence Brownlee, Grace Bumbry, Joyce DiDonato, Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazón, and YSM alumnus Matthew Polenzani ’94MusM. 

Yale College alumnus leaves legacy of support for music and drama students

A gift from business executive and philanthropist Raymond Plank ’44, who died in 2018, will support a scholarship at YSM and an annual residency at the artist retreat Plank established in Ucross, Wyoming, nearly 40 years ago. “The commitment of the Plank estate to artists assures us that their voices will not be silenced,” YSM dean Robert Blocker said, “and we at the School of Music are profoundly grateful to be the beneficiaries of Mr. Plank’s ideals. The opportunities created by this gift will assist our talented students in the discovery of their distinctive musical voices that will speak to humanity through music.”  

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