When Vincent Oneppo MUS ’73 began working for the School of Music, press releases were sent via snail mail and the school’s yearly concert schedule was outlined by hand in a large ledger book.
More than 40 years have passed since then and Oneppo — who is retiring today from his post as the director of the Concert and Media Office at the School of Music — has seen a lot of changes at the school. In 2008, he began writing daily blog posts documenting the Yale Symphony Orchestra’s concert tour of Asia and, more recently, he began orchestrating live Web streams of the school’s concerts. Reflecting on his long career at Yale, School of Music faculty and staff said both his professional skills as well as his warm personality will be sorely missed.
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“Vincent Oneppo has touched virtually everything that occurred in the school in his job,” said School of Music Dean Robert Blocker, who has known Oneppo since 1998. “He’s not a person who ever sought recognition — he is a person who is one of this University’s great servants.”
Oneppo, a trained clarinetist, began his career at Yale immediately after graduating from the School of Music in 1973. He first worked as manager of the Yale Symphony Orchestra, a position in which he oversaw student coordinators and managed the payment of bills and other administrative duties. Since that time, he has worked for the Music School’s Printing and Publishing Department and the human resources office, and served as executive officer of the School of Music from 1987-1991.
In 1998, he took on his current role as director of the Concert and Media Office.
Dean Blocker cites the establishment of the Yale in New York concert series and the School of Music’s Chamber Music Series as two of Oneppo’s greatest achievements from his time at the Music School. The Chamber Music Series, which Blocker called one of the best in the country, was renamed the Vincent M. Oneppo Chamber Music Series at a ceremony last month in honor of his dedication to the program and to the University as a whole, Blocker said.
“I have found him to be a person of impeccable integrity — a man who is completely trustworthy,” Blocker said of Oneppo. “Many faculty, staff, students go to him for council, myself included.”
Paul Hawkshaw, a professor at the School of Music and director of the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, has known Oneppo since 1984 and worked with him organizing the annual festival. He said that not only did Oneppo do a great job of making the school’s programming accessible to the greater New Haven community, but he was also largely responsible for updating the technology used to promote the school.
“He brought our concert and press office into the modern world,” Hackshaw said.
Oneppo, himself, said that apart from technology, the greatest changes he has observed over the past 40 years at Yale are those involving the size and scale of the School of Music.
“The school’s programs have expanded and are much more ambitious,” Oneppo said. “We have a global footprint where we have relations with other music schools around the globe.”
Oneppo said he is grateful to the University and particularly the School of Music for all the opportunities he has received, which include playing with the Yale Band in three European tours, organizing several concerts at Carnegie Hall and working with, as he said, some of the world’s finest musicians. In his retirement, Oneppo hopes to focus on his work as a musician, something his responsibilities with the school have prevented him from doing, he said.
The School of Music is in the process of re-evaluating its administrative structure before selecting Oneppo’s replacement. In the interim, Dana Astman, the assistant director of the Concert and Media Office, has assumed Oneppo’s responsibilities.
Oneppo will perform with the Yale Band this Friday in their re-enactment of Glen Miller’s 1944 Army Air Force Band radio broadcasts.