YSO ends superb season

April 21, 2006
The Yale Symphony Orchestra has had a particularly eventful year. Not only was it its second in a row with a new conductor, but the venerable organization is also celebrating its 40th anniversary with a five-city summer tour of the Pacific Northwest. Last weekend the YSO, led by Toshiuki Shimada, capped its Woolsey Hall season »

‘New Music New Haven’ debuts newfangled newness

April 7, 2006
Every spring, the Yale Philharmonia lets down its guard and teams up with the eclectic “New Music New Haven” series for an evening comprised entirely of new music. This year’s concert, which took place in Woolsey Hall last Friday, included five brand-new commissions from Yale School of Music composition students alongside music by two of »

Nonet is a non-ethereal act

February 24, 2006
Numerous times during their Sprague Hall concert Tuesday evening, the venerable Czech Nonet attained chamber music nirvana. Instruments combined seamlessly, becoming a single voice that articulated melodies, colors and rhythms precisely and effortlessly. These nine musicians play together so skillfully, in fact, that it was all the more frustrating that their concert was, well, fairly »

‘Dr. Atomic’ radiates fiery melodic flair

October 8, 2005
It’s big news when a major opera company commissions a new opera, and the frenzy surrounding the October 1 premiere of John Adams’s “Dr. Atomic” in San Francisco has reached fever pitch. The much-anticipated opera has been on the radar since it was announced in 2002 — and judging by Adams’s previous two, this was »

Clap your hands (and say ‘yeah!’) for classical music at Yale

September 23, 2005
If anyone wanted proof that the piano recital is alive and well — as surely all college students do — they need have looked no further than Sprague Hall last Wednesday night. Emanuel Ax, the masterful and consistently uncompromising pianist, provided a meaty program of Beethoven, Brahms and Bartok to a brimming and enthusiastic audience. »

O’Riley plays Radiohead beautifully (again)

April 22, 2005
Pianist Franz Liszt brought down the 19th-century house playing souped-up versions of Beethoven’s symphonies. Rachmaninoff and Busoni later took similarly obscene liberties with Bach’s solo violin music. “The piano’s capacity to emulate other instruments, to evoke a whole range of colors, makes it the single most versatile conduit for a whole universe of musical expression,” »

Yalies make some beautiful music

April 8, 2005
It’s a rare event for an orchestra to play a new work by a living composer. After all, it’s a dangerous and unpredictable use of time and money — nobody knows how the audience will react, if critics will like it, if the orchestra’s patrons will become alienated and tight-fisted. At last Thursday’s New Music »

Arnie Schoenberg’s ghost comes alive, still creepy after all these years

March 4, 2005
If the scene in Branford common room last Friday at midnight was any indication, Arnold Schoenberg is the next indie rock hero. The sheer number of excitedly babbling students jammed into such a small space, in conjunction with the makeshift seating, free-flowing booze and mood lighting, created the pleasantly electrifying atmosphere of a rock concert. »

‘Souls’ and ‘Zippo’ are modern classics

February 4, 2005
From Woody Guthrie to Eminem, there is a rich tradition of American music inspired by current events. Though one wouldn’t know by listening to the radio, this tradition is alive and incredibly vital — especially in recent albums by composers John Adams and Phil Kline. Adams’ “On the Transmigration of Souls,” commissioned by the New »

Philharmonia plays the masters like masters

January 28, 2005
It’s tough to be an orchestra in Connecticut. Overshadowed by the giants of New York and Boston, semi-professional groups like the Hartford or Waterbury symphonies toil with mixed results. Artistic aspirations are constantly tempered by the goal of coddling the ossified audience, whose donations assure the orchestra’s survival. Without doubt, the Yale Philharmonia is the »

Piano man shines at Sprague

January 21, 2005
Though heavy snow somewhat dampened attendance, anticipation ran high for pianist Yefim Bronfman’s solo concert Jan. 11 at Sprague Hall. An internationally-known pianist with many well-reviewed recordings, Bronfman’s playing is deliciously refined, never harsh. One can count on him to give convincing, if occasionally unadventurous, interpretations of a great — but somewhat stodgy — repertoire. »