Yale School of Music reopens to public with ‘New Music New Haven’ concert
On Thursday, students from the School of Music will perform pieces written by composition students and faculty composer Martin Bresnick.
Yale Daily News
The Yale School of Music‘s big shows will reopen to the public on Thursday with the second “New Music New Haven” concert of the semester.
The concert is part of the “New Music New Haven” series, which takes place three times per semester and features only pieces composed by students and faculty at the Yale School of Music. Audiences will hear the music of faculty composer Martin Bresnik and Matiss Cudars MUS ’23, Julián Fueyo MUS ’23, Sophia Jani MUS ’22, Udi Perlman MUS ’26, Harriet Steinke MUS ’22 and Benjamin Webster MUS ’23.
“The New Music New Haven Concert Series is designed to represent our excellent graduate composition students in their work and also to represent, from time to time, some of the faculty who teach the students – in this case, me,” Bresnick said. . “This new music is made by people from a younger generation, just exploring the world of music. I think people will think this music is beautiful. It’s moving. It’s uplifting. It’s the music that’s necessary. We need this music.
Steinke’s piece “Hymnal” will be performed by a voice and a chamber ensemble. The text of the play is by American poet Alessandra Lynch. While studying English at Butler University, Steinke took Lynch’s poetry lessons and worked alongside him, becoming instantly drawn to the “distinctly musical” characteristics. In “Hymnal”, Steinke explores Lynch’s work, describing his “beautiful” text as the play’s muse.
“I hope I represented them in my piece as well,” Steinke said.
Fueyo’s piece is called “Cantica Gelidæ”. According to Fueyo, he has always been interested in ancient aesthetics and its place in rapidly changing contemporary culture. As he read the poem “De Rerum Natura”, or “On the Nature of Things”, by the ancient Roman poet Lucretius, he was struck by a series of verses about the human desire to commemorate and perpetuate the voice in time both literally and allegorically. Using it as inspiration, Fueyo wrote a song exploring this text for a bass singer – basso profundo – and the electronics generated in real time by processing the vocalist’s voice – “live electronics”.
With the aid of live electronics, Fueyo’s music explores humans’ relationship with time. The audience will hear the singer’s voice live, which will first be picked up by the electronics half a second later, multiplied by a vocoder, fragmented by a granulator and sustained indefinitely via reverb. Through this process, Fueyo aims to convey the idea that memory is embodied in sound when the singer’s voice is sustained or fragmented into pieces of sound in a micro-loop.
“Inevitably, echo and other electro-acoustic sounds build up to the point where the singer’s words become unintelligible, forcing the singer to come to terms with the impermanence of their voice,” Fueyo said. “As the world moves into uncharted territory, technologically, politically, and anthropologically, so does culture and behavior. This piece is a meditation on memory, idealization, historicism, and the human desire to transgress them, as I hope to better understand myself.
Bresnick’s piece is called “Bitter Suite”. According to Bresnick, there is a “very special” starting point for this music. He received a commission from a Manhattan organization that was interested in seeing if it could revive a place in a modern context for old Yiddish folk songs. Her aunt was a local folk singer, which established her strong connection to the material. After completing his work, which was based on an older song placed in a new context, Bresnick was inspired by the process of revisiting older songs he already knew and putting them in a different light. Thus, Bresnick composed three more pieces to make four in total. Each of the pieces has folk at its center and reevaluates how people can understand them in a modern context.
“I found it challenging, but also a very touching way to stay in touch with a part of my own past that I don’t usually reveal,” Bresnick said.
When naming the piece, Bresnick chose to play on the word “sweet”. ‘Suite’ refers to works that are assembled – such as English and French suites by composers like Bach.
Spectators must book their tickets online prior to the show due to capacity limitations. Members of the public will also be asked to show proof of vaccination and photo ID at the door and wear an ASTM or N95 equivalent mask at all times inside the building. Reservations will be closed one hour before each concert.
“I’m really excited for the gig,” Steinke said. “New music is such an important thing – to be able to hear music from people who are alive right now and living in the same world as you. Especially right now, when so much is happening in the world. Being able to experience art that other people you live with are doing at the same time is super special.
The Morse Recital Hall is located at 470 College St.