Two major figures in the contemporary music world will take the stage on campus in the upcoming week.
Composer Ned Rorem. New Music New Haven will present works by Pulitzer Prize-winning guest composer Ned Rorem, once described by Time magazine as "the world's best composer of art songs," on Thursday, Feb. 5, at 8 p.m. in the Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Memorial Hall, 470 College St.
The program will include Rorem's "Songs of Sadness" for baritone, guitar, clarinet and cello and "Dances for Cello and Piano," as well as music by students in Yale's composition department. Admission is free, and the public is invited.
Rorem's compositions have included three symphonies, four piano concertos and an array of other orchestral works, music for numerous chamber music ensembles, six operas, choral works of every description, ballets and other music for the theater, and literally hundreds of songs and cycles. He is the author of 14 books, including five volumes of diaries and collections of lectures and criticism. His works have been commissioned and performed by major orchestras throughout the country, and he won the Pulitzer Prize in music in 1976 for his suite "Air Music."
Of his work, Rorem has said: "My music is a diary no less compromising than my prose. A diary nevertheless differs from a musical composition in that it depicts the moment, the writer's present mood, which, were it inscribed an hour later, could emerge quite otherwise. I don't believe that composers notate their moods, they don't tell the music where to go -- it leads them ..."
Conductor Peter Oundjian. Peter Oundjian, who took up the conductor's baton in 1995 after 14 years as first violinist for the Tokyo String Quartet, will lead the Yale Symphony Orchestra (YSO) during its concert at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 7, in Woolsey Hall, corner of College and Grove streets.
Oundjian, who has been professor (adjunct) of violin at the School of Music since 1981, will lead the YSO as it performs Dvorak's Ninth Symphony ("From the New World"); Elgar's Cello Concerto, featuring soloist Daniel Adamson '98 of Davenport College; and Beethoven's "Cariolan Overture." General admission for the event is $3 for students and $5 for non-students; tickets will be available at the YSO office, in Rm. 304 of 165 Elm St., or at the door beginning at 7 p.m. on the night of the performance. For more information, call 432-4140.
During his tenure with the Tokyo String Quartet, Oundjian gave more than 130 performances in major concert halls throughout the world each year. During his last two seasons with the group, the quartet performed complete Beethoven cycles in Paris, Amsterdam, Vienna, Milan and New York City.
Although he has been active as a conductor from a young age, Oundjian made his formal conducting debut in 1995 with the Orchestra of St. Luke's for the 50th anniversary of the Caramoor International Music Festival in Toronto. The New York Times subsequently noted about Oundjian that "the arrival of a musically gifted new conductor is always cause to celebrate." In 1997, Oundjian was named artistic director of the Caramoor Festival.