Composition at YSM

October 3, 2019

study composition here as a student means,
in some sense, that you have this remarkable
range of instructional types and characters to work with. We’re in a golden
age of faculty. We have extraordinarily
distinguished teachers in composition,
including two Pulitzer Prize-winning composers. It’s a very special place. As I began to investigate
the music of the composer on faculty, it was clear
that there was nowhere else I would rather be than at
the Yale school of Music composition department. I had a wonderful
opportunity to study with Martin Bresnick, who was
visiting Harvard as a guest. And so the opportunity
to continue that dialogue within a program
where I could be part of such a supportive
and positive community seemed to me to make total sense. We try to let students
choose their own teachers and move freely from
studio to studio. It’s a very congenial
and collegial environment with, I would say, a very
high morale about creativity and productivity. Martin Bresnick has
created an environment of composers who are very
different, one from another. And so there’s a lot
of cross-pollination of ideas and also respect. I think that’s something
that you sometimes don’t find in other universities. MARTIN BRESNICK:
The relationship between composers in
the program is one of tremendous give-and-take. They teach each other in a very
fascinating and interesting way. But if you expand
beyond that, the number of performers who have formed
human and musical relationships with our composition students is
uncountable and it’s everybody. There’s always an
open door here for ideas and to consider things
and to talk about, and that’s only limited by
the composer’s imagination and willingness to go 50
feet in that direction and find out what’s going on. Yeah, let’s go
again right on D. I feel it really brings
all these different elements together that I’m interested in. The rock music, jazz music,
heavy music, romantic music, all of that. CHRISTOPHER THEOFANIDIS:
The projects really are just limited by what the
students really want to do. I mean, some composers
use amplification. Some people use electric guitar. Some people use non-western
musical instruments. Some people use string quartet. JORDAN KUSPA: One of the nice
things about being here at Yale is there’s a huge variety of
things that are in the air. I actually come here
to Yale art gallery often to gain inspiration. I’ve done a lot
of works that have been informed by visual art. I live not far
from the university, but when I walk from my house
past Center Church where Charles Ives played throughout
his whole time here at Yale, I think to myself this is
where American music really began in some important
ways and where it continues in every
possible sense of that word.

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