Apollo’s Girl

 IF YOU PLAY IT, THEY WILL COME

Yale in New York

Who can resist it? An evening of repertoire you’ve always wanted to hear but nobody offers? Well, just ask the Yale School of Music, which has been making its Yale in New York season appearances with just that strategy, and its appeal isdespite the city’s ferocious competitiontruly irresistible. Artistic director David Shifrin served twelve years in the same post with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and he knows how to design a magnet as well as a wield a clarinet.

The first concert I went to was the Yale Philharmonia, in a program of four concerti grossi at Zankel Hall. One of them (by Ernest Bloch) is a staple, but the others (Duet-Concertino for clarinet and bassoon, by Richard Strauss); Ballade No. 2 (by Frank Martin); and the always ingratiating Alberto Ginastera’s Variaciones concertantes, are lesser-known gems. Taken together, the four promised an out-of-the-ordinary treat; balanced and provocative, that deployed the Philharmonia like a lean and energized battalion determined to take no prisoners.

The orchestra, conducted by Shinik Hahm, is first-rate, and the soloists (especially in the Ginastera, and especially its French horn player, Andrew Mee) were the equal of any heard around town. The cream on this tasty cake was whipped up by Yale faculty members Ransom Wilson, (in the Martin) and David Shifrin and Frank Morelli in the Strauss. 

While Yale’s resources have enabled its music department to do run-out concerts in New York, it has also toured as far afield as China and Mexico, and has developed an ardent following in its wake. But there is no doubt that the repertoire strategy of Yale in New York is key to its success in the city.

Up next (this time at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall) on Monday, April 25 at 8pm, you can hear the Yale Baroque Ensemble inStylus Fantasticus”– Extravagant and experimental music from the 17thcentury. If you’re for new music, it’s your cup of tea. And if you’re for early music, it’s the honey and lemon. Or, taken together, its like having your scone and eating it, too. To learn more about Yale in New York: Yale. To see and hear: tickets

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