Looking back at the Young Artists Program

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

I just wanted to thank you profusely for such an incredible few weeks at Yellow Barn’s Young Artists Program. I had one of the most enriching and life changing times over those 18 days. People often reflect on their lives and can pinpoint moments where real change occurred that propelled them to new heights or created epiphanies on how they saw themselves navigating the next stages of life with renewed energy, focus and direction. I drove away feeling so incredibly lucky to have had that time at Yellow Barn and can genuinely say that my time opened up a whole new dimension of musical understanding, where I now feel I can perceive music on a more visceral plane. All of us were so fortunate to have such a complete experience through all the special guests coming for coachings, master-classes, lectures and presentations and all of the amazing dedication every person on the faculty brings with such excitement and enthusiasm. Human beings learn best through inspiration brought through teaching that is filled with unbridled joy and enthusiasm where the goal is pure musical enrichment. I have not experienced anything like that at such a distilled level till I came to Yellow Barn.

There were so many things that I am so thankful to have been able to take in and to carry with me. The whole summer is summed up perfectly for me by something said by a faculty member that I think every musician could use as a model for how to be an artist in this world.

"A sound that is alive is always becoming"

—2013 Young Artists Program participant

The intensely focused atmosphere, and demanding schedule creates an environment where everyone wants to work hard to learn and explore the music together. It is an amazing opportunity to have daily coachings with such high level faculty from around the world. I was so excited to participate in two world premieres of pieces both written and rehearsed whilst at yap. It's a rare opportunity to be able to work with a composer on the piece you are learning. I feel I have developed my leadership skills, as well as my ability to translate rehearsal techniques into performances. The food is fabulous as always and the staff is great. YAP will always be one of the most treasured experiences and opportunities of my life!

—2014 Young Artists Program participant

Learn more about the Young Artists Program at Yellow Barn

Honoring Gordon Hayward

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Every Yellow Barn participant receives a full scholarship—an essential fact that makes the spirit of Yellow Barn live on. During the summer, Yellow Barn audiences join together to ensure the future of the scholarship program and celebrate an individual who shares Yellow Barn’s philosophy. This year Yellow Barn honors landscape artist Gordon Hayward on July 30th with a scholarship benefit dinner and concert, the proceeds of which will underwrite a participant scholarship in his name.

In addition, Gordon and his gardens are the inspiration and setting for Gordon's Garden Music, a new piece by Yellow Barn composer Stephen Coxe that will have its premiere performance in Hayward Gardens at Yellow Barn's gala event "Music in the Garden" on July 20th. (A second performance for the general public will follow on the 21st.)

Ronnie Friedman, former Director of Westminster Cares, offers the following remarks in celebration of these events:

Thirteen years ago, Westminster Cares began a garden tour as a fundraising event. We started small, three or four gardens of our neighbors. We made a little money. The next year, we nervously asked Mary and Gordon Hayward if they would consider having their garden on our tour. They graciously accepted and our small fundraiser became a major event for Westminster Cares and our community. The thousands of dollars we raise every year help support programs such as Meals on Wheels, rides for those in need of transportation, a community nurse and other services that enable Westminster seniors to continue to live independently in their homes in our community. Dozens of local volunteers help support the tour by selling tickets, parking cars, making lemonade and playing music. And some of the people who come to the gardens learn about the work of Westminster Cares and start to volunteer.

Through the Hayward’s connections, we have been able to coordinate the dates of our garden tour with the annual North Hill Symposium. The Symposium brings people to Vermont from all over the country and in turn to our garden tour. It’s no surprise that they come. Over the years Mary and Gordon have created a spectacular garden that is a testament to their horticultural knowledge and most important creativity. In addition to Westminster Cares they generously open their garden to other non-profit groups such as Sandglass Theater, which performs a show aptly named Puppets in Paradise. We’re very fortunate to have Mary and Gordon as such good neighbors.

Gordon Hayward is a nationally recognized garden writer, designer, and lecturer. He wrote for Horticulture Magazine for twenty-five years and lectured with the magazine on nine of their multi-city lecture tours across the United States. He was a contributing editor at Fine Gardening Magazine for six years and the author of eleven books on garden design. With his wife Mary, he has been developing a 1.5-acre garden for the past thirty years around their 240-year-old home in southern Vermont. They also have a tiny garden outside their cottage in the North Cotswold Hills of England where Mary is from.

An Introduction to Charles Ives

Sunday, May 25, 2014

In advance of Gilbert Kalish's performance of the "Concord" sonata on July 4th's Opening Night Concert, Yellow Barn invites you to learn more about Charles Ives by reading Jan Swafford's insightful biography of the composer:

Charles Edward Ives (1874-1954)

For all his singularity, the Yankee maverick Charles Ives is among the most representative of American artists. Optimistic, idealistic, fiercely democratic, he unified the voice of the American people with the forms and traditions of European classical music. The result, in his most far-reaching work, is like nothing ever imagined before him: music at once unique and as familiar as a tune whistled in childhood, music that can conjure up the pandemonium of a small-town Fourth of July or the quiet of a New England church, music of visionary spirituality built from the humblest materials--an old gospel hymn, a patriotic tune, a sentimental parlor song. The way in which Ives pursued his goal of a democratic art, and his career of creating at the highest level of ambition while making a fortune in the life insurance business, perhaps could only have happened in the United States. And perhaps only there could such an isolated, paradoxical figure make himself into a major artist.

Charles Ives was born in the small manufacturing town of Danbury, Connecticut, on October 20, 1874, two years before Brahms finished his First Symphony. During the Civil War his father George Ives had been the Union's youngest bandmaster, his band called the best in the army. When the war ended George had returned to Danbury to take up the unusual trade, in that business-oriented town, of musician.

As a cornet player, band director, theater orchestra leader, choir director, and teacher, George Ives became the most influential musician in the region. Yet while Danbury prided itself during the 1880s in being called "the most musical town in Connecticut" (that in large part due to George Ives's labors), people still viewed the profession with little understanding or respect. That situation, which would have been the same in most American towns in the 19th century, had its impact on Charles Ives. Still, his family was prominent, noted for extravagant personalities and (except for George) a gift for business.

like father, like son 
Ives told the story of his introduction to music: his father came home one day to find the five-year old banging out the Ives Band's drum parts on the piano, using his fists. George Ives's response gave the first impetus to his son's career as a musical innovator. Rather than saying, as would most parents, That's not how to play the piano, George observed instead, "It's all right to do that, Charles, if you know what you're doing," and sent the boy down the street for drum lessons. Charlie never did stop using his fists on the piano, and was eventually notorious for requiring a board to play the Concord Sonata. Thus the invention of what a later age would call "tone clusters."...

Read the complete biography

The beginning of an epic tale

Monday, April 14, 2014

This year in preparation for their upcoming Artist Residency, Trio Cleonice embarked on an ambitious project: read and study pillars of Russian literature while at the same time delving into two of the great piano trios with unbridled passion and commitment. Cellist Gwen Krosnick recalls some of their early thoughts:

The opening of the Tchaikovsky trio, to Ari, Emely, and me, has always felt like the beginning of an epic tale, a huge and magical journey. One has the sense that, though the music is incredibly rich and evocative, right away, Tchaikovsky is only sharing so much. But we know that there is a huge emotional journey ahead: that is the affect, the atmosphere, the sense in the air as the piece begins! And, wildly, the parallel is perhaps the opening to War and Peace: even as Tolstoy starts it, almost unassumingly, with a conversation – a high society salon in Petersburg, with upper-class niceties and lots of French-inspired turns of phrase – we have the sense that this is the beginning of something much bigger than we can imagine or anticipate, something emotional and full of heat.

It is from this that our Russian music and literature residency began. While the world has enjoyed comparing Tchaikovsky trio to its more compact and upright Germanic cousins (Mozart trios and all else), it has been irresistible for us – and, more importantly, relevant, potent, thrilling for us – to instead put it in the immediate literary, artistic, emotional context that surrounded Tchaikovsky.

These great, great works of art - by Tchaikovsky and by Tolstoy - have sustained us through the past cold months and have kept our hearts exultant and inspired as we stepped through Boston's endless ice and sipped pots upon pots of tea. For, as Richard Pevear says, in his beautiful introduction to his translation of War and Peace (with his wife, Larissa Volokhonsky), “War and Peace is the most famous and at the same time the most daunting of Russian novels, as vast as Russia itself and as long to cross from one end to the other. Yet if one makes the journey, the sights seen and the people met on the way mark one’s life forever.” And yes, that is just it: these sights, these tunes, the people and motives and magic and wonder of these beautiful Russian stories – all of this is irreplaceable and, though we can only see the beginning of it right now, we know it will all be life-changing.

—Gwen Krosnick

PRI's The World introduces "Music of the Book"

Monday, April 14, 2014

On the first day of Passover host Marco Werner sits down with Merima Ključo at WGBH's studio in Boston to talk and hear more about Merima's personal story and the musical story behind her new work:

View this segment on "The World"'s website

See a list of all upcoming performances of The Sarajevo Haggadah: Music of the Book

Learn more about Merima's Artist Residency at Yellow Barn

PBS explores The Sarajevo Haggadah

Friday, April 11, 2014

Kim Lawton interviews Merima Ključo at the Boston premiere of The Sarajevo Haggadah: Music of the Book for this segment of WGBH's "Religion & Ethics Newsweekly" with excerpts from the performance: