Michael Kerschner / Artistic Director

YNYC Blog

Meet the Composers: Grace Ann Lee

This Saturday, April 29, the YNYC Women’s Ensemble will perform ‘Story Time’, featuring stories of humor, fantasy, loss, and memory.  This year, for the first time, the Women’s Ensemble will premiere YNYC’s Competition for Young Composers, an international search for submissions from composers aged 18-35. This year’s three finalists represent the best new music for Women’s Choir.

Finally, we are pleased to introduce you to our third finalist for YNYC’s Competition for Young Composers, Grace Ann Lee!  Here is Grace’s Story:

Grace Ann Lee

Two Butterflies went out at Noon

Grace Ann Lee (b. 1996) is an aspiring composer who most recently had her work WORDS, WIDE NIGHT performed in May 2016 by the students in Eastman School of Music (as the winner of the Society of Chamber music in Rochester composition competition). She is a member of the 2014 and 2015 YoungArts National Foundation in composition, and is also one of the winners in NAfME All-National competition for composers, Second Degree “The Other Composition Competition” 2012 and 2014 NYSSMA Honors Composers Competition, Persis Vehar Composition Competition. Her works have been premiered by the Women’s Works by the Women in Music, and in Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Grace Ann started her musical career by studying the piano at age 4 and expanded her studies in music through cello and Hae-Geum (Traditional Korean Folk-Instrument). She also was an active member in numerous orchestras, children’s choirs, and studied music theory and jazz. She continues to incorporate her diverse musical learning in her works as a composer. Grace Ann began studying composition at age 17 with Dr. Stephen Shewan, and is currently studying composition in Indiana University Jacobs School of Music under the instruction of Professor Aaron Travers.

Grace Ann’s Story

What is your most treasured possession?

My relationships with all the valuable people in my life.

If you could do anything else besides composing, what would it be?

If I hadn’t become a composer, I would have become a cellist. I was very serious about playing the cello until my senior year of high school.

I think I could have also been successful with a career in voiceovers for cartoons. I can sound like a 5-year old super bubbly child or a 50-year old way-too-serious narrator lady. My roommates always compliment me on how much character I have in my voice!

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Esther from the Bible. Not only was she beautiful and wise but she had a vision in her life. I hope to live a life full of meaning and purpose, as Esther did.

Please join us at 6pm in the Recital Hall (upstairs) for a pre-concert talk back with our finalists and YNYC’s artistic leadership! The Q&A/Talk back is free with the purchase of your ticket! Concert will start at 7pm.

YNYC Women’s Ensemble Presents: Story Time

Saturday, April 29th | Talk back/Q&A 6pm | Concert 7pm

St. Michael’s Church | NY, NY
Tickets: http://wynycstorytime.bpt.me

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Meet the Composers: Andrey Stolyarov

This Saturday, April 29, the YNYC Women’s Ensemble will perform ‘Story Time’, featuring stories of humor, fantasy, loss, and memory.  This year, for the first time, the Women’s Ensemble will premiere YNYC’s Competition for Young Composers, an international search for submissions from composers aged 18-35. This year’s three finalists represent the best new music for Women’s Choir.

We are pleased to introduce you to our second of three finalists for YNYC’s Competition for Young Composers, Andrey Stolyarov!  Here is Andrey’s Story:

Andrey Stolyarov

Found

Andrey Stolyarov is a Russian-born American composer, conductor, singer, and educator. Most recently, his work Out of the depths for mixed choir, treble choir, organ, and orchestra won the 2016 John Kuzma Young Composers Award. His piece Ebb & Flow won first prize at the 2014 ISAM Festival Joseph Dorfman International Composition Competition in Ochsenhausen, Germany. Additionally, Andrey was a finalist in the 2016 and 2014 ASCAP Morton Gould competitions, the 2014 Khorikos ensemble’s ORTUS competition, an honorable mention in the 2015 American Prize choral division, and a semifinalist in the 2015 American Prize chamber division. Andrey is currently pursuing doctoral studies in music composition at The Hartt School in West Hartford, CT. Andrey is Co-director of The Hartford New Music Festival, Director of Music at West Avon Congregational Church in Avon, CT, Artistic Director of NoteNova Publishing, and is a graduate music theory teaching fellow at The Hartt School. Previously, he was the director of the Composer’s Ensemble Chorus at The Hartt School, and Composer-in-Residence at The Unitarian Society of Hartford. He is an active professional singer, currently performing with CONCORA and the Hartford Chorale. Andrey is published under Darushkii Publishing and NoteNova Publishing.

Andrey’s Story

What is your most treasured possession?

My wedding ring!

If you could do anything else besides composing, what would it be?

Before I began my undergraduate degree in music I wanted to pursue a degree in astronomy or astrophysics, so that would be it for me! Other options would be something to do with animals, or maybe something in politics.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Galileo Galilei – a brilliant mind, unrelenting skeptic, and a goliath in science. And the cherry on top – an accomplished musician!

Please join us at 6pm in the Recital Hall (upstairs) for a pre-concert talk back with our finalists and YNYC’s artistic leadership! The Q&A/Talk back is free with the purchase of your ticket! Concert will start at 7pm.

YNYC Women’s Ensemble Presents: Story Time

Saturday, April 29th | Talk back/Q&A 6pm | Concert 7pm

St. Michael’s Church | NY, NY
Tickets: http://wynycstorytime.bpt.me

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Meet the Composers: Alexander Campkin

This Saturday, April 29, the YNYC Women’s Ensemble will perform ‘Story Time’, featuring stories of humor, fantasy, loss, and memory.  This year, for the first time, the Women’s Ensemble will premiere YNYC’s Competition for Young Composers, an international search for submissions from composers aged 18-35. This year’s three finalists represent the best new music for Women’s Choir.

We are pleased to introduce you to our first of three finalists for YNYC’s Competition for Young Composers, Alexander Campkin!   Here is Alexander’s Story:

Alexander Campkin

Unwatch’d

Described as ‘fresh and attractive’ by Gramophone, Alexander Campkin’s music has attracted the attentions of some of the top ensembles. His work has been performed or broadcast in over thirty countries and features on 15 CDs, one of which was Classic FM Christmas CD of the Year. Alexander has received over sixty commissions from organisations including The Royal Opera House, The London Mozart Players, The Royal Ballet Sinfonia, Aldeburgh Music, The BBC Performing Arts Fund, The Swedish Arts Council, Ampersandance Contemporary Dance Company, New London Children’s Choir, The Theatinerkirche Vokalkapelle Munich, The Fulham Camerata Choir and Orchestra and Neresheim Abbey in Germany. He has been elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music for services to music. Alexander was born in 1984 and studied at Oxford University, the Royal Academy of Music and the University for Performing Arts in Vienna.

Alexander’s Story

What is your most treasured possession?

Lever for tuning my piano.

If you could do anything else besides composing, what would it be?

Conducting.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Stravinsky.

Please join us at 6pm in the Recital Hall (upstairs) for a pre-concert talk back with our finalists and YNYC’s artistic leadership! The Q&A/Talk back is free with the purchase of your ticket! Concert will start at 7pm.

YNYC Women’s Ensemble Presents: Story Time

Saturday, April 29th | Talk back/Q&A 6pm | Concert 7pm 

St. Michael’s Church | NY, NY
Tickets: http://wynycstorytime.bpt.me

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YNYC Mixed Ensemble presents: Happiness

The following are program notes from YNYC Artistic Director Michael Kerschner for this Saturday, December 17’s YNYC Mixed Ensemble concert “Happiness.” To purchase your tickets, please visit ynychappiness.bpt.me.

ynyc-christmas2-2016-fb-square-v3

“Truly to sing, that is a different breath.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

The collective noise of 2016 has amplified the ugliest voices of our time. Beautiful sentiments have been hushed, and while the strong and brave continue to use the language of possibility, they are heard through a disagreeable filter.

I find myself marveling at the beauty of the expressed sentiments of Christmas, and I despair that they are out of reach: humility, charity, and joy are as far away from us as a distant star. It is aggravating when the symbols of the season are defended without regard for the meanings they contain.

Meaning is YNYC’s currency, and it informs our dedication to loveliness. It is the calling of our time that all voices go forth and wrap the pursuit of happiness in beauty. We are meant to journey to the star ourselves, together– to take part in the great pilgrimage.

The harmony we desire is difficult to attain when we fail to remember that it contains both dissonance and consonance. Perhaps it is the season to be in unison. When others say that the perfect unison is unattainable, we remember that this is also the season to believe. When happiness belongs to all, it dominates the sound waves. Dissonance has an instinct to resolve, and so do we.

Warmly,
Michael Kerschner
Artistic Director, Young New Yorkers’ Chorus

“Independence is happiness.” – Susan B. Anthony

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Sensation

Considered broadly, culture provides evidence that history repeats itself. The wisdom of past generations fade from view and our memory of them lose vitality. The long-term memory of humanity resonates in the things that have been have created. The desires, hardships, calamities, and joys of our ancestors ring in the foundations of the Roman Forum, the cave paintings of Lascaux, the Statue of Liberty, to name just a few. We can think of cultural history as a pendulum that sways from classicism to romanticism. The pendulum freezes on extremes for just a moment. All other times we are gliding through ratios of creative ingenuity and creative contemplation. What is most fascinating is the space in between – the times in history where culture reflects a tipping point. During the era we now call classical (1750-1820), drastic developments in industry, philosophy, and art seemed to reach a boiling point, at which time we see the gradual embrace of a completely different set of values. The romantic era (1800-1850) was a reaction, a rebuttal, a revolution.

The concept of our season, Sensation, is inspired by the first chord of the choral section of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony; the schreckensfanfare, or horror fanfare. These are uncertain times. The long American election has been an addition to our personal anxieties, in addition to an unsettled world, in addition to an endangered climate, in addition, in addition. One wonders what solace can be found in choral music. We may revisit some remedies that were embraced in the age of Beethoven and Schiller. Beethoven offers a rebuttal to his own vision of horror with the main theme of the 4th movement, the Ode to Joy. It is daringly folksy, and its brilliance is demonstrated by its ubiquitousness. You may have sung the theme from your church hymnal, and it is the anthem of the European Union. It lives in the minds of millions and millions of people, the whole world over. If you wished to stop the world, and have every person on earth sing a tune in unison, this would be the best choice.

What shall our theme be, after the horror fanfare? Dare we aspire to a song of joy that we could all sing in unison? Can we dream that it will be knowable by all people of the earth? Our concerts this season will not be a mirror to our times, but rather a kaleidoscope through which we can see beautiful possibilities.

These are the consolations of Romanticism. The consolations of nature, awe, spirit, beauty:

Hope, Christmas with YNYC Women’s Ensemble
Saturday, December 10, 2016 at 7:30
Church of St. John Nepomuncene

Happiness, Christmas with YNYC Mixed Ensemble
Saturday, December 17, 2016 at 8:00
Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral

The consolations of imagination, aesthetic experience, the sublime:

American Gothic, YNYC Mixed Ensemble
Saturday March 25, 2017 at 7:00
Irondale Ensemble Project, Brooklyn
YNYC will present an immersive and highly stylized performance dedicated to the poetry Edgar Allan Poe. Tarik O’Regan’s 2006 masterwork, The Ecstasies Above, will be bookended by two loop-based choral improvisations, involving the audience in a meditation on Poe’s sublime and melancholic texts.

The consolations of folk art, ancient custom, heroism, genius:

Story Time, YNYC Women’s Ensemble and Chamber Singers
Saturday, April 29, 2017 at 7:00
St. Michael’s Church
This dramatic performance will feature stories of humor, fantasy, loss, memory, and fantasy, told by Opera Choruses, Madrigals and Folk Ballads. This concert will feature YNYC’s Competition for Young Composers, this year representing the best new music for Women’s Choirs.

The consolations of originality, artists’ voice, emotion:

Newest Wave, YNYC Mixed Ensemble
Saturday, June 3, 2017 at 7:00
St. John Nepomucene
YNYC’s full range of atmospheric vocals will be on display as a battery of young composers arranges songs by Avant Pop musicians: Sufjan Stevens, Prince, Kate Bush, David Bowie, and others. These will be paired with complementary selection of choral music from the standard repertoire for a unique concert experience.

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YNYC “Multitudes” Program Notes

The following are program notes from YNYC Artistic Director Michael Kerschner for this Saturday, June 4’s YNYC Mixed Ensemble concert “Multitudes.” To purchase your tickets, please visit ynycmultitudes.bpt.me.

This is YNYC’s 15th anniversary concert, and we are thrilled to mark this occasion with performances of three World Premieres and the Mozart Requiem! It is a humbling and important thing to connect the traditional to the modern. We all have a desire to express ourselves with our voices, in harmony with the world. This is what the composers have done with their new works tonight. In doing so, they connect to an ancient line, the same line that Mozart contributed to in his life. YNYC has always been rooted in the past- and with eyes peering into the future, we connect the dots.

The Mozart Requiem ranks among the most remarkable achievements of creative and spiritual endeavor. It is a stately and elegant work, written in the final year in the life of a genius. The truth is likely not as scandalous as the play and film Amadeus suggest, but we know one thing for sure; this monolithic masterwork of the Western Classical tradition is shrouded in mystery. The most haunting questions that remain about the Requiem are asked in silence and will never be answered. What would this work have been like if Mozart had finished it himself? If Mozart had lived, and the Requiem was a launching point instead of an ending, how might that have changed music as we know it today? YNYC has commissioned over 40 young composers (through our competition and otherwise), and we are proud to play our part in shaping the future sound of vocal expression. To do so with the choral art form that we all love, in this inspiring city, is a blessing for which we are grateful. YNYC is a little space for beauty and friendship, and we are happy to connect with you as we bring music, and ourselves, to life.

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YNYC Mixed Ensemble presents: Multitudes

The final concert of YNYC’s 15th anniversary season, Multitudes features the finalists in the annual Competition for Young Composers: Connor James Koppin, Dale Trumbore, and Matthew Recio. The evening will culminate in a special performance of Mozart’s Requiem in partnership with YNYC alumni and the esteemed New York Repertory Orchestra. We hope you will join us for this special evening!

YNYC presents: Multitudes
Saturday, June 4 | 7 PM
Saint Peter’s Church | 619 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY
Tickets: $15 in advance online, $20 at the door

Click here to purchase your tickets online now!

YNYC June 4_square

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YNYC Women’s Ensemble presents: Ties That Bind

The Japanese have a term, kenzoku, which translated literally means “family.” Its connotation suggests an unbreakable bond between people who have made a decision to become a part of each others story; in a larger sense their destiny. It implies the deepest connection of friendship.

In their upcoming May 15 cabaret performance Ties That Bind, the Women’s Ensemble of YNYC will explore this complicated thing called friendship; what makes it both meaningful and hard and why ultimately we think its a wonderful gift.

Featuring a variety of styles and genres including jazz, pop, alternative, and musical theater. Performances include: “Trashin the Camp” from Tarzan, “With a Little Help from My Friends,” “Count on Me,” “You’ve Got a Friend,” and more!

Tickets are available online here. We hope you’ll join us for this incredible night!

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Calling all YNYC alumni! Sing with us on June 4

This is a special message for all YNYC alumni. In honor of our 15th anniversary, we hope you’ll consider singing with us and catching up with the ensemble!

Dear YNYC alumni,

Hello from the current ensemble! This year marks YNYC’s 15th anniversary, and we’ve called this season Connections. We’d like to invite you to connect back with your YNYC family for our final concert of the season on June 4. Whether you sang with us for one season or ten, you are a part of our incredible story. This spring, come connect with us to celebrate this special time!

Sing with us

Full orchestra, 80 voices – are you excited yet? We are thrilled to invite all alumni to sing Mozart’s Requiem with us on Saturday, June 4, 2016 at St. Peter’s Church in midtown. We have scheduled three rehearsals for alums to join: Tuesdays @ 7:30 pm on 4/19 and 5/17, and the dress rehearsal on 5/31 with the New York Repertory Orchestra. Please get in touch if you’re interested, even if you can’t attend all rehearsals.

Connect with us

On Saturday, March 12th, our concert Orbital Family celebrated the growth of our own YNYC family, as all three ensembles performed together for the first time. Wait, what? You didn’t know that YNYC was now three groups – mixed, women’s, and chamber ensembles? Well, now you know! Connect with us on Facebook and Instagram to stay up-to-date with our quickly growing group.

Stay [in] tune[d], and stay involved. We hope that you’ll enjoy reconnecting with YNYC this season and beyond! Please email nick@ynyc.org with any questions or to let us know that you’d like to join in the fun. We’ve also got plans in the works for a special alumni event surrounding the concert…you won’t want to miss it.

See you in June!

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YNYC presents: Orbital Family

On Saturday, March 12, all three YNYC ensembles (women’s, mixed, and chamber) will join together for “Orbital Family.” Below are program notes from YNYC Artistic Director Michael Kerschner on the concert.

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There is a time of day when the horizon is lit by zodiacal light; the glow of stardust known as false dawn. Not day or night, earth or sky. Neither real nor imaginary, it is a time before the dawn when our dreams turn to flying.

It is YNYC’s 15th anniversary season, and it has been a time of looking back. Our story starts with an idea that young professionals in New York City would crave the deep connection they felt when they have sung in choir. Singers of considerable talent have been flocking to our auditions ever since, not to be featured soloists, but to be part of the machine of harmony.

Most of the time we are an old-fashioned organization that presents choral works in the most beautiful rooms in NYC. We also have a reputation for flexibility and generosity in the realm of new music collaborations. Our biggest risks have all been star-related. From Marco Brambilla’s “Creation,” Ander Mikalson and Caroline Shaw’s “Score for the Big Bang,” and commissioning Shara Worden’s “The Pleiades.” It wasn’t intentional, but serendipity must be at play. My first season with YNYC was 10 years ago, and the final concert was called Dreamers Awake. We performed “Leonardo” at that concert, and it was like a declaration of purpose. Our dreams have served our need to connect through harmony, and it has brought to life new music by composers who are making crucial and influential music.

Orbital Family is a celebration of the YNYC family, and our theme returns to the night sky, the original silver screen upon which stories danced. Our repertoire contains some of these stories. Eric Whitacre’s music, coupled with Charles Anthony Silvesti’s libretto, tells the story of Leonardo’s imaginings in the style of a 16th century madrigal with word painting, chains of suspensions, and plenty of melodrama. The final third of the piece is a minimalistic flying scene. You’ll feel the wind in your hair, and the sweet serenity of floating above Tuscany. Shara Worden uses a similar musical language to touch on both the science and mythology of a fabled constellation. More than anything, it is a touching story about brotherhood and sisterhood. The beautiful “Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda” are in honor of Vena, the personification of a celestial being: a rainbow, the marriage of water and light, the domain of the zodiacal light. Our final piece, Steven Sametz’s “in time of,” brings all of the YNYC family together. The Cummings poem is a beautiful response to the inquiry of the sphinx, telling the story of our lifespan through the desires of flowers, who remind us that the aim of waking is to dream

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