Michael Kerschner / Artistic Director

YNYC Blog

Meet the Composers: Lydia Jane Pugh

On Saturday, March 24, 2018, YNYC’s Mixed and Women’s Ensembles will perform ‘Only All of Us’ featuring world premiere works for double chorus from our Competition for Young Composers.

We are pleased to introduce our third finalist for YNYC’s 2018 Competition for Young Composers, Lydia Jane Pugh!

Lydia Jane Pugh

Composition for YNYC: Adiraϊ (‘Misplaced’)

 

Lydia (b.1986) studied for a BA in music at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, going on to complete an MA in composition at Leeds College of Music in 2010. Lydia’s first commission was for the the Guernsey Glee singers, which resulted in a performance of ‘The Land Where I was Born’ at the Praga Cantat in Prague 2007. In 2009 her choral work “The Year Suite” was premiered by the Liberation Singers, and she was commissioned by the Guernsey Choral Society for Christmas 2010, a performance which was recorded for broadcast on BBC Guernsey. Lydia has also been a finalist for several competitions, including the ‘National Centre for Early Music’s Young Composer Award’, ‘Australian Boys Choir Choral Composing Competition’. Lydia’s music has also taken her abroad, as she has taken part in the Composers Workshop for the Charlotte New Music Festival, the Lehigh Choral Composers Forum, and most recently the Choral Chameleon Institute in New York, USA. At such events her work has been performed and recored by professional ensembles, including The Princeton Singers, The Great Noise Ensemble and The Choral Chameleon Singers. Lydia also works as a vocal coach, and was recently award both the John Owen-Jones Award and the P.J. Proby Award from The Voice College, along with her Advanced Professional Diploma in Teaching Contemporary Singing.

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Meet the Composers – Casey Rule

On Saturday, March 24, 2018, YNYC’s Mixed and Women’s Ensembles will perform ‘Only All of Us’ featuring world premiere works for double chorus from our Competition for Young Composers.

We are pleased to introduce our next of three finalists for YNYC’s 2018 Competition for Young Composers, Casey Rule! 

Casey Rule

Composition for YNYC: The Rocky Road to Dublin

Casey Rule is a “programmer by day and musician by night”, working as a Wall Street software engineer, leading the technology team for a growing ed-tech start up, serving as the business and technical director of NoteNova Publishing, singing and conducting with the Choral Composer-Conductor Collective, and writing music when he’s not writing code.  Among his awards for composition are the 2012 Singing City Prize for Young Composers, the Musical Chairs Chamber Ensemble’s 2014 Composer Search, the 2014 ACDA-PA Choral Composition Competition, the Ithaca College Thirty-Sixth Annual Choral Composition Contest, and The Esoterics 2016 POLYPHONOS Choral Composition Competition.  Rule graduated from Lehigh University where he studied computer science, music composition, and conducting, earning an Integrated Degree in Engineering, Arts and Sciences. 

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Meet the Composers: Ed Frazier Davis

On Saturday, March 24, 2018, YNYC’s Mixed and Women’s Ensembles will perform ‘Only All of Us’ featuring world premiere works for double chorus from our Competition for Young Composers.

We are pleased to introduce our first of three finalists for YNYC’s 2018 Competition for Young Composers, Ed Frazier Davis!  

Ed Frazier Davis

Composition for YNYC: Keep Going

Ed Frazier Davis (b. 1989) is an English-American composer living and working in Kansas City, where he is a doctoral student at UMKC and Composer-in-Residence for the William Baker Choral Foundation. Lauded for its “compelling, […] colourful orchestration” (Musical Toronto), Ed’s music is polystylistic and draws from many eclectic influences, from Medieval song to postminimalism and practically everything in between. His music has been commissioned and performed throughout the world by many renowned performers and organizations, including Access Contemporary Music, the Aspen Music Festival, Bella Voce, The Crossing, soprano Erin Wall, the Lincoln Trio, PLEXUS, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Ultimately, he seeks to write music that breaks established artistic binaries—e.g. traditional vs. modern, accessible vs. unfamiliar—to create art that is fulfilling to as wide an audience as possible. Also an experienced professional singer, he currently serves as bass section leader at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Kansas City, and in the fall of 2018 will join the Grammy-winning Kansas City Chorale for his first season. He has studied composition with Bruce Polay, Marta Ptaszyńska, Kyong Mee Choi, Stacy Garrop, Gabriel Jackson, Chen Yi, James Mobberley, and Zhou Long. continue reading »

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In memory of Daniel Thompson

On Sunday, March 11, 2018, we lost one of our very dear chorus members and the president of our board, Daniel Thompson. Along with four others, Daniel was the victim of a tragic helicopter accident in New York City.

Daniel touched so many lives over his nearly ten years singing with us in the Young New Yorkers’ Chorus, while also helping to lead our organization since 2016. We will forever miss his smile, his leadership, his friendship and his mighty baritone voice.

To celebrate his life, the YNYC community invites you to join us in a memorial service honoring Daniel this Thursday, March 22 from 6-8 p.m. Additional details can be found below.

When: Thursday, March 22nd
Where: St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 346 West 20th Street, NY NY 10011
Time: 6-8pm Memorial, 8-9pm Post-Memorial gathering.
All attendees are invited to participate in a memory board. Please bring a letter to Daniel, written memory, or a photo with a remembrance on the back to share.

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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.

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“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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