Nansong Huang Piano Recital News

Nansong Huang (Columbia College/Juilliard Exchange 2016) gave a successful and well-attended piano recital at the Columbia Global Center in Beijing. Over one hundred people attended, and Nansong gave a short speech to the audience after the recital on the importance of music education. For a more complete write-up of the event, please visit the write-up done by the Columbia Global Center in Beijing.

Anahid Ajemian Avekian (1924-2016)

IN MEMORY OF ANAHID AJEMIAN AVAKIAN

Ms. Avakian was a member of the Composers String Quartet, in residence at Columbia in the 1970s, and she was a longtime member of Columbia's music faculty. Her full obituary is available below:

Anahid Ajemian was born in New York, in 1924. She began her music studies early at the Institute of Musical Art, which later merged with the Julliard School. After graduating from the Lincoln School, Miss Ajemian continued her education at Julliard, studying violin with Edouard Dethier, chamber music with Hans Letz and Felix Salmon, and played in and with the Julliard orchestra under Albert Stoessel and Edgar Shenkman. In 1946, while still a student of Edouard Dethier at the Juilliard Graduate School of Music, she won the Walter W. Naumburg Foundation Award. In the same year, she made her debut at Town Hall and received the Distinguished Achievement Medal from Mademoiselle magazine as the Young Woman of the Year in Music. Among the many honors that have followed, the Order of St. James appointed her a Knight of Malta for her lifelong support of contemporary classical music.

With her pianist sister Maro, she concertized in Europe, Canada and throughout the United Stares in a wide repertoire including works which for written for them by such distinguished composers as John Cage, Henry Cowell, Lou Harrison, Alan Hovhaness, Ernst Krenek, Wallingford Riegger, Carlos Surinach and Ben Weber, among many others. Together and separately, the Ajemians recorded extensively for Columbia, RCA Victor, MGM and Composers Records Inc. They were the first musicians to receive the Laurel Leaf Award of the Composers Alliance for Distinguished Service to American Miss Ajemian and her sister were equally known for their interpretations of the standard classical repertoire. A unique feature of the many television programs they taped for NBC’s “Recital Hall” and the National Educational Television Network was their series of programs comprising the complete cycle of all ten Beethoven Sonatas for Violin and Piano. They appeared as soloists under the batons of Dmitri Mitropoulos, Leopold Stokowski and Izler Solomon, and recorded with the latter two.

Also during the 1940s, Miss Ajemian co-founded the New York City-based organization “Friends of Armenian Music Committee”, which did much to launch the career of fellow Armenian-American composer Alan Hovhaness, via a series of well-received New York concerts of his music. These concerts were repeated in Boston, San Francisco and Los In the mid sixties, Miss Ajemian and her fellow violinist Matthew Raimondi founded the Composers String Quartet at the suggestion of Gunther Schuller, which quickly earned an international reputation and toured in more that 26 countries, including the Soviet Union, India, the Middle East, Africa, Australia, Japan, Southeast Asia and China. The Composers String Quartet recorded extensively for The Musical Heritage Society, Nonsuch Records, Composers Recordings, Inc and Columbia Records among many others. The Quartet’s 1970 recording of Elliott Carter’s First and Second Quartets was honored by a “Grammy” nomination, received “Stereo Review’s “Best Chamber Music Recording of the Year” Award, and was acclaimed by “High Fidelity” as “Best Quartet of the Year” and one of the “Fifty Greatest Albums of the Decade.” Time magazine called it “an astonishingly brilliant and unique achievement.”

The Quartet was in residence at Columbia University in New York City and The New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. For many years, they were the primary performers at the Mt Desert Festival of Chamber Music in Northeast Harbor, For many years, Miss Ajemian was a long-time member of the Columbia University music faculty and served as a judge for several music organizations, including the annual Naumburg Foundation Awards.

She is survived by her husband of sixty-eight years, recording executive George Avakian, their daughters Maro and Anahid (Gregg), son Gregory, and two grandchildren.

Columbia Sounds Concert at Reid Hall (Paris) with Magdalena Stern-Baczewska

On June 30 at 8pm in Columbia's Reid Hall, Magdalena Stern-Baczewska will perform a concert as part of the Columbia Sounds series. She will be performing the European premiere of Professor Peter Susser's (Director of Undergraduate Musicianship) piece Toys (2003), Mazurkas by Chopin, and Brahms' Klavierstücke, op. 119. For the full program, please visit this page. For a full list of Dr. Stern-Baczewska's performances this summer, please visit our earlier post.

Congratulations to Dr. Nicholas Chong!

The Department warmly congratulates Dr. Nicholas Chong, who successfully defended his PhD dissertation, Beethoven's Catholicism: A Reconsideration, on Friday, June 3, 2016. Dr. Chong's dissertation was advised by Professor Elaine Sisman, and his committee included Professors Susan Boynton, Euan Cameron (UTS), James Hepokoski (Yale), and Walter Frisch.

Congratulations, Dr. Chong!

Carl Bettendorf's and Kate Soper's String Quartets Premiered by Mivos Quartet at Miller Theater

The Mivos Quartet will premiere Carl C. Bettendorf's (DMA, Composition, 2009 & current adjunct professor) String Quartet No. 2, Yggdrasil (commissioned by the Ralph Kaminsky Fund for New Music) and Kate Soper's (DMA, Composition) Nadja on Tuesday, June 7 (tomorrow!) at 6 p.m in Miller Theater.

Admission is free and on a first come, first served basis. Check out more information about the concert here on Miller Theater's website.

Mary Kouyoumdjian Pieces Premiered by Hotel Elefant, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Alarm Will Sound, Kronos Quartet

This summer, pieces by Mary Kouyoumdjian, current DMA student in composition, will be premiered and/or performed by a number of ensembles, including Hotel Elefant, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, and the Kronos Quartet.

On June 9 at 7pm, her work Become Who I Am, presented by the New York Philharmonic, will be performed at Lincoln Center by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus along with the contemporary ensemble Hotel Elefant. Later this summer, Mary will be in residence at the Mizzou International Composers Festival, where the ensemble Alarm Will Sound will premiere her work Paper Pianos.

Also taking place this summer: the Kronos Quartet will perform Mary's piece Bombs of Beirut in Poland and will give the Bay Area premiere of Silent Cranes at Cal Performances. This spring, the Kronos Quartet performed Bombs of Beirut and an arrangement of Mary's piece Groung [Crane] in the UK and Canada, receiving a very favorable review by The Guardian.

Mary has also received support from the Brooklyn Youth Chorus' MAP Fund, and a piece of hers will be featured in the Chorus' 25th anniversary season in 2016-2017.

Maja Cerar to Perform in New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival

Maja Cerar will be a featured performer in the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival at the National Sawdust in June 2016. NYCEMF 2016 will showcase electroacoustic music and video art from around the world, and Professor Cerar will perform Tania León's Axon, Ken Ueno's Vedananupassana, Elizabeth Hoffman's Fastenings (world premiere), Liubo Borissov/Maja Cerar's Autopoiesis and Paolo Gatti's Poltergeist.

For more information, please see the NYCEMF's webpage.

Zosha Di Castri's "Patina" for the Concert "Shared Madness" Reviewed in New York Times

Professor Zosha Di Castri's piece "Patina" for solo violin, commissioned by Jenny Koh for the concert "Shared Madness" that took place at the National Sawdust on May 31, was reviewed by Corinna da Fonseca-Wallheim for the New York Times: "Zosha Di Castri's 'Patina' wove contemporary preoccupations -- with microtonal shadings and the relation of music to noise -- in a score tense with wild fluctuations in temperament."

Here is the full text of the review.

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