NYC Community Interest News

Project For the Daughters of Harlem awarded two grants

For the Daughters of Harlem: Working in Sound has won an Action Grant from Humanities New York and a Public Outreach Grant from Columbia University’s Center for Science and Society to host a campus workshop in October 2018 for young women of color from New York’s public high schools.

Fred Lerdahl New York Premiere: Time and Again

League of Composers Orchestra's Ninth Season Finale this coming Thursday at 7:30 at Miller Theatre

Columbia's esteemed Fritz Reiner Professor of Musical Composition and director of the Fritz Reiner Center, Alfred Lerdahl, will be presenting the New York Premiere of Time and Again with the League of Composers Orchestra

Documenting Medieval Sound: The Musiconis Database and the French-American Bridge for Medieval Musical Iconography

The Music & Arts Library hosts an exhibition of work by participants in the FAB-Musiconis project (French-American Bridge for Medieval Musical Iconography), led by Prof. Susan Boynton of the Music Dept. faculty, and Frédéric Billiet (Paris-Sorbonne), and involving the exchange of students from Columbia and the Sorbonne.

Dimou Awarded First Prize in Italian Composition Competition

Columbia DMA Composition Student Stylianos Dimou

Columbia Composition DMA student Stylianos Dimou's piece "my grounding | surrounding [it]_self / h_I. v.2" (2015-2016) for one percussionist and electronics has been awarded First Prize at the Concorso Internazionale di Composizione “Amici della Musica di Cagliari” 2016. The piece will be performed in Cagliari on the 28th of September.

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.

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!

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.

Magdalena Stern-Baczewska Summer Engagements

Magdalena Stern-Baczewska (Director, Music Performance Program) will return to Reid Hall on June 30th for a solo recital in the "Columbia Sounds" series. The program features works by Brahms, Chopin, and the European premier of Toys by Peter Susser (Director of Undergraduate Musicianship). Baczewska's other summer events include a recording of Tan Dun's Triple Resurrection with the Shanghai Symphony, piano and harpsichord master classes at Accademia Europea Villa Bossi (Bodio Lomnago, Varese, Italy), as well as performances and teaching engagements at the International Keyboard Institute, New York Piano Festival, and the Sound of Manhattan Festival (New York City).

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