Our retired Associate in the Music Performance Program, Niels Østbye, died on March 19, 2018, at his home in Grandview-on-Hudson, NY, at the age of 93. He taught at Columbia from 1967 until his retirement in 2016.
Music Performance Program 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.
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.
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).
Will Mason, a fifth-year PhD student in music theory, was interviewed in the Boston Globe this week in anticipation of a concert he is playing with the Will Mason Ensemble at Lily Pad, in Cambridge, MA, on May 16 at 7 p.m (tickets: $10 at www.lilypadinman.com).
Magdalena Stern-Baczewska (faculty & director, Music Performance Program) recently visited Quest University in Squamish BC, upon an invitation from its current faculty member and Columbia graduate, Andrew Haringer (PhD, Historical Musicology, 2012). Baczewska presented a sold-out lecture recital 'Goldberg Variations in Context', an in-class lecture demonstration on Chopin and nationalism, and performed Schubert's Fantasie in F minor with Haringer in his seminar on Romanticism. Three days later Baczewska appeared at University of Connecticut's Jorgensen Center for Performing Arts, in a recital with violinist Solomiya Ivakhiv, featuring Bartok's Roumanian Dances, Beethoven's 'Kreutzer' Sonata, and Sonata in A major by Franck. She is currently preparing for a performance of Toys, a piano work by Peter Susser (faculty & director of undergraduate musicianship).
Congratulations to Vince Cherico, associate in jazz drums at Columbia's Music Performance Program for your amazing GRAMMY win! On February 8, 2015 at the 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards in Los Angeles, The Offense of the Drum, the fourth album from Arturo O’Farrill & the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, won the GRAMMY Award for Best Latin Jazz Album.
Columbia Sounds: A New Concert Series at Columbia Global Centers | Paris
At Columbia Global Centers | Paris, the Department of Music offers a new concert series featuring Department faculty, students, and alumni. Held at Reid Hall (4, rue de Chevreuse, 75006 Paris), the performances will be free of charge.
Columbiana, on February 15, 2016, at 7 pm, will present the cellist Anssi Karttunen and the violinist Marina Chiche. The program includes music of Edmund Campion, Tan Dun, Fred Lerdahl, Bryan Jacobs, Taylor Brook, Zosha Di Castri, Yoshiaki Onishi, Pablo Ortiz, Nina C. Young, Magnus Lindberg, Kaija Saariaho, and Henri Dutilleux. Karttunen, widely praised as the most distinguished cellist performing new music today, has collaborated extensively with Columbia composers of several generations. After the concert, Karttunen will join Nina C. Young (Columbia DMA student and Fellow of the American Academy in Rome) in a conversation about the Creative Dialogue project that gave rise to several of the works on the program.
Ensemble Pamplemousse: This is the Uplifting Part, on March 15, 2016, at 7 pm, will feature the composer/performer collective Ensemble Pamplemousse in a program of experimental new music by the collective’s members, including prominent Columbia DMA alumni Natacha Diels and Bryan Jacobs. Diels, now Assistant Professor of Composition at UC San Diego, founded the Ensemble in New York in 2003. Each of the Pamplemousse members specializes in a unique aspect of composition, from micro-detailed instrumental writing to experimental theatre with electronics to electro-mechanical musical robotics. Their performances combine weirdness and beauty with pop culture and classical virtuosity. After the concert, the musicians will discuss their work in conversation with Susan Boynton (Chair, Department of Music and organizer of the series).
Event Sponsors: Columbia Global Centers | Europe; Department of Music, Columbia University; Office of Global Programs, Columbia University; Alice M. Ditson Fund
The Department of Music at Columbia is pleased to announce the publication of our 2015-16 Newsletter, which documents the extraordinary range of activities and accomplishments in our community over the last year.
What year are you at Columbia and What are you majoring in?
I am a senior in SEAS majoring in biomedical engineering with minors in mechanical engineering and music.
How long have you been a participant of the MPP?
I have been in the Music Performance Program since my freshman year.
How have you benefited by MPP programs and performance opportunities?
The MPP is amazing because it allows students to study with world renowned musicians with whom we would never otherwise have the chance to study.
There are very few parts of my musical life that MPP hasn't in some way helped out. I've been able to play in many great chamber music ensembles with wonderfully accomplished coaches, and there always seems to be some performance opportunity available whenever I need it. Even though I take lessons outside of Columbia, MPP has provided me with the funding necessary for me to do so. Columbia doesn't have a conservatory program, but it certainly feels like the offerings are equivalent to one. It is also an immense help that all of the ladies working the MPP office are incredibly warm, supportive, and generous.
What year are you at Columbia?
Columbia College, ’16.
What are you majoring in?
How long have you been a participant of the MPP?
I have been participating in the MPP since my freshman year here. I began with the MPP in the big band jazz ensemble my first year, and I have been participating in the jazz program ever since. I have also performed in the Columbia-Juilliard showcases since my junior year.