Virtual Hangout: To Major or Not To Major (In Music)

Reflections | Jesse Yukimura, Viola / Blake-Anthony Johnson, Cello / Douglas Aliano, Double Bass


NWS Fellows Douglas Aliano, Blake-Anthony Johnson and Jesse Yukimura discuss the benefits and detriments to becoming a music major in college.



Jesse Yukimura
Viola

Jesse Yukimura is a second-year Viola Fellow at the New World Symphony. He is a recent graduate of the Lynn Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Professor Ralph Fielding, earning both a master’s and a professional performance certificate. A double-degree student in his undergraduate studies, Mr. Yukimura received a bachelor’s of arts degree in chemistry from Oberlin College and a bachelor’s of music degree in viola performance from Oberlin Conservatory, studying with Professor Peter Slowik. He appeared as a soloist with the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble in 2011, performing Denisov’s Es ist genug, and was also a Concerto Competition winner at Lynn, performing Martinů’s Rhapsody-Concerto with the orchestra in 2012. Mr. Yukimura was instrumental in forming and organizing the New Music Ensemble at Lynn, and continues to support the works of modern composers.

A native of Washington State, Mr. Yukimura began his musical studies on piano at the age of six, and later started viola at the age of nine. An ensemble musician at heart, the roots of his orchestral career began in the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras. Since then he has participated in orchestras across the county, most recently at the National Repertory Orchestra, performing under the experienced batons of Christian Knapp, Guillermo Figueroa, Gerard Schwarz and Carl Topilow, among others. These programs have brought him to concert halls across the country, from Benaroya to Disney to Carnegie, as well as across the Pacific to China and Singapore. Mr. Yukimura has also worked with renowned chamber music coaches, including members of the Tokyo and Juilliard String Quartets, and has had the opportunity to take lessons from world-class artists such as Roberto Díaz, Elmar Oliveira and Robert Vernon. Mr. Yukimura maintains a wide range of interests in both the arts and sciences.



Blake-Anthony Johnson
Cello

Blake-Anthony Johnson, a native of Atlanta, is a first-year Cello Fellow at the New World Symphony. When not performing, he splits his time between arts administration, and his hobbies of cooking, hosting dinner parties and running. His multifaceted career has included work as a performer, collaborator, recording artist and educator. Self-taught until the age of 18, Mr. Johnson has developed a diverse professional career as a guest principal cellist, chamber musician, soloist and recitalist around the globe. He has recorded works by Richard Danielpour, Claudio Gabriele and Poul Ruders, and has previously been featured on NPR’s From the Top with Christopher O’Riley and What Makes It Great with Rob Kiplow.

Passionate about chamber music, Mr. Johnson is a founding member and former cellist in the Läc Quartet. As the recipient of the Vanderbilt Music Académie grant, the quartet received commissions and residency in the Festival d’Aix festival held in Aix-en-Provence, France. Past solo and chamber engagements include the Spoleto Festival U.S.A., Lev Aronson Legacy Music Festival, National Repertory Orchestra and Brevard Music Festival. Mr. Johnson's 2016-17 season highlights include his solo debut with the Cincinnati Symphony, as well as his solo debut in Japan on tour with the New York Symphonic Ensemble.

Mr. Johnson is a prizewinner in the MTNA Young Artist Competition, the World Competition, the Daniel Rains and Brevard Music Festival Concerto competitions. He received his bachelor of music degree under Felix Wang and Kathryn Plummer while attending the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University, later studying under Bryan Dumm and Alan Harrell of the Cleveland Orchestra for his masters of music degree. Mr. Johnson's professional studies degree was completed at the Manhattan School of Music in the Orchestral Performance program. Additional studies were with Martin Löhr, Aline Champion, David Geber, Alan Stepanksy, Alan Rafferty and Wolfram Koessel.

Personal Website: http://www.blake-anthonyjohnson.com



Douglas Aliano
Double Bass

Douglas Aliano, a native of Long Island and the youngest of five double bassists in his family, is a first-year Bass Fellow at the New World Symphony. He is currently a substitute musician for the Charleston and Alabama symphonies, and has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony and National Symphony. His 2016-17 season included performances with the Mozart Orchestra of New York with soloist Rachel Barton Pine, as well as a tour with the orchestra under Gerard Schwarz. Mr. Aliano’s performances have brought him to prestigious venues including the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, David Geffen Hall, Kitara Hall and Suntory Hall. He has appeared at festivals including the Music Academy of the West, Pacific Music Festival, Spoleto Festival and the Tanglewood Music Center, where he was invited back as a second-year fellow this past summer.

Prior to joining NWS, Mr. Aliano performed in New York City, playing various styles ranging from classical to contemporary, jazz to Broadway, and pop to bluegrass. An active chamber musician and passionate advocate of new music, he has participated in numerous chamber music projects and has premiered many new chamber music and orchestral works. Last season, Mr. Aliano appeared as a member of Echo Chamber, an NYC-based ensemble dedicated to performing new works specially commissioned for its distinctive instrumentation. Mr. Aliano’s interest in interdisciplinary collaborations led to his recent arrangement of a fully staged performance of Igor Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du soldat featuring dancers and actors from the Juilliard community.

Mr. Aliano completed his undergraduate and graduate studies at The Juilliard School, where he studied with Albert Laszlo and was a recipient of the Jerome L. Greene Fellowship. A National Foundation for Advancement of the Arts YoungArts Winner, Mr. Aliano has also won the C.W. Post Chamber Music Festival Concerto Competition, and is recipient of the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of New York’s Genelle B. Taney Memorial Scholarship. He currently plays on a double bass made in Cremona, Italy by Giuseppe Ceruti c. 1800.