MIT Reports to the President 1999–2000


Music and Theater Arts continues to afford students at MIT the opportunity to experience the unique language and process of the arts. Faculty and teaching staff help students understand art's demand for rigor and discipline and its non-quantitative standards of excellence and beauty. A strong, comprehensive program in both Music and Theater Arts, encompassing history, theory and performance–taught by a faculty and staff of the highest caliber whose ongoing professional activities inform their teaching–has been and will continue to be our hallmark. Because it is comprehensive, the academic program continues to produce graduates who have the talent and desire to extend their education in Music or Theater beyond the undergraduate level.


Professor Peter Child completed his tenure as Section Head in June of 1999. Professor Marcus Thompson and Institute Professor John Harbison were Acting Section Heads for fall and spring respectively. Professor Ellen Harris has been appointed Section Head as of July 1, 2000. Lecturer Frederick Harris began his first year as Director of Wind Ensembles. The MIT Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Assistant Professor Dante Anzolini, performed a highly successful concert tour in May of Prague, Budapest and Vienna. Professor Harbison’s Opera Gatsby, commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera Company, premiered in December 1999 with many members of Music and Theater Arts in attendance. Martin Luther King Scholar Guillermo Gomez-Peña worked with Theater Arts and students from across MIT to produce the performance piece Museum of Irrelevant Races. Music and Theater Arts and Assistant Professor Thomas DeFrantz hosted the first African American Performativity Conference. Music and Theater Arts and Lecturer Harris hosted the Herb Pomeroy 70th Birthday Celebration: Mr. Pomeroy founded the MIT Jazz Ensemble in 1963 and was director until 1985. The Herb Pomeroy Jazz Ensemble Fund has been established to support the commissioning of new works for the Jazz Ensemble. Music and Theater Arts was assigned new administrative and office space. Work has begun on the renovations for occupancy in the fall of 2000.


Professor Child received a Provost’s Fund award to support recordings of his compositions for New World Records. Professor Evan Ziporyn received a Provost’s Fund Award to support two recordings of his recent compositions. Associate Professor Brenda Cotto-Escalera received a Woodrow Wilson National Foundation Award to support her performance piece Immaculate Infection: Performing AIDS at the Crossroads of Cultural Difference. Professor DeFrantz received a Provost’s Fund Award to support Monk’s Mood, a performance project using tap dancing to interpret the music of Thelonius Monk.


Enrollments in Music and Theater were 1131 and 357, respectively, for a total of 1499. Music and Theater Arts continued to host the MIT Chapel Series, a successful concert series featuring local solo and group performers. The MIT Guest Artist Series hosted the Miami String Quartet, winners of the Concert Artists Guild New York Competition. Mithas (MIT Heritage of the Arts of Southeast Asia), under the direction of Senior Lecturer George Ruckert hosted a performance by renowned northern Indian performer Ali Akbar Khan. Mitcan, MIT African Music and Dance Ensemble, celebrated its 4th anniversary in a concert featuring guest performer Wu Man, Chinese Pipa virtuoso, and Professor DeFrantz, choreographer.

Theater Arts hosted guest artist and internationally known choreographer Donald Byrd and members of his dance company. Professor Cotto-Escalera and Professor DeFrantz collaborated on the performance of Professor DeFrantz’s Monk’s Mood. Theater Arts has formalized an on-going collaboration with the Boston based theater company, The Theater Offensive and its Artistic Director Abe Rybeck. Professor Cotto-Escalera and Professor DeFrantz have both produced works for The Theater Offensive and Mr. Rybeck will be teaching workshops at MIT. Theater Arts hosted a reception and discussion with Edward James Olmos. Theater Arts faculty were active as directors of major student productions. Dramashop produced Tartuffe by Moliere directed by Visiting Artist Michael Hammond. Shakespeare Ensemble produced Taming of the Shrew, directed by Senior Lecturer Michael Ouellette and A Midsummer Nights Dream directed by Visiting Artist Lisa Wolpe. Professor DeFrantz directed The Colored Museum for the Black Theater Guild. Associate Provost Alan Brody directed Playwrights in Performance in two evenings of one-act plays by MIT student playwrights.


Professor Jeanne Bamberger guest lectured at the University of Illinois and was the invited speaker at Tel Aviv University for a series of lectures in December. She spoke at the National Society of Community Music Schools in Colorado and at the Music Educators National Conference in Washington D.C. Her Book Developing Musical Intuitions: A Project-based Introduction to Making and Understanding Music was published in the fall. Her paper Learning from the Children We Teach appeared in the Bulletin of the Council for Research on Music Education.

Professor Child completed three commissions, Refrain for the New England Conservatory 2000 Spring Festival, Viola Sonata for the Harvard Music Association and Variations for a private commission.

Professor Harris has completed her book on Handel’s cantatas titled Handel as Orpheus. She also completed articles for Händel-Jahrbuch and American Handel Society Newsletter. She gave pre-concert lectures for Boston Baroque and Handel and Haydn Society and offered a series of lectures to Boston Symphony contributors.

Professor Lowell Lindgren was elected to serve on the board of the American Handel Society. His publications include articles for the New Dictionary of National Biography, Italian Music in 18th-Century Britain, and Quaderni della Rivista Italiana di Musicologia.

Professor Thompson performed the Boston Premiere of Professor Harbison’s Viola Concerto with the New England Conservatory Honors Orchestra. He appeared in two concerts with the Boston Chamber Music Society performing the Bach Brandenburg Concertos. He was in Holland for concert tours in November and May and performed in Alaska at the Sitka Summer Music Festival for the twentieth year. He finished the year with performances at the chamber music festivals in Seattle, and Rockport, Maine and Rockport, Massachusetts.

Professor Ziporyn saw the release of his CD Gamelan Galak Tika on the New World label. Two of his compositions appear on the Maya Beiser CD Kinship on the Koch International label. He appears as a performer on Steve Reich’s New York Counterpoint/Eight Lines/Four Organs CD on the Nonesuch label and on Tan Dun’s Symphony 2000 on Sony Classical. He performed with Bang On A Can in Holland, Warsaw, Estonia, Oslo, Paris and Athens.

Professor Anzolini guest conducted the National Symphony Orchestra of Argentina and continued as conductor and teacher at Argentina’s Festival of the Arts of Itu. He completed the premiere recording of the Fifth Symphony by Philip Glass with the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra for the Nonesuch label.

Professor Anzolini was recently appointed Resident Conductor for the American Composers Orchestra in New York.

Professor Cotto-Escalera collaborated with The Theater Offensive to produce and direct Immaculate Infection and worked with students at Eggleston Community High School to create a play on Lizzie Borden and sensationalism in the media. She served on the board of Women Playwrights International.

Professor DeFrantz created and performed in the premiere of Monk’s Mood: A Performance Meditation on the Life and Work of Thelonious Monk. As founding Artistic Director of the Boston Theater Offensive’s resident acting company he directed the company’s debut in March. In a week-long residency he held master classes and lectured at the University of Calgary and presented the keynote address Ballet in Black: Vernacular Humor in American Ballet which will also appear as a chapter in the book Dancing Lessons: Cultural Histories of the Body by Anne Flynn, editor.

Senior Lecturer Ed Cohen saw performances of a number of his compositions this year. The Piano Quartet was performed in Marblehead at the Music at Eden’s Edge Festival and at Warebrook Contemporary Music Festival in Vermont. An Otter for men’s chorus with six instruments was performed at Cornell University and Songs of Enchantment was presented at Collage New Music with Janice Felty, mezzo-soprano.

Senior Lecturer David Deveau performed extensively around the United States appearing in solo and collaborative recitals in San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego’s Mostly Mozart Festival and Strings in the Mountains Festival in Colorado. Closer to home he has performed for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Fleet Boston Celebrity Series, and Bates College Artists Series in Maine. His orchestral appearances include the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the New Philharmonia Orchestra. He continues as Artistic Director for the Rockport Chamber Music Festival.

Senior Lecturer Martin Marks was named Music Director for the Treasures of American Film Archives and has completed the scoring for 36 films without original soundtracks. He is currently completing a score for the 1916 film Where Are My Children? for Turner Classic Movies.

Senior Lecturer Ouellette wrote the entry Music Inspired by Shakespeare for Shakespeare’s World and Work: An Encyclopedia for Students. He was Visiting Fellow at the Oakley Center for Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Lecturer Harris was guest conductor for the New Hampshire Philharmonic Orchestra and served as adjudicator for the Massachusetts Instrumental Conductor’s Association solo and ensemble festival. His article Striving for Excellence: An Interview with Frank Battisti was published in The Instrumentalist. He was selected as a participant in the Conductor Guild’s Workshop conducting the New Orchestra of Boston.

Senior Lecturer Pamela Wood guest lectured at New England Conservatory of Music on African American Folksongs. She was soloist with the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra for a series of concerts and continued as conductor of the Vocal Ensemble at The Women’s Inn at Pine Street.

Lecturer Mark Harvey published the article Jazz Time and Our Time in the collection This Is How We Flow: Rhythm in Black Cultures. His composition Gabriel’s Choir was performed by the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra and recorded for a forthcoming CD titled The Seeker. He guest lectured for the Brown Lectures at Boston University’s School of Theology on Duke Ellington’s Sacred Music.

Lecturer Elena Ruehr saw performances of her commissioned works The Law of Floating Objects and Song of the Silkie with libretto by Lecturer Laura Harrington.


Assistant Professor James Makubuya accepted a position at Wabash College in Indiana and will be leaving MIT in June. David Deveau was reappointed as Senior Lecturer. Music and Theater Arts affirms its commitment to diversity within its disciplines and among its staff. Seven members of our full-time faculty and teaching staff of twenty are under-represented minorities or women.

More information about Music and Theater Arts can be found on the World Wide Web at

Ellen T. Harris

MIT Reports to the President 1999–2000