Music and Theater Arts

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.

Highlights of the Year

The MIT Symphony Orchestra, with support from the Cambridge-MIT Institute, traveled to England in May to perform a well-received program conducted by Professor Dante Anzolini. Professors Peter Child and Marcus Thompson lent their talents to the tour. Malcolm Miller for Music and Vision wrote, "The orchestra rose to the challenges of a formidable program which featured the U.K. premiere of Jubal by British born, Boston based composer Peter Child, and Penderecki's Viola Concerto in a stirring performance by Marcus Thompson who gave a suavely assured yet soulful account. The orchestra had a chance to display its full prowess in the final work, an invigorating and uplifting reading of Mahler's Symphony Number 1 in which the orchestra demonstrated power and conviction in an interpretation of passion and character."

Music and Theater jointly produced a staged concert version of Purcell's Dido and Aeneas performed by members of The MIT Concert Choir conducted by Lecturer William Cutter. The MIT Concert Choir was also invited to perform with the Boston Pops Orchestra under the direction of Keith Lockart.

Honors and Awards

Professor Evan Ziporyn received an ASCAP award. These awards, made by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, are given to writers of serious music based upon the unique prestige and value of each writer's catalog of original compositions.

Music and Theater was the recipient of three School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Infinite Mile Awards. The Rinaldi Tech and Design team received the Unsung Hero Award. Lecturer Cutter and Lecturer Frederick Harris both received the Outstanding Contribution to Teaching and Service Award.

Program Highlights

Enrollments in Music and Theater were 1,009 and 340, respectively, for a total of 1,349.

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 Artemis String Quartet and the Vega String Quartet. The MIT American Music Series offered a series of performances focused on a range of music from American composers. Performers included the Festival Jazz Ensemble with guest conductor and composer Mark Harvey, the MIT Wind Ensemble and MIT Concert Choir directed by Lecturers Harris and Cutter, composer and violinist Todd Reynolds, and composer and clarinetist Evan Ziporyn.

Music and Theater combined resources to perform the premiere of a new opera, Coyote's Dinner, by Music Lecturer Charles Shadle and Theater Senior Lecturer Michael Ouellette conducted by Lecturer Harris with the MIT Wind Ensemble.

Theater Arts and The Shakespeare Ensemble presented Shakespeare's As You Like It directed by Tom Garvey and Winter's Tale directed by John Hume.

Dramashop produced Seachange, a collective theater creation directed by Associate Professor Brenda Cotto-Escalera. Visiting Lecturer Daniel Alexander Jones directed One Flea Space by Naomi Wallace. Dramashop presented an evening of student-written and student-directed one-act plays. Associate Provost Alan Brody directed Playwrights in Performance in two evenings of one-act plays by MIT student playwrights. Senior Lecturer Ouellette in conjunction with fourteen returning theater alumnae directed Trials, Tribulations and Triumphs. Alumnae from as far away as San Diego and Paris returned to take part in the production.

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Professor Jeanne Bamberger guest lectured at the University of Texas, Bar Ilan University in Israel, the University of South Florida, and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

Professor Child saw premieres of a number of new works during the last year. Jubal was performed by the New England Conservatory Honors Orchestra. Bleak Light: Four Poems of John Hildebidle was performed by Music of Changes in Los Angeles. Prayers from the Ark was performed by the Arcadian Wind Quintet, and Duo was performed by the Hirsch-Pinkas Duo at Dartmouth College. The Auros Group for New Music performed his chamber opera Embers. Refrain was performed at Tanglewood by the Indiana University Percussion Ensemble, and Sinfonietta was performed by the Berkshire Symphony Orchestra.

Professor John Harbison was in residence at the Tanglewood Bach Institute and the Tanglewood Composers Seminar. He received commissions from the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Amelia Trio. Mottetti di Montale was recorded by Collage New Music and released on the Koch International label, and Emerson was recorded by the Cantata Singers and released on the New World label. He received an honorary degree from the University of Wisconsin in May. Selected performances of his works include Symphony Number 2 with the Seattle Symphony, Symphony Number 3 with the Munich Philharmonic, Concerto for Oboe with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Words from Paterson with the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, and performances of The Great Gatsby at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.

Professor Ellen Harris saw publication of her new book Handel as Orpheus: Voice and Desire in the Chamber Cantatas. She completed two articles, "Ornamentation in Mozart's Mitridate" and "Women's Voices in Handel's Cantatas." She was consultant to the Santa Fe Opera and lectured for the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Baroque.

Professor Lowell Lindgren's publications include the article "An Intellectual Florentine Castrato at the End of the Medicean Era," entries in the New Penguin Opera Guide, and essays for Italian Opera in Late Eighteenth-Century London, The Pantheon Opera and Its Aftermath, 1789-1795, and The Eighteenth Century: A Current Bibliography.

Professor Janet Sonenberg was creative advisor for a new Broadway play, Dance of the Vampires. She was on sabbatical in the spring and is completing her next book.

Professor Thompson performed at the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, the Sitka Summer Music Festival, the Amsterdam Chamber Music Festival, and the Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego. He did a series of performances and a recording with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra.

Professor Ziporyn performed with the Bang on a Can All-Stars in New York, and toured as soloist and composer in a performance titled This Is Not a Clarinet. The San Francisco Chronicle stated that Ziporyn's "suave use of extended clarinet techniques is an understated musical triumph. His piece Partial Truths is a vibrant little masterpiece." Two recordings Professor Ziporyn has made with Bang On a Can appeared on top ten lists compiled by music critics at The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Professor Anzolini was assistant conductor with the American Symphony Orchestra in New York. He guest conducted at the Teatro Massimo in Palermo, Italy, and with the Lincoln Center Festival in New York City.

Professor Thomas DeFrantz saw publication of his edited anthology Dancing Many Drums: Excavations in African American Dance. He was visiting professor at Stanford University in the spring of 2002.

Senior Lecturer David Deveau concertized at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, DC, the Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego, and the Strings in the Mountains Festival in Colorado. He performed a series of recitals with clarinetist Richard Stoltzman in Boston, New York, and San Francisco. His chamber music performances included recitals with the Vermeer Quartet and six performances at the Rockport Chamber Music Festival. He performed with violinist Stefan Jackiw as part of the Fleet Boston Celebrity Series. He also performed a live recital on WGBH radio. He continues as artistic director of the Rockport Chamber Music Festival.

Senior Lecturer Martin Marks presented the keynote paper "Convention versus Innovation in Four Nostalgic Hollywood Musicals, 1938-1942" at the Susan Porter Memorial Symposium at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He did numerous performances of the score for the film Metropolis. He performed his own scores for the movies The General, The Lonedale Operator, The Playhouse, and Sherlock Jr.

Senior Lecturer Ouellette performed in Street Scene by Kurt Weill at the Williamstown Theater Festival. He directed Professor Child's opera Embers in performance with the Auros Group for New Music.

Senior Lecturer George Ruckert performed concerts in California and Pennsylvania and guest lectured at New England Conservatory of Music. His Music of Southeast Asia group MITHAS produced a series of Indian music concerts, including a concert by the foremost protégé of Ravi Shankar, Arup Chattopadhyay.

Senior Lecturer Pamela Wood performed solo concerts for the Schoolhouse Center Concert Series in Provincetown and the Kodaly Music Institute at Jordan Hall. She adjudicated the Price Vocal Arts Competition at New England Conservatory and continued as a faculty member at the Kodaly Music Institute at New England Conservatory for their summer program.

Lecturer Cutter was guest speaker at the eastern conference of the American Choral Directors Association. He received commissions from the New Jersey Gay Men's Chorus and the North Carolina Institute of Choral Art.

Lecturer Harris served as assistant conductor of the Boston University Young Artists Wind Ensemble and was appointed assistant conductor for the Boston University Tanglewood Summer Institute. He developed the Frank Battisti 70th Birthday Commission Project, which will commission a number of compositions from contemporary composers specifically for wind ensemble.

Lecturer Laura Harrington saw the Boston Lyric Opera premiere of her opera Resurrection with music by Tod Machover. The world premiere of her play Hallowed Ground was performed by the Portland Stage Company.

Lecturer Harvey guest lectured at Harvard University and Bowdoin College. He composed and premiered five new works with the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra with performances at Bowdoin College, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Institute of Contemporary Art, as well as at The Regattabar in Cambridge.

Lecturer Jean Rife performed with Boston Baroque and Cantata Singers. She recorded with Boston Baroque on the Telarc label and recorded Yehudi Wyner's Horntrio for Bridge Records.

Lecturer Kim Mancuso directed and toured with The House Not Touched by Death. Her production of Faust 2002, which premiered at Boston Center for the Arts in April, traveled to Poland in June to be presented at the MALTA International Festival of Performance

Lecturer Elena Ruehr continues as composer in residence for the Boston Modern Orchestra Project with two new commissions to be premiered in 2003. Her composition The Law of Floating Objects for flute and tape was choreographed and performed by the Nicola Hawkins Dance Company as part of the Fleet Boston Celebrity Series. A new work for solo piano, Swing Set, was performed by Collage New Music.


Professor Anzolini was promoted to associate professor without tenure effective July 1, 2002. Dr. Brian Robison will join the faculty as assistant professor of music effective July 1, 2002. Professor Harris will step down as section head in December of 2002, and Professor Ziporyn will become section head in January 2003.

Music and Theater Arts lost two distinguished colleagues this past year with the deaths of Professor Emeritus David Epstein and Senior Lecturer Edward Cohen.

Music and Theater Arts affirms its commitment to diversity within its disciplines and among its staff. Six members of our full-time faculty and teaching staff of nineteen belong to under-represented minorities or are women.

Ellen T. Harris
Section Head
Class of 1949 Professor of Music

More information about Music and Theater Arts can be found on the web at


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