Music and Theater Arts

The Music and Theater Arts Section 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 nonquantitative 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

Dance Theater Ensemble collaborated with internationally renowned choreographer and MIT alumnus Gus Solomons Jr. on a new work entitled Crowd, set to an original score composed and performed by assistant professor Brian Robison. Mr. Solomons was the Martin Luther King visiting professor sponsored by the provost.

Composers in the section had a banner year, with numerous premieres of new works.

Lecturer Mark Harvey and his jazz ensemble Aardvark celebrated their 30th anniversary. Senior lecturer Pamela Wood, associate professor Thomas DeFrantz, and the MIT Chamber Chorus, under the direction of lecturer William Cutter, joined Aardvark in a Kresge Auditorium performance that was taped and presented as part of a profile on Harvey and Aardvark on Channel 5's Chronicle. Theater Arts and Dramashop produced a deconstruction of Shakespeare's Hamlet called Hamlet(s), directed by associate professor Janet Sonenberg, which incorporated student-created documentary footage, multimedia design, and experimental narrative video, with music by Professor Ziporyn.

Honors and Awards

Professor Ellen Harris received the prestigious Otto Kinkeldey Award, presented annually by the American Musicological Association to "honor the work of musicological scholarship deemed by a committee of scholars to be the most distinguished of those published during the previous year."

Professor Ziporyn and lecturer Harvey received ASCAP Awards. These awards, made by the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, are awarded to writers of serious music based upon the unique prestige and value of each writer's catalog of original compositions. Professor Ziporyn was also named as one of the two initial holders of the Kenan Sahin distinguished professor in the humanities, arts and social sciences.

Professor Peter Child received a MacVicar Fellowship.

Professor DeFrantz received the CHOICE Award for outstanding academic publication of 2003 as editor of Dancing Many Drums.

Professor and associate provost for the arts Alan Brody received the Kepes Prize. Named for Gyorgy Kepes, founder of MIT's Center for Advanced Visual Studies, the prize is given to a member of the MIT community whose creative work reflects the vision and values of Kepes, who was celebrated for work exploring the relationship between art and science and art and the environment.

return to top

Program Highlights

Enrollments in Music and Theater were 1,058 and 386, respectively, for a total of 1,444. Program highlights include the following:

MIT Heritage of the Arts of Southeast Asia presented the celebrated Indian sarodist Ali Akbar Khan in concert as part of his 80th birthday celebration.

Theater Arts and Dramashop produced the musical She Loves Me by Masteroff, Bock, and Harnick, directed by senior lecturer Michael Ouellette, who is also director of Theater Arts.

Theater Arts produced Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, directed by Ouellette.

Theater Arts cosponsored Spunk! by George C. Wolfe, with the Black Theater Guild.

Playwrights in Performance presented student-written plays directed by Professor Brody.

return to top


Professor Child's new work, Songs of Bidpai, was premiered by Boston Musica Viva. His opera, Embers, was performed at the University of New Hampshire, and Prayers from the Ark was performed on tour with the Arcadian Wind Quintet. Professor Child celebrated his 50th birthday with a recital featuring a number of his compositions, including the premiere of Fantasia for harpsichord.

Professor Harbison was resident composer at the Great Lakes Festival. Symphony #3 was performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra with James Levine conducting. Other selected performances include Fourteen Fabled Folksongs at Tanglewood, Motetti di Montale at the Sante Fe Festival, Four Psalms with the American Composers Orchestra, Concerto for Oboe with the Boston Philharmonic, and his opera, Full Moon in March, with the Boston Modern Opera Project.

Professor Harris gave keynote lectures at the American Musicological Society Annual Meeting in Columbus, Ohio, and at the American Handel Society Annual Meeting at the University of Iowa. She continues as board member of the American Handel Society and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Professor Lowell Lindgren presented a paper at the Academia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy. His paper, Oratorios Sung in Italian at London, was published in L'oratorio italiano in Europa. He is a member of the Board of Directors for the American Handel Society.

Professor Sonenberg's book, Dreamwork for Actors (Routledge), was published in May of 2003. Professor Sonenberg is consultant to the Royal Shakespeare Company, where the technique outlined in her new book will be be used to create a new theater work in 2004. Archival videography of Hamlet(s) is serving as the centerpiece for new ways of documenting theater experiments and production for the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Professor Thompson was on sabbatical in the spring of 2003. He 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.

Professor Ziporyn released several CDs as composer and performer, including Shadowbang and a recording of the chamber music of Louis Andriessen. He was performer and composer for the Chamber Music Society at Lincoln Center, London's Southbank Center, the Istanbul Festival, and the Sun Valley Center for the Arts. He was featured soloist in David Lang's Passing Measures at New York's Miller Theater. Other premieres included his chamber suite, More Songs about Telephones and Dogs, and his string quartet, Breathing Space. He was an instructor and featured composer at the Bang on a Can Summer Institute at MassMOCA.

Professor Anzolini conducted eight performances of Akhnaten by Philip Glass at the Opera du Rhin, Strasbourg, France. He conducted on tour with the Bruckner Orchester Linz in Sweden and Austria.

Professor DeFrantz presented papers at the International Federation for Theatre Research conferences in Jaipur, India, and Amsterdam. He was coconvener at the De/Ciphering Practices Conference at University of California-Riverside. He was invited to perform at the New Haven International Festival for the Arts, the Intermedia Arts Center in Minneapolis, and the India International Center, New Delhi. He directed and choreographed Of Thee I Sing, by George and Ira Gershwin, for the Emerson Stage in Boston.

Assistant professor Patricia Tang presented papers at the West African Research Center International Symposium in Dakar, Senegal; for the Rhythmic Transformations Colloquium at Harvard University; at the Society for Ethnomusicology Conference in Colorado; and was a conference panelist for "Rhythm and Ritual II: Ancestors and Memory" in Cambridge, MA.

Senior lecturer Deveau concertized at the Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego and the Strings in the Mountains Festival in Aspen, Colorado. His chamber music performances included recitals with the Vermeer Quartet, Sonos, and performances at the Rockport Chamber Music Festival. He continues as artistic director for the Rockport Chamber Music Festival. He performed in the Steinway and Sons 150th Birthday Concert, playing three of the pieces from Professor Child's composition, Doubles.

Senior lecturer Martin Marks was a consultant for the National Film Preservation Foundation and the Harvard Film Archive.

Senior lecturer Ouellette served as chairman of the Review Committee for the Skidmore College Theater Department.

Senior lecturer George Ruckert gave a lecture entitled "Music Beyond Culture" at Harvard University and was a guest lecturer at the New England Conservatory of Music.

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

Lecturer Cutter became chorus master and associate conductor for the Boston Lyric Opera Company and continues as choral director at the Boston Conservatory.

Lecturer Frederick Harris continues as assistant conductor for the Boston University Tanglewood Summer Institute. He served as adjudicator for the Perform America concerto competition at the New England Conservatory. He was the organizer and clinician for the Boston University Music Educators Conference.

Lecturer Laura Harrington saw publication of two plays, Hallowed Ground and The Bathtub Diaries, in an anthology edited by Liza DiFranza for Stage and Screen Books. She is currently working on a new commission for the Wellesley Summer Theater and on the libretto for a new chamber opera commissioned by the University of Maryland, with music by Ye Sung Lee.

Lecturer Harvey concertized throughout the eastern US with his jazz ensemble Aardvark, including the Lake George Jazz Festival and the Boston Globe Jazz and Blues Festival. He saw the release of two CDs, Duke Ellington/Sacred Music and Bethlehem Counterpoint. He guest lectured at Connecticut State University and the National Conference on Jazz and Religion.

Lecturer Kim Mancuso created and produced Faust 2002 for the Boston Center for the Arts and was invited to present the production at the MALTA International Festival of Performance in Poland.

Lecturer Ruehr continues as composer in residence for the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, with two new commissions to be premiered in 2003.

return to top


Professor Ziporyn became section head in January of 2003. Jay Scheib will join Music and Theater Arts as assistant professor of theater in July of 2003. 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 19 are underrepresented minorities or women.

Evan Ziporyn
Section Head
Professor of Humanities, Arts, and Sciences

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


return to top
Table of Contents