MIT Reports to the President 1998-99


Music and Theater Arts continues to afford students at MIT the opportunity to experience the unique language and process of the arts in their integrity. The social and moral contexts of human experience also informs all our curricular and co-curricular offerings. Faculty and teaching staff help students understand art's particular demand for rigor and discipline, 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 serves as a base for those who have the talent and desire to continue their education in Music or Theater beyond the undergraduate level.

This year was the third under the leadership of Professor Peter Child as Section Head and of Associate Professor Janet Sonenberg as Director of Theater Arts. The music faculty completed a search for a new Director of Wind Ensembles and selected Fred Harris, who will join the Section on July 1. Assistant Professor Dante Anzolini completed his first year as Music Director of the MIT Symphony Orchestra. Professor Anzolini's bold programming resulted in critically acclaimed performances of Mahler's First Symphony and Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra. The Concert and Chamber Choirs, under the direction of Lecturer William Cutter, did a highly successful March concert tour of Budapest and Vienna. The Ensemble Intercontemporain was in residence with performances and master classes including performances of student works. Lecturer Mark Harvey and the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra performed a Duke Ellington Centennial Salute to a full house in Kresge Auditorium. The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra was joined by the MIT Chamber Chrorus, Assistant Professor Thomas DeFrantz, Senior Lecturer Pamela Wood and Associate Dean Ayida Mthembu. The performance was funded by the Council for the Arts and the Committee on Campus Race Relations. The new Piano Lab and Music Studio opened this year with state-of-the-art electronic keyboards and computers to support the Sections introductory musicianship and theory classes. A composition lab that will support the upper level theory and composition classes has just been completed and will be in service for the coming year.

Lecturer John Corley received the Gordon Y. Billard Award. Associate Professor Evan Ziporyn received a Provost's Fund Grant to support the recording of his recent compositions. Assistant Professor James Makubuya was appointed the Class of 1948 Career Development Professor. Senior Lecturer Ed Cohen received a Massachusetts Cultural Artists Grant and a commission from the Cantata Singers. Professor DeFrantz received a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation for a summer residency at the Foundation's Study and Conference Center in Bellagio, Italy. Petra Chong, double major in music and engineering and receipient of an Emerson Advanced Music Scholarhip, received the Laya and Jerome B. Wiesner Award.

Enrollments in Music and Theater were 1213 and 302, respectively, for a total of 1515. Lecturer Corley conducted his farewell performance with the MIT Concert Band. The performance included the premiere of two works commissioned from MIT and Music and Theater Arts Alumni. Mithas (MIT Heritage of the Arts of Southeast Asia), under the direction of Senior Lecturer George Ruckert, presented a performance by the Indian musician Ali Akbar Khan.

Theater Arts faculty were active as directors of major student productions. Professor DeFrantz directed For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Was Enuff by Ntozake Shange; Lecturer Kim Mancuso Directed The Good Woman of Setzuan by Bertolt Brecht; Senior Lecturer Michael Ouellette directed Shakespeare's Pericles for the MIT Shakespeare Ensemble; and Assistant Professor Brenda Cotto-Escalera directed Teresias, developed and written by Dramashop students. Associate Provost Alan Brody directed Playwrights in Performance in two evenings of one-act plays by MIT student playwrights.

The level of productivity by our faculty remained high. Professor Jeanne Bamberger gave the keynote speech Learning from the Children we Teach at the University of Illinois Conference on Cognitive Development Among Children Involved in Musical Activites. Professor Bamberger's new book, Developing Musical Intuitions: A Project-based Approach to Music Fundamentals will be published in 1999. Professor Child received commissions from the Fromm Foundation at Harvard University for a new work for orchestra, from New England Conservatory of Music for the NEC Percussion Ensemble and from the Harvard Music Association for a chamber work. Professor Child's Sinfonietta was performed by the National Orchestra of Uzbekistan and in Boston Estrella was performed by Cantata Singers. Institute Professor John Harbison's new opera, Gatsby, went into rehearsals at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in preparation for the premiere this fall. Professor Ellen Harris presented a paper, Handel as Orpheus, at the national meeting of the American Musicological Society. She gave a series of lectures to the Boston Symphony Orchestra trustees and presented a lecture on opera for the Boston Lyric Opera. Professor Harris completed 45 articles for the revised edition of the New Grove Dictionary of Music. Professors Harris and Harbison performed together at Tech Night at the Pops. Professor Lowell Lindgren had papers published in Atti del VII Convegno Internazionale sulla musica Italiana, Göttinger Händel-Beiträge, Opera Quarterly and Il Saggiatore Musicale. Professor Marcus Thompson had solo performances in Texas and Louisiana, was guest performer with the Audubon String Quartet and with the Boston Chamber Music Society. He performed Schoenberg's Verklaerte Nacht in Pennsylvania and played a series of concerts in Sitka, Alaska. Professor Ziporyn was guest conductor of Germany's Ensemble Modern in a four-city tour of Europe. In October he was artist in residence at California State Long Beach were he gave a series of lectures and performances. He performed with Bang On A Can in tours of the mid-west and west coast, in Europe at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and in New York City at Alice Tully Hall. Professor Anzolini conducted the world premiere of The White Raven by Philip Glass in Lisbon, Portugal for the World Expo 1998. He participated in the Salzburg Festival premiere of Philip Glass's Fifth Symphony and conducted concerts with the National Symphony Orchestra of Argentina and the Valencia Orchestra of Spain. Professor Anzolini was Music Director for the Itu Festival in São Paulo, Brazil. Professor DeFrantz wrote articles for inclusion in The International Dictionary of Modern Dance, Encyclopedia of Gay Histories and Cultures and American National Biography. He directed and choreographed the musical Pure Polyesther for the Theatre Offensive in Boston, directed One Size Fits All by Rikerby Hinds for the New Play Reading Series in Rochester, New York and co-directed Maricela de la Luz Lights Up the World by Jose Rivera with Professor Cotto-Escalera. Professor DeFrantz was guest soloist with the Boston Pops under the direction of Keith Lockhart. Professor Makubuya presented lecture-demonstrations on african music at the Art Institute of Chicago, World Music Institute in New York City, Peabody Conservatory of Music and Harvard University. He presented papers at the annual conference and New England Chapter conference of the Society for Ethnomusicology. Senior Lecturer Cohen saw performances of his compositions Serenade for Mandolin and String Quartet by the Alea III Contemporary Music Group and Dreams for chamber ensemble performed at the Warebrook Music Festival in Vermont. Senior Lecturer David Deveau continues as Artistic Director of the Rockport Chamber Music Festival. He performed with the Cape Ann Symphony Orchestra, the Portland Symphony Orchestra and the Pittsburg Symphony Orchestra. He performed a series of recitals with violinist Irina Muresanu including the BankBoston Celebrity Series and the Caramoor Festival and continued touring nationally with clarinetist Richard Stoltzman. Lecturer Cutter conducted a concert of his choral music at the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association and was guest chorus master for the Boston Pops. Lecturer Harvey presented the paper's Duke Ellington's Sacred Concerts at the International Ellington Conference, Spiritual Foundations of Jazz at a Boston College Humanities Colloquium and Paul Tillich and the Arts at Andover Newton Theological School. He contributed the chapter Jazz Time and Our Time to the new book This is How We Flow:Rhythm in Black Cultures edited by Angela Nelson. Lecturer Elena Ruehr received commissions from the Shanghai String Quartet and the Pro Arte Chamber Ensemble. Her composition Of Water and Clouds was recorded for ERM Records. She was guest composer at Michigan Technological University and the Cornwall on Hudson Media and the Arts Symposium.

John Corley, Director of Concert Band, retired after 50 years at MIT. Evan Ziporyn was promoted to full professor, Janet Sonenberg received tenure and Brenda Cotto-Escalera was promoted to associate professor without tenure. Music and Theater Arts affirms its commitment to diversity within its disciplines and among its staff. Eight 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

Peter Child

MIT Reports to the President 1998-99