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In a typical student-teacher relationship, the teacher nurtures the student by helping to develop skills, cultivate abilities and create opportunities. In an unusual case of role reversal, 1995 MIT graduate Jose Luis Elizondo is promoting the music of his teacher, Professor Peter Child, head of the music section.
"Jose wanted to stay connected to music at MIT and chose to do it in a generous and selfless way, by organizing a concert of music by Peter Child," said Elaine Chew, a graduate student in operations research who plays piano in a concert titled "Child Play" on Friday, Feb. 8 at 8pm in Killian Hall. The program features Professor Child's compositions for young people, performed by both MIT students and local musicians.
Mr. Elizondo and co-producer Loretta Pioch, a graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science and physics, decided to showcase the works of Professor Child after recognizing him as one of MIT's many "hidden musical jewels." Ms. Pioch, a percussionist who has performed with the MIT Concert Band and the Percussion Ensemble, noted that many even at MIT aren't aware of the depth of talent at the Institute. "Who outside of MIT would really believe the great musicians we have here, especially the professors that teach music?" she asked.
"The wonderful thing about this concert is that MIT students get to work with professionals and have gotten direct coaching from the composer," said Mr. Elizondo, who earned the SB in electrical engineering and music and whose own interests in composition were strongly influenced by Professor Child. Mr. Elizondo, who works as an engineer at a software recognition company in Cambridge, continues to compose, and his works are being performed internationally.
"This concert is the result of Jose's vision, confidence, persistence and very hard work," said Professor Child of his friend and former student. "Quite apart from the students' dazzling talents in their chosen fields, I have heard each one turn out performances of the highest musical caliber of the classical repertory. Now, having ventured into the treacherous, unfamiliar world of a living composer, they are doing the same for me, and I am touched, grateful and very excited."
The program will feature the Little Birthday Serenade (1982), Duo (1979), The Great Panjandrum: Seven Songs for Young Listeners (a 1989 setting of poetry for children for soprano and piano which Professor Child dedicated to his daughter, Maddie), Sonatina (1990), The Jaguar and The Moon: Four Poems of Pablo Antonio Cuadra (1992) and Trio for Piano, Violin and Clarinet (1996).
Performers include MIT students Susan Shi, piano (a senior in chemical engineering), Grant Ho, violin (a senior in electrical engineering and computer science), Asher Davison, clarinet (a graduate student in biology) and Ms. Chew. Other musicians are Robert Ward, guitar; Rosemary Schultz, flute; Robert Schultz, percussion; Janna Baty, soprano; Barbara Winchester, soprano, and Professor Child, piano.
The concert has been funded in part by the Council for the Arts at MIT. For more information, call x3-2906 or check the Web site at <http://web.mit.edu/eniale/www/pc97.html>.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 5, 1997.