Contact us

Home About Us People Undergraduate Study Graduate Study Performance Events Contact
Harvard Department of Music In the News     Like us on FB
 Music Department

  Vol. 1, no. 1 WINTER 2000
  Vol. 1, no. 2 SUMMER 2001
  Vol. 2, no. 1 WINTER 2002
  Vol. 2, no. 2 SUMMER 2002
  Vol. 3, no. 1 WINTER 2003
  Vol. 3, no. 2 SUMMER 2003
  Vol. 4, no. 1 WINTER 2004
  Vol. 4, no. 2 SUMMER 2004
  Vol. 5, no. 1 WINTER 2005
  Vol. 5, no. 2 SUMMER 2005
  Vol. 6, no. 1 WINTER 2006
  Vol. 6, no. 2 SUMMER 2006
  Vol. 7, no. 1 WINTER 2007
  Vol. 7, no. 2 SUMMER 2007
  Vol. 8, no. 1 WINTER 2008
  Vol. 8, no. 2 SUMMER 2008
  Vol. 9, no. 1 WINTER 2009
  Vol. 9, no. 2 SUMMER 2009
  Vol. 10, no. 1 WINTER 2010
  Vol. 10, no. 2 SUMMER 2010
  Vol. 11, no. 1 WINTER 2011
  Vol. 11, no. .2 SUMMER 2011
  Vol 12, no. 1 WINTER 2012
  Vol 12, no. 2 SUMMER 2012
  Vol. 13, no. 1 WINTER 2013
  Vol. 13, no. 2 SUMMER 2013
Report to the Friends of Music
<drew faust>
Harvard News Office photo

President Faust on the importance of music

[USA TODAY] Playing music can be both a model and a metaphor for important aspects of the lives our children will be called upon to lead. MORE

Fromm Players at Harvard with Ensemble Dal Niente

The Fromm Players at Harvard presents its annual two-concert series of new music works, titled The natural | The artificial, on February 28 and March 1 at 8:00 pm in John Knowles Paine Concert Hall. This year’s performances feature Ensemble Dal Niente, a 20-member Chicago-based contemporary music collective, who will present two world premieres and two US premieres among the ten works programmed. READ MORE

Harvard News Office photo

Herbie Hancock on the Ethics of Jazz

Jazzman Herbie Hancock trumpets the wisdom of Miles, the import of breaking rules [Harvard Gazette 2.5.14]


Robert Levin Caps Two Decades With a Recital

The pianist and musical polymath Robert Levin is probably best known for picking up the pen where great composers have put it down. His completions and reconstructions of many works by Mozart in particular, most notably the Requiem and the Mass in C Minor, have been performed in concert halls across the world. At the keyboard, Levin’s talents as an improviser have also earned him wide attention. [Jeremy Eichler, Boston Globe 1.28.14]


Iyer Joins Harvard Faculty

Vijay Iyer has won wide acclaim in the music world as a jazz pianist and a composer, has an academic resume that includes degrees from Yale University and the University of California at Berkeley, and has published in a number of scholarly journals. And now Iyer, who in January will become the first Franklin D. and Florence Rosenblatt Professor of the Arts in Harvard’s Department of Music, is in even more select company.

Abbate Named University Professor

Carolyn Abbate, one of the world’s most accomplished and admired music historians, has been named to become a University Professor, Harvard’s highest honor for a faculty member.  Her appointment as the Paul and Catherine Buttenwieser University Professor will take effect on Jan. 1, 2014.



2013: Tony-Award Winner Jason Robert Brown Appointed Blodgett
Artist-in-Residence at Harvard
[photo: USC]

Tony-Award Winner Brown Appointed AIR at Harvard

The Harvard Department of Music and the Office for the Arts at Harvard are pleased to announce the appointment of Jason Robert Brown as Blodgett Artist-in-Residence during the spring of 2014. A celebrated American composer, Brown has been hailed as “one of Broadway’s smartest and most sophisticated songwriters since Stephen Sondheim” (Philadelphia Inquirer). He is known best as the award-winning composer and lyricist of the musical The Last 5 Years, and the Tony-award winning composer of Parade.


2013: Future Looks Bright for Recent Alums

Future Bright for Recent Alums

According to a recent Strategic National Arts Alumni Project survey of more than 33,000 arts alumni, skills developed as arts majors are “applicable for any vocation and often provides opportunities for arts majors to be major contributors in any environment.” A large percentage of undergraduates with a music degree are successfully employed both in and outside the arts.

The Music Department’s alumni experience seems to square with this, as recent graduates report working in the arts, journalism, science, education and health, and cite their music concentration as a source of skills applicable to their professional lives.

2013: Grammy Award-winning Parker String Quartet named to Harvard faculty

Parker Named to Faculty

The Harvard University Department of Music is delighted to announce that the Parker Quartet will become part of the music department teaching faculty at Harvard University beginning in the fall of 2014.
“Thanks to the Blodgett Artists-in-Residence Program, we have been fortunate to have had a Quartet-in-Residence for four weeks a year since 1985,” said Music Department chair Alexander Rehding. “However, the role of performance in the music department and the University has changed significantly, and this is the right time to bring professional musicians to campus as full-time residents.

Let there be music! [story]

Let There Be Music

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. said that music was “to the soul what a water bath is to the body.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow called it “the universal language of mankind,” and T.S. Eliot even suggested, “You are the music while the music lasts.” None of these distinguished Harvard figures made his career as a musician, yet the magic of Orpheus still held powerful sway over them, as it does today over hundreds of students who are part of Harvard’s ever-closer relationship to music


Fromm Players at Harvard with Ensemble Dal Niente

The Fromm Players at Harvard presents its annual two-concert series of new music works, titled The natural | The artificial, on February 28 and March 1 at 8:00 pm in John Knowles Paine Concert Hall. This year’s performances feature Ensemble Dal Niente, a 20-member Chicago-based contemporary music collective, who will present two world premieres and two US premieres among the ten works programmed. Walter Bigelow Rosen Professor of Music Chaya Czernowin curated the concert series.


Wolf Edwards’s the road from Mutlaa to Basra (1991) will make its world premiere on Friday night’s concert (2/28). The piece found its genesis in a 1991 U.S. plane strike that immobilized a convoy on its way from Kuwait to Iraq, then bombed and strafed the resulting traffic jam for hours. On Saturday’s program, Dal Niente will perform the world premiere of Harvard composer Hans Tutschku’s Still Air 3 and two US premieres: Ming Tsao’s The Book of Virtual Transcriptions, and Marianthi Papalexandri’s Yarn, both of which alter the sound of traditional instruments. In Yarn, for example, two string instruments are connected by a fishing line, which is bowed to transmit sound between the two connected instruments.

Works by contemporary composers Erin Gee, Rick Burkhardt, Evan Johnson, Carola Bauckholt, Enno Poppe, and Harvard alumnus Aaron Einbond will also be performed.

Ensemble Dal Niente

"Dal Niente is a model of what contemporary music needs, but seldom gets, to reach and engage a wider public.”
—John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune

Ensemble Dal Niente is a 20-member Chicago-based contemporary music collective that presents and performs new music. Described as "super-musicians" and noted for "bracing sonic adventures by some of the best new-music virtuosos around" (Chicago Tribune), Ensemble Dal Niente became the first-ever ensemble recipient of the coveted Kranichstein Music Prize - the top award for music interpretation - at the 2012 International Summer Courses for New Music in Darmstadt, Germany.

Equally at home working with major international figures as with younger composers, recent collaborators include Brian Ferneyhough, Chaya Czernowin, George Lewis, Marino Formenti, Kaija Saariaho, Marcos Balter, Greg Saunier, Deerhoof, Hans Thomalla, Lee Hyla, Johannes Kreidler, Mark Andre, Evan Johnson, Aaron Einbond, Morgan Krauss, and Jay Alan Yim.

The ensemble's name, Dal Niente ("from nothing" in Italian), is a tribute to Helmut Lachenmann's work for clarinet Dal niente (Interieur III), the courageously revolutionary style of which serves as an inspiration for its musicians. The ensemble's name also references its humble beginnings -- founded in 2004 by a group of music students at various Chicago schools, the ensemble has risen from obscurity to a position as one North America's most prominent new music groups.




2013 Fromm Foundation Commissions Announced


The Board of Directors of the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University is pleased to announce the names of twelve composers selected to receive 2013 Fromm commissions. These commissions represent one of the principal ways that the Fromm Music Foundation seeks to strengthen composition and to bring contemporary concert music closer to the public. In addition to the commissioning award, a subsidy is available for the ensemble performing the premiere of the commissioned work. Previous recipients include Luciano Berio, Elliott Carter, Leon Kirchner, Augusta Read Thomas, Gabriela Lena Frank, Chaya Czernowin, Roger Reynolds, and many more of today’s leading composers.

2013 Fromm commissions were awarded to Samuel Adler (Perrysburg, Ohio), Kathryn Alexander (Hamden, Connecticut), Christopher Brubeck (Wilton, Connecticut), Ryan Chase (Bloomington, Indiana), Anthony Cheung (San Francisco, California), Sean Friar (Pacific Palisades, California), David Gompper (Iowa City, Iowa), Jorge Grossman (Ithaca, New York), Huck Hodge (Seattle, Washington), Kurt Rohde (San Francisco, California), Christopher Stark (Ithaca, New York), Chinary Ung (San Diego, California).

The Fromm Foundation is the legacy of Paul Fromm (1906-1987), one of the most significant patrons of contemporary art music in the U.S. in the second half of the 20th century. “I want to know you,” Igor Stravinsky once said to Fromm, “because contemporary music has many friends but only a few lovers.” The Foundation recently marked its sixtieth anniversary, and has been housed at Harvard University since 1972. Since the 1950s, it has commissioned well over 300 new compositions and their performances, and has sponsored hundreds of new music concerts and concert series.

Among a number of other projects, the Fromm Music Foundation sponsors the annual Fromm Contemporary Music Series at Harvard; this year’s concerts, “The natural | the artificial” with Ensemble Dal Niente will take place on Feb. 28 and March 1, 2014 at John Knowles Paine Concert Hall on the Harvard University campus.

Applications for commissions are reviewed on an annual basis. The annual deadline for proposals is June 1. Requests for guidelines should be sent to The Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard, Department of Music, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138. website:



Internationally Acclaimed Parker Quartet Named Blodgett Quartet-in-Residence at Harvard University Music Department

The Harvard University Department of Music is delighted to announce that the Parker Quartet will become part of the music department teaching faculty at Harvard University beginning in the fall of 2014.

“Thanks to the Blodgett Artists-in-Residence Program, we have been fortunate to have had a Quartet-in-Residence for four weeks a year since 1985,” said Music Department chair Alexander Rehding. “However, the role of performance in the music department and the University has changed significantly, and this is the right time to bring professional musicians to campus as full-time residents. We are confident that the extended exposure to the string quartet will be highly beneficial to our students, especially our many talented undergraduate performers, allowing them to engage in the practice of chamber music on an unprecedented scale. We welcome the Parker Quartet to Harvard with immense pleasure.”

The renowned Parker Quartet (Daniel Chong, Ying Xue, violin; Jessica Bodner, viola; Kee-Hyun Kim, cello) will, as part of the expanded Blodgett residency, present free concerts each year for the general public and recitals as part of the Dean’s Noontime concert series. They will teach, participate in class demonstrations, read and perform student compositions, and coach Harvard undergraduate chamber ensembles in weekly master classes for Harvard credit. The Parker Quartet's full time presence in the program will allow for the expansion of the chamber music and performance study opportunities for students in the Harvard University Music Department.

Formed in 2002, the Grammy Award-winning Parker Quartet has rapidly distinguished itself as one of the preeminent ensembles of its generation. The New York Times hailed the quartet as "something extraordinary," and the Boston Globe acclaims their "pinpoint precision and spectacular sense of urgency.” The quartet began touring on the international circuit after winning the Concert Artists Guild Competition as well as the Grand Prix and Mozart Prize at the Bordeaux International String Quartet Competition in France. Chamber Music America awarded the quartet the prestigious biennial Cleveland Quartet Award for the 2009-2011 seasons.

Performance highlights from recent seasons include appearances at Carnegie Hall, 92nd Street Y, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Library of Congress, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Wigmore Hall in London, Musikverein in Vienna, Monte Carlo Spring Festival, Seoul Arts Center, Rockport Chamber Music Festival, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festspiele in Germany, and San Miguel de Allende Festival in Mexico. The quartet recently collaborated with artists including Kim Kashkashian, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Anne-Marie McDermott, Shai Wosner, Jörg Widmann, and Claron McFaddon. In 2012 the Parker Quartet was the recipient of a Chamber Music America commissioning grant, enabling the ensemble to commission and premiere Capriccio, an hour-length work by American composer Jeremy Gill. This upcoming season includes return engagements to Carnegie Hall, Library of Congress, and Monte Carlo Spring Festival, performances of the Beethoven quartets on the Slee Series in Buffalo, and collaborations with Kikuei Ikeda of the now retired Tokyo String Quartet.

Successful early concert touring in Europe helped the quartet forge a relationship with Zig-Zag Territoires, which released their debut commercial recording of Bartók’s String Quartets Nos. 2 and 5 in July 2007. The disc earned high praise from numerous critics, including Gramophone: “The Parkers’ Bartók spins the illusion of spontaneous improvisation… they have absorbed the language; they have the confidence to play freely with the music and the instinct to bring it off.” The quartet’s second recording, of György Ligeti’s complete works for string quartet was released on Naxos in December 2009 to critical acclaim. This recording won the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance.

Currently based in Boston, the Parker Quartet holds teaching and performance residencies at the University of South Carolina and the University of St. Thomas. From 2008 to 2013, the quartet spent much of its time in St. Paul, MN, where they served as Quartet-in-Residence with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra (2008-2010), were the first-ever Artists-in-Residence with Minnesota Public Radio (2009-2010), and visiting artists at the University of Minnesota (2011-2012).

The Parker Quartet’s members hold graduate degrees in performance and chamber music from the New England Conservatory of Music and were part of the New England Conservatory’s prestigious Professional String Quartet Training Program from 2006-2008. Some of their most influential mentors include the Cleveland Quartet, Kim Kashkashian, György Kurtág, and Rainer Schmidt.

The Parker Quartet will begin their residency at Harvard in the fall of 2014 through the Blodgett Artist-in-Residence program, made possible through a gift from Mr. and Mrs. John W. Blodgett, Jr. The program is now in its 29th year.


Tony-Award-Winner Jason Robert Brown appointed Blodgett Artist in Residence at Harvard

[Photo: USC School of Dramatic Arts]

The Harvard Department of Music and the Office for the Arts at Harvard are pleased to announce the appointment of Jason Robert Brown as Blodgett Artist-in-Residence during the spring of 2014. A celebrated American composer, Brown has been hailed as “one of Broadway’s smartest and most sophisticated songwriters since Stephen Sondheim” (Philadelphia Inquirer). He is known best as the award-winning composer and lyricist of the musical The Last 5 Years, and the Tony-award winning composer of Parade.

As an artist-in-residence at Harvard, Brown will participate in Professor Carol Oja’s seminar, “American Musical Theater,” as well as give master classes and workshops for Harvard students though the Office for the Arts Learning From Performers program. In addition, Brown’s music will be showcased in a concert/cabaret performance at the American Repertory Theater’s Oberon theater on March 27, 2014.

The New York Times refers to Brown as “a leading member of a new generation of composers who embody high hopes for the American musical.” The Last 5 Years was cited as one of Time Magazine’s 10 Best of 2001 and won Drama Desk Awards for Best Music and Best Lyrics, and has been adapted for the screen by Brown and director Richard LaGravenese. Brown won a 1999 Tony Award for his score to Parade, a musical written with Alfred Uhry and directed by Harold Prince, which subsequently won both the Drama Desk and New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards for Best New Musical. Brown is the winner of the 2002 Kleban Award for Outstanding Lyrics and the 1996 Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla Foundation Award for Musical Theatre.

Additionally, Brown was conductor and orchestrator for Yoko Ono’s musical, New York Rock, at the WPA Theatre (on Capitol Records), and he orchestrated Andrew Lippa’s john and jen, Off-Broadway at Lamb’s Theatre. He has conducted and created arrangements and orchestrations for Liza Minnelli, John Pizzarelli, Tovah Feldshuh, and Laurie Beechman, and his songs, including the cabaret standard “Stars and the Moon,” have been performed and recorded by Audra McDonald, Betty Buckley, Karen Akers, Renée Fleming, Philip Quast, Jon Hendricks, and many others. Brown’s new Broadway musical The Bridges of Madison County, with a book by Marsha Norman based on Robert James Waller’s novel, opens next January, directed by Bartlett Sher and starring Kelli O’Hara.

The Blodgett Artist-in-Residence program of the Department of Music is made possible through a gift from Mr. and Mrs. John W. Blodgett, Jr. The program provides for visiting artists to lecture and perform in a variety of musical disciplines. Recent appointments have been Koo Nimo (Ghanaian music), Sir Harrison Birtwistle (composer), Neba Solo (Malian balafon musician), and jazz pioneer Geri Allen.
The Learning From Performers program of the Office for the Arts at Harvard (OFA) brings to Harvard professional artists in all disciplines who interact with students in a range of educational forums, many open to the public. Through this and other programs and services, the OFA supports student engagement in the arts and integrates the arts into University life.


Future Looks Bright for Recent Alums
Recent graduates in music talk about their careers in and outside
of the arts

“According to the latest findings from a national survey of more than 33,000 arts alumni, arts graduates, including those who studied music performance, are likely to find jobs after graduation and use their education and training in their occupation.”—

Forrest O'Connor '10 Aram Demirjian '08 Ben Eisler '08 Emily Richmond Pollack '06 Lara Hirner '05 Berenika Zakrzewski '05

According to a recent Strategic National Arts Alumni Project survey of more than 33,000 arts alumni, skills developed as arts majors are “applicable for any vocation and often provides opportunities for arts majors to be major contributors in any environment.” A large percentage of undergraduates with a music degree are successfully employed both in and outside the arts.

The Music Department’s alumni experience seems to square with this, as recent graduates report working in the arts, journalism, science, education and health, and cite their music concentration as a source of skills applicable to their professional lives. We asked some of our recent alumni weigh in on how their music concentration helps shape their careers. (Read the full interviews at

Forrest O’Connor ’10, co-founder, Concert Window

I co-founded and run a national live concert webcasting network. I actually met my co-founder, Dan Gurney, in a class I counted toward my concentration, so perhaps my job wouldn’t exist had I not chosen to study music! But the truth is that music pervades my job. Dan and I started Concert Window because we love music and wanted to create a new revenue stream for the industry. As an undergraduate, I learned how different people value different types of music, and that has helped us figure out how to present webcasts to the public, why some webcasts work and others don’t, and all the implications of making a musical event in one place immediately accessible to anyone in the world with an Internet connection.

Aram Demirjian ’08, Assistant Conductor, KSO

My primary responsibilities with the Kansas City Symphony are conducting the Pops, Family, Education and Outreach concerts, and covering all Classical Series concerts. My extracurricular activities at Harvard, particularly conducting BachSoc, were the best imaginable hands-on preparation for life as a professional conductor. My training in the Harvard Music Department prepared me for becoming a conductor better than I could have ever predicted as an undergrad, especially the theory classes. It sounds cliché, but all of that work—playing and analyzing Bach chorale upon Bach chorale, endless form and harmony exercises, and ear training practice—really pays off.

Ben Eisler ’08, Health Producer, CBS News

I oversee health coverage for CBS This Morning, a national news show.  Music taught me how to listen to melodies, but also to sources, colleagues, and supervisors. Its tensions and structures have made me a better story teller. Its elements of performance have improved my ability to engage people. And perhaps most importantly, it has heightened my sensitivity to the human condition. It has in many ways made me who I am today.

Emily Richmond Pollock ’06, Assistant Professor, MIT

The first two years I was at Harvard, I pursued a joint concentration in music and social anthropology, but I came to be more and more interested in the history of Western music and especially in the history of opera, and I eventually decided to finish my degree in the music department alone. Sophomore tutorial in particular was a transformative experience for me, because it was in that course that I discovered all the wonderful music that I had never heard growing up as an oboist in orchestras. Harvard’s curriculum was phenomenal preparation for pursuing a PhD in music history. [Now] I teach music courses to undergraduates at MIT, including a music history survey, a symphonic repertoire course, and a course on opera. As a teacher and writer, not a day goes by that I don’t use the concepts and strategies I learned during my time in Harvard’s music department. 

Lara Hirner ’05 Speech Language Pathologist

 I work as a speech language pathologist in an adult acute care hospital (Massachusetts General Hospital). My career as a musician is what guided me to the field of speech pathology. I wanted to find a career that would wed my knowledge and training in voice with my interests in providing care. I also feel that my training in ethnomusicology and analysis of identity has helped foster another skill I use daily: cultural sensitivity and the value of difference, diversity, and belief systems when helping to facilitate health care decision making.

In addition to my work as a speech therapist, I continue to perform as a singer in a limited capacity. One of my favorite long-standing performance opportunities is my work as the soprano soloist for the New York City Ballet’s production of the West Side Story Suites. My performance career post-graduation was largely facilitated through connections I made at Harvard.

Berenika Zakrzewski ’05
Pianist, Arts Administration

I am a concert pianist and the music department at Harvard offered me the capacity to grow as a musician and scholar. I joined my music concentration with Government, as I wanted to see my place as an artist and musician in a context beyond myself. Music is a great connector of people and it functions as a conduit for social and economic progress in various fields.




Department of Music Announces $236,000+ in Fellowships, Awards


May 15, 2013

The Music Department awarded $236,735 in awards and fellowships to support the scholarly and artistic work of its graduate and undergraduate students.

Graduate Student Awards:                                                      

The Department’s Oscar S. Schafer Prize is given to students “who have demonstrated unusual ability and enthusiasm in their teaching of introductory courses, which are designed to lead students to a growing and life-long love of music.” This year’s recipients are Trevor Baca, Matthew Henseler, an dIan Power.

Richard F. French Prize Fellowships

Charrise Barron to support travel and research on gospel music in Houston and Dallas.
Edgar Barroso to conduct dissertation writing in Switzerland.
Elizabeth Craft to support dissertation research in New York City.
Joseph Fort to study with Helmuth Rilling at the Oregon Bach Festival, and to conduct dissertation research in Austria.
John Gabriel to conduct dissertation research in Vienna, Mainz, and Berlin.
Olivia Lucas to support dissertation research in Finland, Norway, and Sweden.
Emerson Morgan for Latin study in Milwaukee and dissertation research at Newberry Library in Chicago.
Sarah Politz for travel to Benin to study drumming and conduct fieldwork.
Wenqui Tang for dissertation fieldwork in China.
Micah Whittmer to conduct archival research at the Library of Congress and the New York Performing Arts Library.

John Knowles Paine Fellowships

Mathew Blackmar for language study at Alliance Francaise and dissertation research at Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris.
Ann Cleare for research in Berlin and Freiburg.
Sivan Cohen-Elias for research travel to South Africa.
Andy Friedman to support research and dissertation writing.
Marta Gentilucci to attend rehearsals and the premiere of her work in Rues, Spain.
Sarah Hankins to support dissertation fieldwork in Israel.
Mathew Henseler for dissertation research at the Library of Congress.
Justin Hoke to support travel for compositional research, materials, and cello purchase.
Rujing Huang to travel to the International Council for Traditional Music World Conference.
Krystal Klingenberg for field research in Uganda and for Kiswahili language study.
Hannah Lewis for dissertation research in France and Brussels.
Peter McMurray for archival and fieldwork research in Germany and Turkey.
Josiah Oberholtzer to acquire sound recordings in the Pacific Northwest.
Marek Poliks to attend the June in Buffalo conference and to meet with collaborators in Montreal.
Ian Power for travel to New York and Colorado for composition collaboration.
Stefan Prins to travel to Brussels, Frieburg, Warsaw, and Santiago de Compostela for rehearsals of his work and teaching.
Stephanie Probst to conduct research at the Paul Sacher Foundation in Basel.
Sabrina Schroeder to attend and participate in Tzil Meudcan in Tel Aviv, and to attend Foro Internacianale De Musica Nueva in Mexico City.
Jonathan Withers for instrument and language study, and dissertation research in Turkey.

The Harry and Marjorie Ann Slim Memorial Fund

Lucille Mok was awarded the Slim Fund to support archival research at Rutgers and conference travel to British Columbia.

Ferdinand Gordon & Elizabeth Hunter Morrill Graduate Fellowships

Manuela Meier  a Morrill fellowship to travel to Venice, Italy to conduct research in the Luigi Nono Archive.
Marta Gentilucci to attend rehearsals and the premiere of her work in Rues, Spain.
Jamie Blasina for dissertation research and to attend a conference in Italy.
Gavin Williams for dissertation research in Milan, Florence, and Rome.
Thomas Lin received a Morrill Fellowship to conduct archival research at UCLA, and for dissertation writing.

Nino and Lea Pirotta Graduate Research Fund

Stephanie Probst received a Pirotta Fund award to conduct research at the Paul Sacher Foundation in Basel.
Caitlin Schmid received a Pirotta Fund award to conduct archival research at the Juilliard School, the New York Philharmonic and at the New York Public Library.
Matthew Henseler received a Pirotta Fund award to support dissertation research at the Library of Congress.

University Composition Prizes:

The John Green Fellowship was established by friends and family of the late John Green ’28 in support of excellence in musical composition. It is made annually to an undergraduate or graduate student composer. This year’s prize went to Josiah Oberholtzer.

The George Arthur Knight Prize was awarded to Justin Hoke for smothered bodies, slender bodies. The Hugh F. MacColl Prize went to Lydia Brindamour ’13 for (not, as yet….) The Adelbert W. Sprague Prize was awarded to Ann Cleare for for to another of that other. Marta Gentilucci was awarded The Bohemians Prize for …tutt’occhi. The Francis Boott Prize was awarded to Kyle Randall for When You Are Old. The winner of this year’s Blodgett composition competition is Marta Gentilucci’s Proof Resilience.


Undergraduate Awards:

Andres Ballesteros received a Paine Fellowship to participate in the highSCORE Contemporary Music Festival
Irineo Cabreras received a Paine Fellowship to conduct to participate in four summer dance workshops.
Kyle Randall received a Paine Fellowship for research in Italy, and to produce an electronic music project.
Zach Sheets received a Paine Fellowship to attend concerts in Europe and to pursue composition lessons at the American Conservatory at Fontainebleu.

The Davison Prize was awarded to Kyra Atekwana to conduct social science research on community and musical theater.
The Davison Prize was awarded to Kathryn Walsh to conduct research on musical theater and political advocacy.



Music Students Honored:

Many graduate students were additionally honored for their scholarship. Edgar Barroso received a Fundacion Mexico en Harvard Fellowship. Ann Cleare was awarded a Kennedy, Knox, Sheldon Fellowship. GSAS Dissertation Finishing Fellowships went to Elizabeth Craft, Wenqi Tang, and Jamie Blasina. Krystal Klingenberg received a Foreign Language Association Fellowship. Hannah Lewis, Ashford Finishing Fellowship and Luci Mok, a Weatherhead Finishing Fellowship. Anne Searcy and Jon Withers both received a GSAS Term Time Fellowship.

In addition, Trevor Baca received the Derek C. Bok Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching of Undergraduates. Derek Bok Center Teaching Awards for the fall semester, 2012, went to the following music graduate students, lecturers, and associates: Trevor Baca, Sarah Hankins, Ann Cleare, Joseph Fort, Justin Hoke, Olivia Lucas, David Kim, Frank Lehman, Brian Levy, Heng-Jin Park, Dan Sedgewick, Jeremy Spindler, Nicholas Stoia, and Chistopher Tong.

Source: Harvard University Department of Music

Like us on FB

+ Bookmark and Share








Harvard University Department of Music

Levin on 180, Musical Truth, and the Practice of Performance
January, 2014

A composer puts a mirror to the audience and asks us to recognize ourselves. It’s the same as with great plays.
Music is no less serious just because it is composed of tones, not words.

LISTEN: Levin plays Beethoven at La Scala

Robert Levin, the inaugural Dwight P. Robinson Jr. Professor of the Humanities at the Department of Music at Harvard, will retire from the University in 2014. As a tribute to Levin, the Music Department will honor him with a concert in Sanders Theatre on Sunday January 26 at 3:00 p.m. Internationally reknowned pianist Levin will perform pieces that he commissioned, premiered, or have been commissioned for him. These include Bernard Rands’ 12 Preludes, John Harbison’s Piano Sonata No. 2, Hans Peter Türk’s Träume, and Straccio vecchio and Sauce 180 by Yehudi Wyner. Knowing Levin’s skill with improvisation, there may some surprises as well.

Levin recently reflected on coming to Harvard, Music 180, musical truth, and the practice of performance.

If it weren’t for a tiny post office in a Black Forest German town, Professor Robert Levin may not have spent the last twenty years teaching performance at Harvard.

“I was senior professor of piano at the Musikhochschule in Freiburg,” recounts Levin. “One morning I was heading towards the post office—it was very small, with just one window—and I saw a man with a stack of packages heading in the same direction. I thought, ‘I’ve got to get there first or I’ll be here all morning.’ As I got closer I recognized him. It was Christoph Wolff.’”

Harvard music professor Wolff and his wife Barbara, it turns out, loved Freiburg so much they’d bought a condo there. The Levins and Wolffs lived but 150 yards from each other. They began to share dinners when the Wolffs were in town, and when Leon Kirchner announced his retirement, Wolff asked Levin if he would consider the position.

“It would have been a break with tradition to hire me,” Levin states. “Leon was a composer and a performer. Harvard wanted to perpetuate this tradition by having a composer/performer teach Music 180 [Performance and Analysis]. As Christoph Wolff described the position, the University was looking for a performer with an international career, but not just a pianist. My extensive work in theory and musicology seems to have appealed to the powers that be.”

Levin’s first instinct was to defer. “I don’t have to explain how wonderful Freiburg is,” he told Wolff. “I look out my windows at the Black Forest and the Vosges mountains in France. I have plum, quince, apple, cherry trees, and rose bushes. Why on earth should I leave and go to Harvard?”

Fate intervened again. Within a few years of Wolff’s query, Levin’s teaching load at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik was becoming too time-consuming for his increasingly demanding performance schedule. His future wife, pianist Ya-Fei Chuang, told him: “Don’t torment yourself. You have an offer from the world’s premier university! Go!”
Exactly 25 years after he graduated from Harvard, Levin landed in Cambridge, was featured at Symphony Hall’s Harvard Night at the Pops, and closed on a house.

Music 180

Although Levin was not a student in Music 180 (he graduated in 1968, and Kirchner offered Music 180 for the first time in 1969–70), he considers himself very close to Kirchner, both personally and curricularly.

“I took on the ideals of the course as well as the mechanics,” he says, “with some modifications. Leon taught with a preceptor (Lucy Stoltzman), and Leon took on the group settings with all the coachings done by Lucy. I wanted to have a more collegial arrangement with my preceptor—violinist Dan Stepner—so we both participated in the group sessions and we both coached the individual groups.”

In 180, everyone studies all the scores. Then, students play and the others comment. Stepner speaks, then Levin, sketching broad ideas and new artistic suggestions. The students perform again, incorporating the feedback.

“I wanted the course to work like a laboratory,” says Levin. “Every interpretation has emotional and intellectual consequences. The power of performance derives from these decisions.”

The structure of 180 has remained constant during Levin’s tenure of nearly a generation of student musicians.

“The course is a life-changing experience,” he says. “I find 180 alumni everywhere I tour. At nearly every performance one former student is in that orchestra—not all from Harvard, but a lot are 180 students. They tell me they feel tremendously warm about that course and the decisive role it had in steering them towards their paths in life. There are even numerous 180 marriages. I’ve seen probably a half dozen on my watch.

“Some students take 180 once. Some have taken it eight times. I want to give them something that sustains them throughout their lives.”

Levin feels the same way about the Core courses he’s taught—such as Chamber Music from Mozart to Ravel.

“I thought teaching in the Core curriculum was an extraordinary opportunity. For anyone afraid of classical music dying, anyone interested in the future world, to try and create a love of classical music in the elite of Harvard was extremely important to me. If, within a generation those people could support the arts, that would be critical to their survival.
“I’m optimistic. I heard from a Pakistani student at Columbia Medical School—a former Chamber Music student—that classical music was now his lifeline. It was music I’d taught him to love.”

A Serious Thing is a True Joy

Soon after his arrival at Harvard, Levin began to teach a series of undergraduate courses in period performance practice. It started with 18th century, expanded back to the 17th, alternated with the 19th, which then bled in to the 20th.

“They all related to 180. I didn’t want to assign anything, but rather have each student select a problem. Matt Haimovitz ’96, for example, wanted to write cadenzas for one of the Haydn cello concertos for an upcoming tour. Hazel Davis ’03 wanted to prepare an authentic performance of Strauss’ Second Horn Concerto. Julia Glenn ’12 wanted to reconstruct the original performance style of the Sixth Bartok Quartet to reveal how values and sounds changed. I tried to steer them to relevant literature: manuscripts, periodicals, documents. The entire seminar would give the individual students insights into a variety of topics they might not otherwise have discovered.

“I’m always amazed at what a hands-on experience is possible when researching music from 100 or 150 years ago. Artistic, physical, spiritual—all these areas underlie the performance of music.”

Students at Harvard, according to Levin, are extremely talented and smart; they want to play. They love details such as how much pressure to put on the pedal or which finger to use. But if he talks about how music is put together, there’s more restlessness.

“To that I would invoke the Latin motto in the Gewandhaus in Leipzig: ‘Res severa, verum gaudium’: ‘A serious thing is true joy.' I hope in my tenure at Harvard I have persuaded students that one derives joy from passionate advocacy of what is truly serious. A composer puts a mirror to the audience and asks us to recognize ourselves. It’s the same as with great plays. Music is no less serious just because it is composed of tones, not words. One reads music just as deeply inside.

“When Nadia Boulanger played a Bach piece, even if it was the 60th time she played it, she was moved by some basic musical truths. As a twelve-year-old boy listening to her I felt a sense of wonder. I perceived, as I shall forever do, how deep the spiritual nature of music was. Music is created within a structure; Bach was a great architect. But that’s not why we listen; we listen because it tells a great story.

“Thinking about art and performing it are inseparable. Knowledge and instinct fuse into intuition. You need to study everything you can, but when you walk out and play you’re not reading a cookbook. You have to risk everything. If I have a new idea on stage during a performance I cannot resist the lure of trying it out then and there. I can’t help it. I may fall flat on my face, but there’s no question I’ll take that risk.”

Robert Levin studied piano with Louis Martin and composition with Stefan Wolpe in New York. He worked with Nadia Boulanger in Fontainebleau and Paris while still in high school, afterwards attending Harvard. Upon graduation he was invited by Rudolf Serkin to head the theory department of the Curtis Institute of Music, a post he left after five years to take up a professorship at the School of the Arts, SUNY Purchase. In 1979 he was Resident Director of the Conservatoire américain in Fontainebleau, France, at the request of Nadia Boulanger, and taught there from 1979 to 1983. From 1986 to 1993 he was Professor of Piano at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany. President of the International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Akademie für Mozartforschung [Academy for Mozart Research] in Salzburg, he has been the Dwight P. Robinson, Jr. Professor of Music at Harvard since 1993. Levin will retire in 2014.

The Levin Prize in Musical Performance was established in 2013 in recognition of Robert Levin's unique contribution to musical life at Harvard. To read more about the Prize, which supports young performers at a critical time in their lives, please CLICK HERE.

Source: Harvard University Department of Music

Like us on FB

+ Bookmark and Share









Harvard University Department of Music

Silent to Synchronized Sound:
Hannah Lewis Explores Music in Early Sound Films

January, 2013

“I didn’t expect to work on film music at first,” says fifth-year graduate student Hannah Lewis. “I entered grad school interested in studying post-war American experimental music, particularly John Cage. But I decided to pursue a secondary field in Film and Visual Studies, since experimental art is often multimedia, and I became fascinated by the intersections between music and visual media.”

Lewis became especially interested in moments of technological change, which drew her to the transition from silent to synchronized sound film. This was, she believes, one of the most dramatic transformations in the history of cinema; it radically shifted the technology, practices, and aesthetics of filmmaking in a few short years.

“The role of music in film changed completely. When there was a live orchestra, organ, or piano accompanying silent film, the experience of moviegoing was partially a live experience. Once there was synchronized sound, the experience was entirely mediated, which meant that the spectator’s film-going experience was very different. But it also meant that the director suddenly had more control over music. Music could become an essential component of a film from its conception.”

Lewis began examining the transition both in the United States, where the development of synchronized sound first took place, and in France, where the shift was imposed, and whose filmmakers were particularly ambivalent about the transition.

“The French film director René Clair was originally a silent film director, and he used film to create what he called ‘visual poetry,’ or an ability to express through images, without language,” Lewis explains. “Clair was terrified when sound came; he didn’t want to destroy the magic of his film style with dialogue. But music, like silent film, could express without words. If you had music, he thought, you didn’t need to rely on dialogue.”

Clair’s reluctance to switch to sound is reflected in several of his films from the early 1930s, which incorporate music in provocative ways. They rely heavily on opera and operetta, and serve as both pointed critiques of existing filmmaking practices and alternative models for the sound-image relationship in film.
“Clair dealt directly with live musical theatrical forms,” says Lewis. “There’s an overt comment on the genre of opera in Le Million, for example. He makes fun of opera as being over-the-top, but still sees it as a genre that sound film could emulate, as well as one that can highlight what film does better than spoken plays.”

René Clair's Le Million opera scene

Sound film practices had basically solidified by 1934, leaving a brief eight years from the advent of synchronized sound to the time when sounds in movies most often took the “realistic” narrative form we are accustomed to. It is this brief period of experimentation that has become the focus of Lewis’s dissertation.
“There was an aesthetic unsettledness at that time; people understood music’s role in different ways. There wasn’t yet the assumption that we must see someone and hear his or her voice at the same time to seem natural. There could be an artificial connection. Clair, for example, filmed a chase scene to which he added the sound of crowds cheering at a rugby match. There was no attempt to represent reality; the sound made its own statement separately from the image.”

Lewis is researching films that have been overlooked by many scholars because they are considered to be transitional. She’s also looking into the differences between mainstream narrative films created and controlled by large studios and the experimental films of the period, where directors’ roles were closer to that of auteur.

“I’m looking at how different stakeholders influenced the musical decisions being made. Rouben Mamoulian, for example, was a stage director for opera and musicals, and that informed his cinematic work in ways that challenged standardized studio practices and distinguished him from other Hollywood directors of the period. It’s particularly evident in his film musical Love Me Tonight, with music by Rodgers and Hart, where he experimented with the different things that music can do.

In one scene, for instance, Maurice Chevalier sings a refrain that is picked up by various characters as they travel, first on a taxi cab, then a train, through the French countryside, until it is sung by Jeanette MacDonald. This required innovative camera editing and gave music, particularly song, a very powerful presence, integrating it into the narrative rather than giving it a frivolous role. [Armenian-born Mamoulian was one of biggest creative forces behind two American cultural icons: he directed both Porgy and Bess and Oklahoma.]

Isn't It Romantic
Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald, "Isn't it Romantic?"

“French director Jean Vigo, on the other hand, was not widely recognized during his lifetime but subsequently had a significant impact on both French and American experimental film. He’s been hailed as a founder of poetic realism in film; but alongside his gritty, naturalistic style, he incorporated dreamlike, fantastical elements highlighting music’s magical qualities. For Vigo, music became a means of accessing a new, politically charged cinematic aesthetic. In a collaboration with film composer Maurice Jaubert, for example, he created a score for one of his films about an uprising of school boys, Zéro de Conduite. Jaubert composed the piece backwards, recorded it, and then reversed the recording. It sounds very dream-like; it’s an amazing, singular experimentation that foreshadows some of the practices of musique concrète in the 1950s. I’m fascinated by how music created more whimsy in Vigo’s cinematic world, alongside the politically subversive narrative content.

Famous pillow fight scene in Zero de Conduite

“As a completely different model, I am researching the early sound films produced by Warner Bros. using their new Vitaphone technology—an analog system in which the soundtrack was recorded on a 33 1/3 rpm phonograph record and played on a turntable while the film was being projected. I’m focusing on feature films from Don Juan (1926), the first Vitaphone feature film to contain a mechanically synchronized musical score, up to The Jazz Singer (1927), the first feature length film with synchronized dialogue. The changes in technology and music during the span of a single year were an important part of Warner Bros.’ attempts to articulate what the new medium could be.”

Al Jolson
Al Jolson, "Toot Toot Tootsie!" in The Jazz Singer

Lewis spent months in the French Bibliothèque Nationale looking at Clair’s shooting scripts, as well as in California at the UCLA Film and TV Archive. She worked with the USC Warner Bros. Archive, which holds a number of financial documents, contracts, and correspondence, and visited with Miles Kreuger, head of the Institute of the American Musical, who oversees that organization’s archive. Lewis worked at the Library of Congress with the Mamoulian papers, which only became available in 2009. She’s one of the early scholars to look at his work on Love me Tonight in the context of this new material.
“These early synchronized-sound film directors—Mamoulian, Clair, Vigo—had differing responses to sound and music in film,” summarizes Lewis. “Music could mean different things to different directors. In trying to define a new form for film there was more openness, and definitely more possibilities during this period of transition.”

Hannah Lewis’s dissertation is tentatively titled “New Possibilities For Sound: Music in Early Sound Film in the U.S. and France, 1926-1934.” She is the recipient of the AMS Harold Powers World Travel Grant, the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History Term Time Research Grant, and the Oscar Shafer Award.

Source: Harvard University Department of Music

Like us on FB

+ Bookmark and Share










Harvard University Department of Music

Interview: Zachary Sheets ’13

January 2013
Zachary Sheets is a joint concentrator with Romance Languages and Literatures. He is currently working on his senior thesis as well as a solo cello piece for Alan Toda-Ambaras, and has plans in the works with a contemporary music ensemble in Vermont and a wind quintet in Montreal. Sheets is a former president of the Harvard Composers Association, and a member of the HRO and Dunster House Opera Orchestra. He was awarded an Artist Development Fellowship from the Office for the Arts for summer 2012 study at the highSCORE Contemporary Music Festival, where he had a performance of his“What is on the End of a Feather” by the Quartetto Indaco, and at the Mozarteum Summer Academy with the French composer Pascal Dusapin.

Zach Sheets:
Gathers no moss
What Is one the End of a Feather


Talk a bit about your thesis and how you combined your concentrations?
My thesis is a one-act opera, based on French and Francophone retellings of the myth of Medea. In a way, it is as much an “opera” as it is a song cycle with spoken dialogue interpolated; the interesting thing is the language divide. I took up a more classical idea of aria and recitative and applied it to the dialogue and songs, so I’ve chosen to have the dialogues spoken in English translation (my own), while the songs stay in their original French. The three versions I’m working with are by Pierre Corneille, a 17th century French playwright; Jean Anouilh, who wrote during and shortly after WWII; and Max Rouquette, a writer of French-Occitan descent who died in 2005. Paradoxically, it is the anachronism of combining the three texts that has elucidated precisely what is so timeless about Medea’s character.

Did you intend to concentrate in both areas when you came to Harvard or have you developed these interests over your time here?
I knew that I was going to study music in one way or another, as music is what I want to do with my life. French literature had always been an interest of mine, and I was fortunate enough to take two years of courses in literature at Dartmouth College while I was in high school (my hometown in Vermont bordered Hanover, NH). When it came time to declare a major, I had already taken so many courses in both that a joint concentration made the most sense. I also had the idea of a song-cycle or small-scale opera in mind as a possible senior thesis.

Has the undergraduate composition scene changed during your time here?
It has changed immeasurably. I joined the Harvard Composers Association as a freshman. Every meeting was different; sometimes twenty people showed up—one with a piano arrangement of ‘Happy Birthday,’ another with a dodecophonic composition for large orchestra—sometimes it was just a handful of people. We began to organize collaborations between student composers and student performers once a semester, and developed weekly masterclass-style meetings with our advisor, Edgar Barroso, who really helped us blossom into what we are today. We were very fortunate to receive funding from the Music Department and the OFA, and in March of 2012 put on a concert with the Juventas New Music Ensemble in Paine Hall. It was a huge success, I think, and the new board, led by Lydia Brindamour and Aviva Hakanoglu, has arranged to bring in the Callithumpian Consort for a concert of our work this February, which is tremendously exciting!

When do you compose? Do you have a regimen, or are you deadline-driven?
I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently. Amnon Wolman, with whom I had the great privilege to work in the fall, talks a lot about the idea of composition as a skill that should be practiced daily, as an instrument. This is not necessarily how I work, but, in a way I’m never not working on something. Roger Reynolds, whom I also worked with, said that when we have a project we’re always thinking about it to some degree. A composer is never really divorced from thinking about sound or creation in one way or another. As nice as this sounds, real life gets in the way sometimes! Projects often require a big push toward their deadlines, especially since it’s important to be so exact and detailed in one’s notation. This takes time, so the piece better be intellectually and creatively squared away well in advance of when it needs to be sent to a player.

Do you write for specific musicians you know?
Very often, yes. While I’ve been at Harvard, I’ve had the opportunity to work with the Bach Society Chamber Orchestra, the Brattle Street Chamber Players, the Harvard University Flute Ensemble, and a number of “pick-up” groups who have assembled to play my pieces at Harvard Composers Association Concerts. Many of these have been done with the specific players in mind.

You won the Bach Soc’s composition competition in 2010, then again in 2012—do you see a difference in your work over those two years?
My music has evolved exponentially. That’s the thing about being exposed to such a diverse and stimulating place like Harvard (not to mention having teachers like Chaya, Roger, or Amnon!): you grow and change and think so tremendously quickly. My first Bach Soc piece was an orchestration of a piece I wrote when I was 17 (a nice jazzy thing for clarinet, violin, cello, and piano), and my second piece was written for Professor Cortese’s orchestration class. It’s interesting for me to think about the trajectory from one to the other to now.

Who do you write for? Who inspires you?
I see beautiful things all the time: in nature, in literature, in other art, in philosophy, in whatever. Turning any of these compelling thoughts into music is a little bit different every time, and it’s rarely important that the inspirations are identifiable in the music. Generative principles are funny things—the most fragile and ineffable we deal with as artists. In terms of who I write for, I think Bernard Rands, a former faculty member here, has a beautiful answer to that question: “I never think, in a sense, about writing for an audience, because I don’t know who they are. I only assume that like me, they’re human, they have all the frailties of humanity; they have aspirations, they have disappointments, they have nostalgic memories of when they heard one piece or another, but collectively we don’t know who they are. They are as many people as are in that hall, and they will hear the piece that many times, all differently from each other.”

Source: Harvard University Department of Music

Like us on FB

+ Bookmark and Share







Davison Traveling Fellowships available to undergraduates, graduates

The Davison Fellowship for Travel in Music, a gift from Alice D. Humez in memory of her husband Archibald "Doc" Davison, provides financial support for students engaged in short projects relating to music that require travel away from Harvard University. Undergraduate and graduate students in good standing are eligible to apply. While the terms of the fellowship are broadly defined, preference will be given to proposals that have an academic component. Economical and resourceful proposals will be favored. Undergraduates engaged in research are particularly encouraged to apply.

Applications consist of a short project description (1-2pp.), a budget, and a confidential letter of recommendation from an academic adviser.These materials should be submitted to the Department of Music (Eva Kim or Nancy Shafman). Applications are due by 5pm Wednesday April 10th, 2013 for projects beginning in the summer or the following academic year. The fellowship selection will be made by a committee in the Department of Music and will be announced in the first week of May.




Fromm Foundation at Harvard: Celebrating 60 Years of New Music

Concerts, April 12, 13 at 8pm in Paine Hall (free)

The 2012-13 year marks the 40th anniversary of the Fromm Contemporary Music Foundation at Harvard (1972) and the 60th anniversary of the Foundation itself (1952). In celebration, the Music Department has programmed two free concerts by the Fromm Players at Harvard on April 12 and 13, 2013, with the renowned music ensemble SOUND ICON, conducted by Jeffrey Means. These concerts, entitled Celebrating 60 Years of the Fromm Foundation (1952-2012), will be held in John Knowles Paine Concert Hall and devoted to works commissioned by the Fromm Foundation over the years: music by Luciano Berio, Elliott Carter, Lee Hyla, Leon Kirchner, Liza Lim, Bruno Maderna, Karola Obermüller (world premiere), Gunther Schuller, and Barbara White. In addition, an exhibit created from the archived, but largely unexplored, Fromm personal papers is currently on display in the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library.

The Fromm Foundation is the legacy of Paul Fromm (1906-1987), one of the most significant patrons of contemporary art music in the U.S. in the second half of the twentieth century. He was an emigrant from Nazi Germany who personally (and later, his foundation) commissioned hundreds of composers for new works, including major figures of 20th-century music. At a time when few women composers received major commissions, Fromm supported the work of Joan Tower, Betsy Jolas, and Shulamit Ran, and let it be known that supporting female creativity was one of the Foundation’s goals. Since Fromm moved his Foundation to Harvard in 1972, the Fromm Foundation has continued to commission new works from 12-15 composers a year.

The Boston-based Sound Icon is well-known for groundbreaking performances of new music. Their sinfonietta-sized ensemble offers the colors of a full orchestra alongside the flexibility and precision of a chamber ensemble.

Library Exhibit, open through May 2

In addition to the two concerts, a library exhibit, Composing the Future: The Fromm Foundation and the Music of Our Time, is currently open to the public, curated by members of Professor Anne Shreffler's Fall 2012 graduate seminar on the Fromm Foundation.

The Fromm Music Foundation forged patronage networks that supported some of the most significant compositions, journals, performing ensembles, and recordings in the landscape of contemporary American music in the second half of the twentieth century.
The Foundation's voluminous archival holdings in Harvard libraries (115 boxes) offer a treasure trove of unexplored information about contemporary concert music in America.

The exhibit highlights the Fromm Foundation's activities by focusing on four themes: "Patronage Networks," "Homage to Fromm" (his 70th, 75th, and 80th birthday celebrations), "Making a Modern Canon," and "The Princeton Seminars in Advanced Musical Studies." The exhibition features musical scores, correspondence, recordings, programs, photographs, recordings, and other documents by figures including John Adams, Luciano Berio, Elliott Carter, Lou Harrison, Barbara Kolb, Gunther Schuller, and Roger Sessions, and includes gems such as the unique photo of a Fromm-hosted social gathering, below. 

On couch: Earle Brown, Matthias Kriesberg, Ingram Marshall, Ben Johnston, Bernard Rands, Jacob Druckman, Joan Tower, Morton Subotnik, Paul Fromm. Floor: Alvin Lucier. Standing: James Tenny, Luciano Berio

For More Information:

Fromm Players at Harvard
Celebrating 60 Years of the Fromm Foundation (1952-2012)

Liza Lim: Shimmer Songs (2006)
Luciano Berio: Circles (1960)
-- Jennifer Ashe, soprano
Leon Kirchner: Concerto for violin, cello, 10 winds and percussion (1960)
Bruno Maderna: Giardino Religioso (1972)

Gunther Schuller: Tre Invenzioni (1972)
Lee Hyla: Pre-pulse Suspended (1984)
Karola Obermuller: elusive corridors (2012)*
-- Michael Norsworthy, clarinet
Barbara White: Third Rule of Thumb (1999)
Elliott Carter: Double Concerto (1961)
-- Paavali Jumpannen, piano; Yoko Hagino, harpsichord


Free and open to the public. No tickets required. First come, first seated!!
Free parking available in Broadway Garage, corner of Broadway and Felton Streets, Cambridge

Composing the Future: The Fromm Foundation and the Music of Our Time

Curated by members of Professor Anne Shreffler's Fall 2012 graduate seminar:
Matthew Blackmar, Monica Hershberger, and Caitlin Schmid
LIBRARY EXHIBIT: Open through May 2, 2013.
Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library, Music Building, Harvard University.


Source: Harvard University Department of Music

+ Bookmark and Share



Composer Roger Reynolds’ works performed by Narucki, members of Alarm Will Sound

The music of Pulitzer-winning American composer ROGER REYNOLDS is the subject of a concert at Harvard’s John Knowles Paine Concert Hall on Thursday, December 6, 2012, at 8:00 p.m. Reynolds is the Fromm Visiting Professor in the university’s music department, where he teaches composition (Reynolds is a professor of Composition at the University of California-San Diego). Two of Reynolds’ works will be performed: “Passage,” a set of multi-media presentations utilizing Harvard’s 40-loudspeaker orchestra, HYDRA; and "Seasons Cycle II" with members of Alarm Will Sound, Alan Pierson, conductor, and Grammy Award-winner Susan Narucki, soprano. The concert is free and open to all; no tickets are required (first come, first seated).

Photo by Malcolm Crowthers

“Passage” is a series of intermedia performances centering on read stories, spatialization, images, performances, sound and video clips, and live performance; a gathering of elements and instances intended to nourish one another. The piece will be performed on this concert with the assistance of computer musician Paul Hembree, clarinetist Bill Kalinkos, and violist John Pickford Richards, and will be utilizing HYDRA, a sound diffusion system comprised of 40 loudspeakers placed throughout the concert hall, distributed both horizontally and vertically, in order to provide a wide range of sound planes and perspectives.

Written for soprano Susan Narucki and the acclaimed new music ensemble Alarm Will Sound, “Seasons: Cycle II” had its world premiere in July 2011 Mizzou Summer New Music Festival at the Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts. In an interview with the Columbia Daily Tribune, Reynolds said “The Seasons project is about two cycles of seasons that affect us all—the seasons of the year and the seasons of life.” Reynolds’ work pairs the earth’s seasons with infancy, youth, maturity, and age.

Reynolds has worked with Esa-Pekka Salonen, David Robertson, Seiji Ozawa, Gunther Schuller, and Leonard Slatkin, with the Ensemble InterContemporain, Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Ensemble Recherche, Alarm Will Sound, Court-Circuit, choreographers Lucinda Childs and Bill T. Jones, and particularly with Irvine Arditti's String Quartet. He has collaborated with John Ashbery (“Whispers Out of Time,” a string orchestra work arising out of an Ashbery poem, garnered him the 1989 Pulitzer Prize.) as well as inventor-philosopher Buckminster Fuller. His extensive orchestral catalog includes commissions from the Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and BBC Orchestras. Reynolds' writing, beginning with the influential book, Mind Models (1975), has appeared widely in Asian, American and European journals, while his music, recorded on Auvidis / Montaigne, Mode, New World, and Neuma, among others, is published exclusively by C.F. Peters. In 1998, The Library of Congress established the Roger Reynolds Special Collection.






Cultural Historian Horowitz Delivers Elson Lecture on “Rethinking Orchestras”
“Joseph Horowitz is a force in classical music today, a prophet and an agitator”

The New York Times (2005)

On Tuesday October 9, 2012 at 5:15 pm in John Knowles Paine Concert Hall renowned scholar and author Joseph Horowitz will give the 2012 Louis C. Elson lecture. Horowitz, a cultural historian and concert producer, will present “Rethinking What Orchestras Do: A Humanities Mandate”; the talk is free and open to the public. John Knowles Paine Concert Hall is located directly behind the Science Center on the Harvard University campus. Seating is first-come, first-seated.

Horowitz is one of the most prominent and widely published writers on topics in American music. As an orchestral administrator and advisor, he has been a pioneering force in the development of thematic programming and new concert formats. His nine books—including Classical Music in America: A History, named one of the best books of 2005 by The Economist—offer a detailed history and analysis of American symphonic culture, its achievements, challenges, and prospects for the future.

Mr. Horowitz regularly contributes to the New York Times Arts & Leisure Section and to the Times Literary Supplement (UK). He has contributed, as well, to The New York Review of Books, The American Scholar, The Journal of the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era, American Music, The Musical Quarterly, 19th Century Music, Opera News, The New Grove Dictionary of Music, and The New Grove Dictionary of Opera. He is the author of the article on “classical music” for The Oxford Encyclopedia of American History.

Mr. Horowitz also serves as an artistic consultant for orchestras throughout the United States. For the New York Philharmonic, he inaugurated the multi-media "Inside the Music" series in 2008, writing, hosting, and producing a program on Tchaikovsky's Pathetique Symphony; he returned to the Philharmonic for similar treatments Dvorak's New World Symphony and Brahms' First Serenade. He currently produces concerts and festivals across the country including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Morgan Library (NYC), Stanford "Lively Arts," Georgetown University, the University of Chicago, UC-Davis, and the Strathmore Performing Arts Center. All told, Mr. Horowitz has conceived more than four dozen thematic inter-disciplinary music festivals for a variety of orchestras and performing arts institutions.

Horowitz’s blog unansweredquestion, can be found here:

To hear a recent interview with Mr. Horowitz on WGBH:





Gamelan: All Invited

Weekly open rehearsals begin in January 2013!

The group is directed by Artist-in-Residence Jody Diamond. Rehearsals will continue weekly throughout the term, and workshops can also be arranged for specific classes or curricula in a wide variety of areas. No previous musical experience is required; musicians and composers are particularly welcome.

Photos of the instruments are at
RSVP or send questions to






Harvard University Department of Music

Mugmon selected for worldwide online panel on Bernstein

GSAS student Matthew Mugman will be one of seven panelists convened by the New York Philharmonic for a worldwide, online discussion that brings scholars together using Google Hangout. The March 22nd event features Mugmon, along with professors from NYU, Columbia, Ochanomizu University (Tokyo) and Ludwig-Maximilians-University (Munich), taking questions from an international audience on Leonard Bernstein’s groundbreaking tours to the former Soviet Union, Japan, Europe, and South America. Mugmon was selected for the panel because his dissertation in musicology centers on the reception of Gustav Mahler’s music in the United States before 1960, with a specific focus on the relationship between Mahler's music and key figures in American modernism, including Bernstein.

The online discussion, which airs at 10:30 am in New York and Boston will stream live at

Click HERE to find more information about the Philharmonic's Archives, the panelists, and information about how to participate.





Harvard University Department of Music

Celebrating Paine!

The Harvard University Department of Music celebrates the renovation and reopening of Paine Hall, classrooms, and sate-of-the-art practice rooms with a concert featuring the composition of its founder, John Knowles Paine.

Feburary 24, 2012 at 5:00 pm in John Knowles Paine Concert Hall
Pre-concert mini-talks by Dr. Evan MacCarthy and Professor Anne Shreffler on the music and legacy of Paine

January, 2012: Renovation of the music building this past year has resulted in new, state-of-the-art practice rooms, upgraded classrooms, and modernized heating and cooling of John Knowles Paine Concert Hall.

In celebration, the Music Department is hosting a performance of a recently-premiered work by its founder and Portland, Maine native, John Knowles Paine. The manuscript score of Paine's String Quartet in D Major, Op. 5 (1855), was made available to the Portland String Quartet by Houghton Library, and was premiered by the quartet in 2011. Also on the program is Quartet No.1 by Harvard composer and former Music Department chair, Walter Piston.

"We are convinced that this work should become recognized as an important part of America's music history,"writes Julia Adams, violist of the Portland String Quartet. "For complex part writing, beautiful melodic content and a mastery of classical forms, this work demonstrates why a young lad of 16 from Portland, Maine, was to become through his dedicated career at Harvard 'the dean of American music."'

Paine Hall was the subject of a recent booklet by the late Professor Reinhold Brinkmann [read or download the booklet here], and was named for Harvard's first music professor, who chaired the new department from1871 when music was established as an academic study through his death in 1906. The concert hall has a long and storied history, but has never seen the performance of a work by its namesake until now.

The public is invited to the concert and to a reception immediately afterwards in the Taft Lounge.

About the Portland String Quartet
Coming together from musical training at Curtis, Eastman, Indiana, Juilliard and Oberlin, the Portland String Quartet has played an important role in the artistic renaissance of the City of Portland and the State of Maine, championing Maine and American composers both nationally and internationally. Their recordings span the repertoire from Bach to living composers. Of particular note are the complete string quartets and piano quintets of George Whitefield Chadwick, Ernest Bloch and Walter Piston for which they have received “Best Recording of the Year” commendations from The Boston Globe, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.

Concert tours throughout Europe, Latin America and Japan, in addition to music river cruises to Europe’s major cultural destinations are international highlights of their career. Annual String Quartet Workshops for professionally aspiring young students and adult amateur players attract students from all over Maine and New England and as far away as Russia, Japan, Israel, and many countries in Latin America. Since l976 the Portland String Quartet has worked extensively with two generations of musicians from Venezuela’s internationally renowned Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra.

About John Knowles Paine
Besides receiving a solid training in music theory and musicianship in his native Portland, Maine, Paine had become a formidable organ virtuoso. His performances of the works of Johann Sebastian Bach were held in especially high regard; more and more, the professional critics recognized Paine’s extraordinary musicianship. In 1861, immediately after his return from the obligatory studies in Europe (in the mid-nineteenth century still primarily in Germany) Paine accepted the prestigious position as the organist at Boston’s Old West Church; the job included teaching organ, piano, and music theory (composition). Harvard reacted promptly and offered Paine the position of “teacher of sacred music.” Once he was associated with Harvard as an instructor in 1862, Paine’s goal was to establish the study of music as a full-fledged University department. This did not happen without opposition among the faculty, the loudest from Professor Francis Parkman, a well-known historian who, in meetings of the Corporation, used to proclaim: “musica delenda est” (music must be destroyed).

Against all adverse circumstances, Paine succeeded, establishing a music curriculum, courses for credit, and advocating for the position of music within the University, as well as a constant need for space. John Knowles Paine was not able to experience the fulfilment of his professional dreams: the Music Building, which would have been the capstone of his work at and for Harvard, was finally realized in 1914, eight years after his death in 1906. Paine had discussed the project with the inner circle of the Department so intensely and in such detail that it is safe to say the 1914 building in fact still realized his ideas.



Harvard University Department of Music

Transmission/Transformation: Sounding China in Enlightenment Europe

All eyes are turned towards China, as it continuously grows in global importance. This phenomenon may have a contemporary ring to it, but the eighteenth century was equally enthralled by the Middle Kingdom. Everything about the distant empire was fascinating to the western world, including its music. Fanny Peabody Professor of Music Alexander Rehding, in conjunction with graduate students Peter McMurray and Meredith Schweig and the students in Music 220, “History of Music Theory,” have developed a library exhibit that retraces the voyage of this music from Qing-dynasty China to the urban salons, drawing rooms, and coffee houses of Enlightenment Europe. The exhibit, Transmission/Transformation: Sounding China in Enlightenment Europe, opens in the Loeb Music Library February 1, 2012.

Much of the knowledge the eighteenth century had about Chinese culture was owed to Jesuit missionaries in the Far East, who wrote extensively about their encounter with this foreign world, and whose reports were eagerly studied by European Enlightenment philosophers and music scholars mesmerized by anything Chinese. To some, China represented an opportunity for critical reflection on Western society, and to others China represented a radically different societal order. Scholars incorporated missionary accounts—often in highly imaginative variants—into their own published works on musical evolution and knowledge, while Enlightenment composers began transcribing melodies and harmonizing them to make them “more palatable” to the European ear. The eighteenth-century public’s curiosity about China ensured that many bourgeois homes would own such musical arrangements. The operatic stage, too, eagerly took up the idea of China as a colorful backdrop for exotic extravaganzas.

“The whole idea for the course grew out of a score [Acting Loeb Librarian] Sarah Adams showed me a couple of years ago,” says Rehding. “It was a English arrangement from 1796 of a song transcribed in China. It became clear to me that this apparently insignificant piece of music encapsulated the whole story of the transmission of Chinese music into Europe: from the— faulty— transcription of a popular Chinese tune to its setting in a manner that could be easily sung in a bourgeois parlor. In many ways, these simple arrangements were the precursor of the radio and the CD player: they provided simple musical entertainment at home, but in this case with an additional educational and exotic flavor.”

The class gathered material for the exhibition throughout the fall semester. In addition to the usual seminar settings, they visited many of the ongoing exhibitions at Harvard and spoke to numerous curators and experts.

“This course covers such a vast terrain,” says Rehding, “that it is quite impossible to be expert in all areas. We have made great use of Harvard’s extraordinary resources and its amazing library and museum staff.”

Schweig adds, “We’ve reached out to musicians, scholars and instrument makers from Taipei and Shanghai as well, which has helped make this a very transnational experience.”

To enhance the visual experience of the exhibit the class worked on digital augmentation—audio files of music, documentation, film files—for some of the pieces.

“The trouble with musical exhibitions,” says Schweig, “is that you really want to hear the music. In an exhibition setting this is not an easy task to accomplish. So we had to think about alternatives.”

“The Loeb library was eager to help,” adds McMurray. “They bought a number of ipads that visitors will be able to use to access the digital augmentation.”
McMurray and Schweig, two advanced graduate students in ethnomusicology, have been instrumental in developing this innovative course as part of the expanded PITF (Presidential Information Technology Fellowship) program, that now also includes Museum (MITF) and Library (LITF) variants—precisely the kinds of expertise needed for this project. In the course of planning the class and the exhibition that is its final product, the digital component of the exhibition took on an increasingly weighty part. Schweig has a background in Asian Studies and museology, and McMurray is an old hand in digital media.

“These two are the perfect collaborators,” enthuses Rehding. “I would not have been able to launch this ambitious project without them.”

Everybody involved agrees that the project has been a huge learning experience. “One thought that is always at the back of my mind,” says Rehding, “is how relevant some of these ideas are. Sure, the details have changed—sometimes drastically so—but China still occupies the central place in western imagination that it’s held since the Enlightenment.”

Exhibit open through April 30, 2012. Supported by the Provostial Fund for the Arts and Humanities, the Department of Music, and the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Harvard University.






Harvard University Department of Music

First Nights Premieres Aucoin's Piece

Aucoin conducting Dudley Opera. Harvard Gazette photo by Jon Chase.

It was Matt Aucoin’s day even though it wasn’t planned that way. The 2011 First Nights premiere was commissioned from Michael Einziger, composer and lead guitarist of the platinum-selling band Incubus. But Einziger was hospitalized during an Incubus European tour and couldn’t get back to Harvard. The premiere performance date was around the corner, and Professor Kelly suddenly found himself with nothing to premiere. Aucoin, already booked to conduct the Einziger piece, stepped in. He had some sketches for an extended string quartet, he told Kelly, and he thought that if he stayed up all night, he could finish it. He did.

“This is the most authentic First Nights experience we’ve ever had,” Professor Kelly announced to the class. “The tasks of composing, preparing parts, recruiting personnel, conducting rehearsals, and producing a first performance—and working against a deadline—are challenges that we know from other composers’ experiences in First Nights. Now we have the privilege of watching some of our contemporaries trying to accomplish the same thing. It will be a near thing, but I think it will work.”

Aucoin’s 11th-hour commission is also a happy piece of serendipity: when Matt was ten he’d skip elementary school to come to Sanders to listen to Kelly’s First Nights class. The first classical concert he ever heard was at Sanders as well—Beethoven’s Ninth.

A First Reading

At the rehearsal staged two days before the premiere, Kelly’s First Nights students packed Sanders Theatre to hear a cold reading of the Aucoin piece.

“This is the first time anyone’s going to hear this, including me,” Aucoin told the audience. Then, turning to the group of a dozen of Harvard’s student string players: “Let’s tune.”

Aucoin, conducting with a pen (he’d forgotten his baton) led the musicians through a rehearsal: “Keep the crescendo absolutely steady. Try not to back off. These notes trail off like efforts that have failed.”

The themes in Aucoin’s new work, he told the crowd, came from an opera he’s writing based on the story of Hart Crane, an openly gay poet who lived in New York in the 1920s, and died young. “Some themes have a sadness to them,” explains Aucoin. “There’s a striving, then toppling off before a successful peak.”

Music for Mike

On the morning of the premiere, Professor Kelly introduces the piece; it’s now titled “Music for Mike.” The players have had a rehearsal or two, and the audience has swelled. Aucoin strides out from the wings, lifts his baton, and the ensemble of 13 plays a strikingly beautiful, seemingly flawless twelve minutes of music. After the last note, the audience cheers.

As Aucoin slips off the stage, Kelly addresses his First Nights 2011 class for the final time.

“I am always amazed by my First Nights students,” he confides. “I know that many of you out there are not going to become musicians. You may become doctors, or go get an MBA, or try to become president. I am always impressed that you would use your valuable time to take a course on music, to answer the question, ‘Would my life be better with art in it?’

“We are all here today to celebrate live performance. Here’s something that didn’t exist a few days ago. It began, it was practiced, and it happened. If you weren’t here you didn’t hear it. It belongs to us. We audience members can take some credit for bringing a new piece of art into the world. That is a good thing.”




Harvard University Department of Music

Composer Alvin Curran Gives 2012 Elson Lecture
Tuesday February 28 at 5:15 pm
John Knowles Paine Concert Hall, Music Building, Harvard campus, Free

"The New Common Practice, or, A Life in Unpopular Music" 

Democratic, irreverent and traditionally experimental, Curran makes music for every occasion with any sounding phenomena -- a volatile mix of lyricism and chaos, structure and indeterminacy, fog horns, fiddles, and fiddle heads. He is dedicated to the restoration of dignity to the profession of making non-commercial music.

Early in his career, composer Alvin Curran co-founded the radical music collective MUSICA ELETTRONICA VIVA, and composed for Rome's avant garde theater scene. In the 70's, he created a poetic series of solo works for synthesizer, voice, taped sounds and found objects. Seeking to develop new musical spaces—and considered one of the leading figures in making music outside of the concert halls—he developed a series of concerts for lakes, ports, parks, buildings, quarries and caves. In the 1980's, Curran extended the ideas of musical geography by creating simultaneous radio concerts for three, then six, large ensembles performing together from many European capitals. He has also created a body of solo performance works and a series of sound installations, some of them in collaboration with visual artists including Paul Klerr, Melissa Gould, Kristin Jones, Pietro Fortuna, Umberto Bignardi, and Uli Sigg. Curran's more than 150 works feature taped/sampled natural sounds, piano, synthesizers, computers, violin, percussion, shofar, ship horns, accordion and chorus.

Curran will bring his thoughts and experiences to Harvard as the Louis C. Elson Lecturer, and will talk about his uncommon music and life on Tuesday, February 28th at 5:15 pm in John Knowles Paine Concert Hall on the Harvard University campus (Harvard Square Red Line T stop). Paine Hall is wheelchair accessible, and the lecture is free, no tickets required.

Alvin Curran is a recipient of the Bearns Prize, BMI award 1963, National Endowment for the Arts (twice), DAAD (Berlin residencies 1963-4 and 1986-7), WDR Ars Acustica International 1988 ("For Julian"), Prix Italia 1985 (Gian Franco Zaffrani Prize, for "1985 - A Piece for Peace"), the city of Pisa Premio Novecento, Fromm Foundation (Harvard University), Hass Family Award (San Francisco), Meet the Composer (assistance to many concerts), Leonardo Award for Excellence 1995, interviewed by the Yale Oral History American Music project (category: "Major Figures in American Music"), Guggenheim Foundation 2004, Ars Electronica 2004, Phonurgia Nova 2005 ("I Dreamt John Cage Yodeling in the Zurich Hauptbahnhof"); Experimental Music Studio (Freiburg residencies 2006, 2007), Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Gutenberg Fellowship (Mainz 2010-11).



Harvard University Department of Music



Professor Thomas Forrest Kelly Elected 2011 American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellow

CLICK HERE TO READ American Academy Press Release

Some of the world’s most accomplished leaders from academia, business, public affairs, the humanities, and the arts have been elected members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The list this spring includes Morton B. Knafel Professor of Music Thomas F. Kelly, who joins one of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies and a leading center for independent policy research. Members contribute to Academy studies of science and technology policy, global security, social policy and American institutions, the humanities, and education.

Among the 2011 class of scholars, scientists, writers, artists, civic, corporate, and philanthropic leaders are winners of the Nobel, Pulitzer, and Pritzker Prizes; the Turing Award; MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships; and Kennedy Center Honors, Grammy, Golden Globe, and Academy awards. Kelly will be welcomed to the Academy in a ceremony later this year.

Scientists among the newly elected Fellows include: astronomer Paul Butler, discoverer of over 330 planets and cancer researcher Clara Bloomfield, who proved that adult acute leukemia can be cured; Anthony Bryk, President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; Roberta Ramo, the first woman to serve as president of the American Bar Association; and jazz icon Dave Brubeck; singer/songwriters Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon, and Bob Dylan; documentary filmmaker Ken Burns; actor Daniel Day-Lewis; ethnographic historian James Clifford; playwright John Guare; conceptual artist Jenny Holzer; Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro; and actor Sam Waterston.






Harvard University Department of Music

For Immediate Release May 10, 2010
For More Information
Jack Megan, Thomas Lee,; 617.495.8676

Andrew Clark named Director of Choral Activities for Holden Choirs at Harvard University

Cambridge, MA)—The Office for the Arts at Harvard (OFA) and Harvard University Music Department are pleased to announce the appointment of Andrew Clark as Director of Choral Activities at Harvard, and Senior Lecturer in the Music Department. Clark succeeds Dr. Jameson Marvin who is retiring from the post after thirty-two years of extraordinary service.

Andrew Clark comes to Harvard from Tufts University, where he has served as Director of Choral Activities since 2003. Under his leadership, the Tufts choirs have quadrupled in membership, and have undertaken international tours, new music festivals, and regular collaborations with other university choirs and ensembles. Clark teaches conducting, music theory, and orchestration in the Tufts Music Department.

Clark is also Artistic Director of The Providence Singers, an award-winning choral organization of 120 singers and five staff members. With Clark, the Providence Singers has earned critical praise for artistically rewarding and innovative concerts, distinctive community engagement programs, and dynamic organizational partnerships. Clark conducted the Providence Singers and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project in two acclaimed commercial recordings: Lukas Foss’s cantata The Prairie, and Jonah and the Whale by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Dominick Argento.
The Providence Singers was selected from a national pool to produce one of seven National Endowment for the Arts “American Masterpieces Choral Festivals” in 2007. The Providence Singers has also collaborated with the Kronos Quartet, the Dave Brubeck Quartet, the Rhode Island Philharmonic, New Haven Symphony, Newport Baroque Orchestra, and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project.

In addition to these appointments, Clark has served as Music Director of The Worcester Chorus, Chorus Master and Assistant Conductor of Opera Boston, Associate Conductor of the Boston Pops Esplanade Chorus, Director of Choral Activities at Clark University, Assistant Conductor of the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh (the chorus of the Pittsburgh Symphony), and Assistant Conductor of the Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum.
Clark has led ensembles in prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris, Stephansdom in Vienna, Boston’s Symphony Hall, Mechanics Hall, and throughout Europe and North America. He is a member of the national music honor society Pi Kappa Lambda and has been recognized by Chorus America as one of our country’s most promising conductors. He holds his Masters in Choral Conducting from Carnegie Mellon University, studying with Grammy-award winning conductor Robert Page, and is completing doctoral coursework at Boston University with Professor Ann Howard Jones.

The Director of Choral Activities conducts the three principal choruses of the Holden Choirs. These are the Harvard Glee Club, the Radcliffe Choral Society, and the Harvard Radcliffe Collegium Musicum. The Harvard Glee Club (HGC) is the oldest college choir in the United States and the Radcliffe Choral Society (RCS) is the oldest women’s organization at Harvard. Together they served for more than 50 years as the principal choruses for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The Harvard Radcliffe Collegium Musicum (HRCM) was formed in 1971 with the advent of coeducation at Harvard and has become one of the elite collegiate mixed choirs in America.

Each of the Holden Choirs has an active concert schedule and tours frequently during the academic year and during University vacation. The Holden Program also includes the Harvard- Radcliffe Chorus, the Holden Voice Program, and the Choir-in-Progress. The Director is responsible for all music decisions, repertoire, and conductorial leadership, and works with his staff and with students to plan, schedule, and carry out the activities of each chorus. In addition, the Director of Choral Activities teaches two courses in the Music Department and holds the rank of Senior Lecturer.

Clark's appointment is effective with the start of the 2010-2011 academic year. He will inherit a program that is vibrant, ambitious and ready for new challenges. “I have been deeply honored and thrilled to make music with these extraordinary students over thirty-plus years,” former Director of Choral Activities Dr. Jameson Marvin has stated. “Andy Clark is a perfect fit for our choral singers and for galvanizing new and important directions for the Holden Choirs and Choral Program at Harvard. His breadth of knowledge, comprehensive musicianship, and charismatic leadership will inspire a whole new generation of students.”

The Office for the Arts at Harvard (OFA) supports student engagement in the arts and integrates the arts into University life. Through its programs and services, the OFA teaches and mentors, fosters student art making, connects students to accomplished artists, commissions new work, and partners with local, national, and international constituencies. By supporting the development of students as artists and cultural stewards, the OFA works to enrich society and shape communities in which the arts are a vital part of life. Information: 617.495.8676,,

The Music Department is an academic department of Harvard University, and offers both an undergraduate and a doctoral program focusing on historical musicology, ethnomusicology, music theory, and composition. Located in the Fanny Peabody Mason Music Building, the department houses classrooms, seminar rooms, music practice rooms, the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library, John Knowles Paine Concert Hall, the Harvard University Studio for Electroacoustic Composition (HUSEAC), an Ethnomusicology Laboratory, Early Instrument Room, and offices. The Department sponsors numerous concerts, colloquia, lectures, and special music events each month, which are free to students and the public. Information:;; 617.495.2791.




CONTACT:  Thomas Lee, Office for the Arts at Harvar Lesley Bannatyne, Harvard University Music Department, 617.495.2791,  

Harvard University Department of Music

Federico Cortese Appointed Conductor of HRO  

Leader of Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra and N.E. String Ensemble—and former assistant conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra—to assume new post July 1, 2009
, 2010

  (Cambridge, MA)—The Office for the Arts at Harvard and Harvard University’s Music Department announced today that Federico Cortese has been appointed Conductor of the Harvard Radcliffe-Orchestra (HRO).  Cortese assumes the post on July 1 following the 45-year tenure of Dr. James Yannatos, who retired at the end of the 2008-09 academic term.  Cortese has a joint appointment in the Office for the Arts and Music Department, serving the latter as a Senior Lecturer on Music.

  “We are thrilled with the appointment of Federico Cortese as the new conductor of the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra,” said Jack Megan, Director of the Office for the Arts.  “He is a highly intelligent, musically gifted and passionate conductor and teacher who will build beautifully on Dr. Yannatos’ rich legacy with the HRO.  I look forward to an exciting new era for the orchestra with Federico's energetic and committed leadership.”

  "Frederico Cortese is not only a first-class conductor and musician,” noted Anne C. Shreffler, James Edward Ditson Professor of Music and Chair of the Music Department, “but he is also passionately devoted to teaching and guiding young people in their musical development and we are delighted to welcome him as a colleague in the Music Department.”  Added Robert D. Levin, Dwight P. Robinson, Jr., Professor of Music, “The HRO is most fortunate to have Federico Cortese as its new Music Director.  Passionate, articulate, and committed to the orchestra’s mission, Mr. Cortese will assure that the shining legacy of Dr. James Yannatos will be carried forward with vision and distinction.”

  Federico Cortese has served as Music Director of the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras since 1999 and in the same capacity for the New England String Ensemble since 2005.  He has conducted operatic and symphonic engagements throughout the United States, Australia, Asia and Europe.  From 1998-2002, he served as Assistant Conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Seiji Ozawa.  Cortese’s tenure with the BSO as Assistant Conductor was the longest of anyone who has served in that capacity; in addition to his annual scheduled concerts he led the orchestra several times on short notice in Symphony Hall and at Tanglewood, most notably performing Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 and Puccini's Madama Butterfly.  Cortese has conducted several prominent symphony orchestras, including Atlanta, Dallas, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony and Oslo Philharmonic.  Opera engagements have included, among others, Maggio Musicale in Florence, the Spoleto Festival in Italy and, in the United States, the Boston Lyric Opera, the St. Louis Opera, the Finnish National Opera and the Washington Opera.

  Cortese has been music coordinator and associate conductor of the Spoleto Festival in Italy.  He also served as Assistant Conductor to Robert Spano at the Brooklyn Philharmonic and to Daniele Gatti at the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome.  Cortese studied composition and conducting at the Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia in Rome and subsequently studied at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna.  In addition, he has been a conducting fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center.  Cortese studied literature and humanities and holds a law degree from La Sapienza University in Rome.

  Recently completing its 201st season, the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra traces its roots back to 1808 with the formation of the Pierian Sodality, a Harvard College social/musical organization.  By the turn of the century the group began to refer to itself as the Harvard University Orchestra and grew into a more serious musical organization that eventually became the largest college orchestra in America.  After building a national reputation via tours throughout the country, the group joined forces with the Radcliffe Orchestra, and eventually became the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra in 1942.The HRO continued to improve in quality and reputation as it took tours to Mexico (1962), Washington, D.C. (1966), and Canada (1972).  In 1978, the HRO placed third in the Fifth Annual International Festival of Student Orchestras.  The 80s and 90s saw tours of the former Soviet Union (1984), Asia (1985 and 1988), Europe (1992), and Italy (1996).  Since the turn of the last century, HRO has toured Brazil (2000) and Canada (2004).  Currently the orchestra performs four full concerts annually in Harvard’s historic Sanders Theatre.  For more information, call 617.496.6276, email, or visit



Harvard University Department of Music

Professor Kelly,his wife Peggy Badenhausen, and Consul General Christophe Guilhou at the ceremony October 27.

October 27, 2010
Thomas F. Kelly Decorated as Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters

Morton B. Knafel Professor of Music THOMAS FORREST KELLY was decorated as “Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) of the French Republic during a reception at the Boston residence of the Consul Général of France in a ceremony on October 27, 2010. The rank of Chevalier is the highest awarded.

The Ordre des Arts et des Lettres is a recognition of significant contribution to arts and literature. Established by Charles de Gaulle in 1957, the Order recognizes eminent artists and writers, and people who have significantly contributed to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world. Before the creation of this Order, artists and writers could be officially recognized only through the Legion of Honor (and that in very restricted numbers), or the Order of Academic Palms, if they were connected with the field of education.

Recipients are nominated by France’s Minister of Culture. Previous awardees include David Bowie, Uma Thurman, and Joachim Pissarro, as well as French men and women of letters. Recent American recipients of this award include Paul Auster, Ornette Coleman, Marilyn Horne, Richard Meier, Robert Paxton, Robert Redford, and Meryl Streep.

Katherine Lee, Kiri Miller, and Kay Kaufman Shelemay at SEM. Photo by Meredith Schweig. 2010

Harvard University Department of Music

2010 SEM conference
Three Win Prizes at National Society for Ethnomusicology Conference

Three Harvard music department-associated scholars--Professor Kay Kaufman Shelemay, graduate student Katherine Lee, and ' 05 PhD and current Radcliffe Fellow Kiri Miller--received prizes for their work at the recent Society for Ethnomusicology conference in Los Angeles.

G. Gordon Watts Professor Kay Kaufman Shelemay was awarded the 2010 Jaap Kunst Prize for the most significant article published in the field of ethnomusicology, for her piece, "The Power of Silent Voices: Women in the Syrian Jewish Musical Tradition."

Katherine Lee (G- 6) won both the 2010 Charles Seeger Prize for Best Student Paper of the year and the 2010 Martin Hatch Award of the Society for Asian Music for her "P'ungmul, Politics, and Protest: Drumming During South Korea's Democratization Movement."

Kiri Miller (PhD '05; Bunting Fellow, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, 2010-11 American Council of Learned Societies Fellow, 2010-11 and Manning Assistant Professor of Music, Brown University) was awarded two prizes at the conference: the Richard Waterman Junior Scholar Prize (awarded by SEM's Popular Music Section for "the best article by a junior scholar in the ethnomusicological study of popular music") and honorable mention for the Jaap Kunst Prize (for "the most significant article in ethnomusicology written by a member of the Society for Ethnomusicology") for her piece, "Schizophonic Performance: Guitar Hero, Rock Band, and Virtual Virtuosity," published in Journal of the Society for American Music (2009).



Harvard University Department of Music

Fromm Players at Harvard present Jour, contre-jour,
March 30-31, 2012 at Paine Hall

Friday March 30 program: Charles Wuorinen Epithalamium; Gerard Grisey Jour,
; Jonathan Harvey Bhakti

Saturday, March 31 program:
Kaija Saariaho Io; Alvin Lucier In Memoriam Jon Higgins (Michael Norsworthy, clarinet); Roger Reynolds Personae (Gabriela Diaz, violin); Charles Wuorinen Epithalamium

Both Fromm Players at Harvard concerts are free (no tickets are required). There is free parking available for these events at the Broadway Garage (Felton Street, opposite Broadway Market).

Mr. Rose and his team filled the music with rich, decisive ensemble colors and magnificent solos.
These musicians were rapturous—superb instrumentalists at work and play. New York Times


The 2012 Fromm Players at Harvard concerts, curated by Harvard composition professor Hans Tutschku, are built around large-scale ensemble works with electronics that have rarely been performed in the United States.

Grisey’s Jour, contre-jour is an exploration of cyclical time that depicts changes of light during 24 hours in the desert. Saariaho's Io also explores time by layering and constantly changing pulsation patterns. Bhakti by Jonathan Harvey brings new appreciation of color and tuning in large-scale musical phrases, and Reynolds Personae is a highly virtuosic violin concerto with surprising constellations between the violin, ensemble, and prerecorded sounds. The musical language of Lucier’s In memoriam Jon Higgins focuses on details between two protagonists that lead the audience into different listening modes. Finally, Wuorinen’s duo for two trumpets, Epithalamium, acts as a fanfare that both begins and ends the two-concert series. (Epithalamium will be performed on both Friday’s and Saturday’s program).

The two-concert series will be performed by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), widely recognized as the leading orchestra in the United States dedicated exclusively to performing new music. Founded by Gil Rose in 1996, BMOP has established a track record that includes more than 80 performances, over 70 world premieres (including 30 commissioned works), two Opera Unlimited festivals with Opera Boston, the inaugural Ditson Festival of Contemporary Music with the ICA/Boston, and 32 commercial recordings, including 12 CDs from BMOP/sound. A perennial winner of the ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming of Orchestral Music and 2006 winner of the John S. Edwards Award for Strongest Commitment to New American Music, BMOP has appeared at the Bank of America Celebrity Series (Boston, MA), Tanglewood, the Boston Cyberarts Festival, the Festival of New American Music (Sacramento, CA), and Music on the Edge (Pittsburgh, PA). In April 2008, BMOP headlined the 10th Annual MATA Festival in New York.

Both Fromm Players at Harvard concerts are free (no tickets are required). There is free parking available for these events at the Broadway Garage (Felton Street, opposite Broadway Market).

John Knowles Paine Concert Hall is located on the Harvard University campus, directly behind the Science Center (mapquest 1 Oxford Street). The Hall is wheelchair accessible, and is a short walk from the Harvard Square Red Line T stop.

For additional information write



Harvard University Department of Music

Harvard Music Department Awards Fellowships, Grants to Graduate, Undergraduate Students

May 30, 2012

The Music Department congratulates the following students on their fellowships and awards:

Graduate Student Awards                                                      
The Department’s Oscar S. Schafer Prize is given to students “who have demonstrated unusual ability and enthusiasm in their teaching of introductory courses, which are designed to lead students to a growing and life-long love of music.” This year’s recipients are Elizabeth Craft, Hannah Lewis, and Lucille Mok.

Richard F. French Prize Fellowships were awarded to the following students in support of their scholarly work:

Andrea Bohlman to support dissertation writing.
William Cheng to support dissertation writing.
Elizabeth Craft to support research in New York City and Washington DC, and attendance at the Song, Stage, and
     Screen Festival in Groningen, the Netherlands.
Louis Epstein to support dissertation writing.
Joseph Fort to support archival research in the Parisian libraries.
Andrew Friedman to support dissertation writing.
Sarah Hankins to conduct fieldwork in Charleston, South Carolina and New Orleans.
Monica Hershberger for research at the University of Arkansas Special Collections
     Library and at Yale University.
Rujing Huang for fieldwork in Taiwan on Taiwanese aboriginal musics.
Olivia Lucas to support fieldwork in Finnvox Studios, Helsinki, Finland.
Rowland Moseley to support dissertation writing.
Matthew Mugmon to support dissertation writing and research in New York City and
     Washington, D.C..
Sarah Politz to conduct research and language study in Cuba.
Stefan Prins to attend a rehearsal and premiere of his composition, and to attend the
     summer course in new music in Darmstadt.
Frederick Reece for language study in Vienna and to conduct research at the Ernst
     Krenek Institut.
Meredith Schweig to support dissertation writing.
Anne Searcy to conduct archival research in Moscow, Russia.

John Knowles Paine Fellowships were awarded to the following students in support of their scholarly and artistic work:

Trevor Baca for travel to his composition premiere in Reus, Spain.
Edgar Barroso to conduct composition research at CMMAS, Mexico, and for language study in Zurich.
Ann Cleare, Sivan Cohen-Elias, Ashley Fure, Tim McCormack and Sabrina Schroeder to attend the summer course for new music      in Darmstadt.
Ashley Fure to travel to Lyon, France and Stockholm, Sweden for composition workshops and to attend rehearsals.
Marta Gentilucci for researching collaborations and for composition work in Paris.
Justin Hoke for language study at the Goethe Institute.
Josiah Oberholtzer to travel in North America and make sound recordings.
Ian Power to attend Poto, an interdisciplinary arts festival in Grass Valley, California.
Tim McCormack for attendance at the Tzlil Meudcan Festival and a summer course in Israel.
Micheael Uy for German language study at the Internationales Kulturinstitut.
Gabriele Vanoni to support composition research/collaborations in Helsinki and Paris.

Lucille Mok was awarded the The Harry and Marjorie Ann Slim Memorial Fund to support archival research in Montreal and Ottawa, Canada.

Ferdinand Gordon & Elizabeth Hunter Morrill Graduate Fellowships

James Blasina received a Morrill fellowship to travel to France, Italy, England and Germany to conduct research and to attend the      Medieval-Renaissance conference. Blasina also received a Richard F. French fellowship for this work.
Thomas Lin received a Morrill Fellowship to conduct archival research at UCLA, and for dissertation writing.

Nino and Lea Pirotta Graduate Research Fund

Anne Searcy received a Pirotta Fund award to conduct archival research in Moscow.
Matthew Henseler received a Pirotta Fund award to conduct research at several East Coast libraries and archives.
Hannah Lewis received a Pirotta Fund award to conduct archival research at the Library of Congress and USC Warner Brothers       Archives, Los Angeles.

University Composition Prizes

The John Green Fellowship was established by friends and family of the late John Green ’28 in support of excellence in musical composition. It is made annually to an undergraduate or graduate student composer. This year’s prize went to Jorge Andrés Ballesteros ’13.

The George Arthur Knight Prize was awarded to Josiah Oberholtzer for mbrsi/aurora for string orchestra. The Hugh F. MacColl Prize went to Matthew Aucoin ’12 for Hart Crane. The Adelbert W. Sprague Prize was awarded to Sivan Cohen-Elias for for Sedek for Ventaphone and Large Ensemble. Ian Power was awarded The Bohemians Prize for I, II, III, VI for solo vibraphone. The Francis Boott Prize was awarded to Justin Hoke  for With What Weightless Eyes? The winner of this year’s Blodgett composition competition is Edgar Barroso for Engrama and Timothy McCormack for Containment.


Undergraduate awards:

Miriam Fogel received a Paine Fellowship to conduct research on Italian instrumental music organizations.
Mark Parker received a Paine Fellowship to conduct fieldwork on experimental music in Tokyo, Japan. 
Carl Pillot received a Paine Fellowship to conduct research on Afro-Cuban drumming and jazz in California, Ny and NJ.
Alexander Valente received a Paine Fellowship for travel to Germany and Austria.
Jesse Wong received a Paine Fellowship for travel to the U.K. to study opera and music communities.


Music Students Honored:

Many graduate students were additionally honored for their scholarship. Monica Herschberger  received a GSAS summer language fellowship, Sarah Politz a GSAS summer research fellowship and a Westengard Scholarship, and Anne Searcy a Davis Center Fellowship. Andrea Bohlman was awarded a two-year Mellon Postdoc at UPenn and Elizabeth Craft, Hannah Lewis, and Sarah Hankins received term-time fellowships. Luci mok was the recipient of a fellowship from the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.

Derek Bok Center Teaching Awards for the fall semester, 2011, went to the following music graduate students, lecturers, and associates: Trevor Baca, William Cheng, Rowland Moseley, Josiah Oberholtzer, Thomas Omar, Ian Power, Lauren Simpson, Bert Van Herck, Gabriele Vanoni, and Beth Willer.




c 2013 President and Fellows of Harvard College