HARVARD UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF

M U S I C cvN E W S L E T T E R

Vol. 2, No. 2/Summer 2002



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I N S I D E

Fineberg's Spectral Music
Library New: More Online Resources, Collections
Ying Collaborates with Students
Faculty News
Shelemay Chair of American Folklife Center
Brinkmann Elected to American Academy
Hogwood's Private Music
Department Appoints Three New Faculty
Bang On A Can All-Stars in Residence
Staff News
Alumnae News
Graduate News
Undergraduate News

Fineberg's Spectral Music

Joshua Fineberg joined the Composition faculty in 2000. He received a B.M. from Peabody Conservatory (major in composition with a minor in harpsichord--specializing in 17th-century French repertoire), and a D.M.A. in composition from Columbia University. He also spent seven years in France where he worked as a composer, conductor, pedagogue, and scientific collaborator at IRCAM as well as artistic director for recordings.


When Fineberg was five he'd play Boulez' Le Marteau Son Maitre to scare himself. He listened to his dad's Stockhausen because he loved the sounds. Ligeti too. It clearly wasn't the melody, or the form that mesmerized him at that stage. It was the sensory quality and drama of the sounds.

 

"What sparked that initial jolt of attraction to musical composition in me when I was little was not melody or structure, it was something about the sound of music--sound as opposed to what you're doing with the sound, like the crunchiness of a Bartók Quartet."

It was timbre.

"Some things are universal," says Fineberg, "like the ability to distinguish auditory sources, for example, the wind in the trees from a lion breaking a twig. It's a basic skill, and it doesn't depend on specialized learning beyond what happens to any normal infant. Timbre is like that. Without excellent timbral perception, we couldn't understand speech. It's been shown that timbral differences, like distinguishing a flute and an oboe playing the same pitch, are much easier for the untrained ear to hear than intervallic

differences, like that between a major and

minor third."

Put in visual terms, Fineberg likes to use sound like Seurat used light.

"Seurat found he could get more luminous colors through 'optical mixing of light on the retina'--using dots of component colors placed next to each other--much as some computer monitors and televisions work. This allows a greater range of colors before things simply get too dark and murky for much gradation to be perceptible. Spectral composers--Fineberg's compositional colleagues--went to frequency structures for a parallel reason. The cluster and pure consonance approach to harmony found, for example, in Ligeti's works from the 60's tend only to allow extremely tense or extremely harmonic sounds without leaving much room for anything in-between. By turning to a component reconstruction of frequency-based harmonic structures (think of it as a sort of orchestral synthesis) there's no limit to the amount of transitional territory you can find between any two sounds. In fact Gérard Grisey, one of the founders of the Spectral movement, liked to refer to it as 'Liminal Music' because it was originally created as a means of exploring those sounds that fall in-between."

For Fineberg, timbre is important not only structurally, but culturally. He studies acoustics, psychoacoustics and human perception to be able to shape music that can be heard by anyone regardless of whether they were brought up on Beethoven, pan pipes, or gamelan.

"I don't believe we'll have a coherent enough culture to insure that the audience will hear with the idealized ears you might like them to have. So when I think of composing a piece, how and what people can hear (though not necessarily what they want to hear) without any specialized training is centrally important to me."

In each piece he tries to find its own unique sound world.

In his 2001 Veils, for example: "Tibetan Buddhists regard the world as a veil, or a series of veils, obscuring 'reality' from view. This is similar to how I see the piano. It is not the notes (or not only the notes) which draw me to the piano; rather, for me, the real magic of the piano is its resonance. The shock that is delivered by the hammers, when notes are struck, produces a continuous vibration. Small impacts can color this vibration, pushing it in one direction or another. Large shocks, on the other hand, are capable of completely eradicating the previous color, or leaving only the faintest trace of what had been. Very delicate interventions can even shift the evolution of the resonance without being truly perceptible as independent events. All of this activity which is normally thought of as 'the music' can be seen as a sort of veil, hiding the real music whose heart is in the underlying resonance (color). The interaction between the punctuated surface and the continuous undercurrent make up the form and movement of the piece."

Fineberg will now turn his attention to a series of commissions--one for the Fromm Foundation (a trio for flute, clarinet and cello for the New Millennium Ensemble)--and a 70-minute ballet score based on Nabokov's novel, Lolita, choreographed by Christine Bastin for Compagnie da Folia in France.

A CD of his music will be released on August 26, 2002, produced by the Ensemble Court-Circuit and Musique Francaise d'aujourd'hui for Universal Music France's Una Corda/Accord collection. You will find it on cdnow.com, amazon.fr, or fnac.fr/


Library New: More Online Resources, Collections

The Library staff would, once again, like to thank our many friends for their kind and generous support over the years. What follows highlights a few new initiatives.

 

Collections

A list of new acquisitions of rare and unique material may be seen on our website at http://www-hcl.harvard.edu/loebmusic/isham-specialcollections-newacq.html. As usual, there is a strong grouping of first and early editions of works by W.A. Mozart. In addition, there are several Bach prints from the 19th century Bach revival, one of Maria Antonia Walpurgis' famous letters, a number of first editions of works by the 2nd Viennese School and by Stravinsky, and several scores of works by Alexander Tcherepnin, new to the Library. We have also acquired a collection of 32 videorecordings of Berber music, a collection of 96 compact discs documenting tango music in Argentina, the complete catalogs of major jazz labels including Storyville, Smithsonian, New World and Classics, a microfilm collection of the final 25 years of Melody Maker (1976-2000), Twentieth-Century Composers Manuscripts, Unit 1 (Tippett, Bliss and Finzi), Music Manuscripts from the Royal Academy of Music in London, Die Drucke der Bach Söhne der Hoboken Sammlung from the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, autograph music manuscripts from the Musikbibliothek der Stadt Leipzig, and the folk music periodicals Broadside (1962-1982), People's Songs, and New City Songster (1968-1984).

 

Online Access

The new HOLLIS online catalog, offering enhanced searching capabilities as well as opportunities for more user control of library transactions, premiered July 8, 2002.

Some of the new features allow users to:

• Limit a search to an individual library or a user-selected group of libraries.

• Limit a search to journals, reserves, or e-resources.

• View lists of languages, formats, and Harvard libraries to use when limiting searches.

• Return to previous searches and modify, combine, or review them.

• View a list of items checked out, renew books, request materials from the Harvard Depository, initiate recalls, and check for fines owed through individual accounts accessible by using University PINs.

• Receive library notices via e-mail.

 

Online Resources

Over the past few years, the Library has produced a number of online inventories, or finding aids, for its archival collections. The contents of these collections range from papers of Eubie Blake to musical scores of Joyce Mekeel. Our latest production includes audio and image files as well as a searchable inventory. The finding aid for the Laura Boulton Collection of Byzantine and Eastern Orthodox Chant lists the contents of the collection, provides online access to images of Boulton's field notes and offers selected audio files of her recordings from Greece, Bulgaria and the former Yugoslavia. You may see (and hear) these resources at http://oasis.harvard.edu/mus.html.

 

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Hogwood's Private Music

Christopher Hogwood, conductor, musician, scholar, recording artist, musicologist, author, and founder of The Academy of Ancient Music, presented the Louis C. Elson Lecture in Paine Hall, April 2002.

Hogwood addressed the artistic challenges of performing music originally intended for small chamber spaces in our large modern concert halls. He argued that the insistence on larger venues gives short shrift to the restorative and creative benefits of what he called "private music"--"music where you're not expecting a full house, or any public at all...but where you're indulging in music for its recreative, aesthetic, therapeutic, and philosophic effect on you."


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It's not the depth, not the width,

not the eloquence of the preacher

that pierces us, but the nearness.

--John Donne



 

Bang On A Can All-Stars In Residence

For a week in May, Robert Black, David Cossin, Lisa Moore, Mark Stewart, Wendy Sutter, and Evan Ziporyn convened in Paine Hall to put the finishing touches on new music written by Harvard graduate composers.

Collectively they constitute Bang On A Can All-Stars, a collaboration of some of the most innovative musicians from the festivals of Bang On A Can, a phenomenon that grew from a one-day event on New York's Lower East Side to a year-round organization with a national and international reputation.

The six Bang musicians involved in the Harvard concert performed pieces by Peter Gilbert (Burn), Michael Cuthbert (Vasarely Patterns), Christopher Honett (Three Deaths in a Cambridge Museum), Ken Ueno (…blood blossoms…) and Du Yun (Vicissitudes No. 1).

"There is simply no substitute for the communicative powers of top-level performers," comments composer Peter Gilbert. "I think it is quite important for composers to hear their works played at a high level, and the level of work throughout rehearsals was absolutely wonderful. Additionally, they were unique and

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rehearsals was absolutely wonderful. Additionally, they were unique and charismatic people and the time we spent together outside of rehearsals was very valuable. It was a tremendous experience."

"If the term 'musicians' musicians' has any currency, it applies to Bang," adds Myke Cuthbert. "Every one of them has extraordinary interests which they bring to the group--instrument building, improvising for movie sound tracks, composing.

"The main thing I'd say is how great it was to work with professionals who were so used to playing together, that when I heard something wrong I knew they heard it too and it was fixed the next time. They were extremely open to finding the style of the composer and working to bring that out--unusual for a group with such a strong 'sound' of their own."

 

 

 

 

 




Ying Musicians Collaborate in Chamber Music Concert

The Ying String Quartet completed their first year in the department as Blodgett Artists-in-Residence. In addition to their evening concerts in Paine Hall and a noontime series, the Yings worked with several students to present a concert at Leverett House last spring.

According to undergraduate cellist Kate Bennett, the experience was extraordinary: "I played Brahms B-flat Sextet with two other students (Sarah Darling '01 and Gabrielle Clark '02) and three of the Yings. It was one of the best musical experiences I've had here (which is saying a lot). The Yings play with incredible color and energy, and playing alongside them challenged me in a way which is completely different from the challenge of a class or a coaching."

 

 


Bennett explains further: "It's always risky when students and teachers try to play chamber music together. The chamber music setting requires equal collaboration, and the student-teacher relationship requires a different kind of collaboration--some of the most tense musical situations I've heard about come from this clash of expectations."

"The Yings were so gracious and playful that this issue never came up. They seemed to feel that they had something to offer us as musicians, but at the same time I got the sense that they wanted to be college kids along with us. Philip Ying (the violist) mentioned to us that the idea to give a house concert with students came from his own nostalgia for playing concerts in Adams House as an undergrad."

Says Phillip, "It's true. When I was an undergraduate here, my fellow musicians and I would often take a work we were studying and perform it in one of the house common rooms for all of our friends. The room would be packed, our friends would be literally sitting all around and almost on top of us, and we would be playing purely out of love for chamber music. In a similar way, we hope to become an integral part of the musical community, both in how we contribute and in how we ourselves benefit from the broad range of resources and inspiration that continues to characterize this environment."

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Harvard Appoints Three to Music Department Faculty

 

 The Department is extremely pleased to introduce three new faculty members.

Assistant Professor of Music Sean Gallagher holds two degrees in piano from the Peabody Conservatory and received a Ph.D. in musicology from Harvard (1998) with a dissertation on fifteenth-century motets. His research focuses on late medieval and renaissance music and culture; other research interests include aesthetics, liturgical history, and nineteenth-century chamber music (an area in which he is also active as a performer). He taught for five years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before joining the Harvard faculty in 2002.

Elliott Gyger, Assistant Professor of Music, just completed the Ph.D. in composition at Harvard; he also holds a B.Mus. degree from the University of Sydney (1990) in Australia, where his music has been played by many major performing groups. In recent years he has written works for the Emerson Quartet, the Wellesley Composers Conference, the Hilliard Ensemble and the New York New Music Ensemble. In addition to his work as a composer, Gyger is active as a conductor, choral singer and writer on music.

Christopher Hasty, Professor of Music, is a theorist specializing in music of the 20th century, and is an expert on rhythm and meter. Hasty received the Samuel F. B. Morse Fellowship in 1985 and a Paul Mellon Fellowship in 1988. Hasty's publications treat problems in the theory and analysis of post-tonal music, particularly in relation to problems of temporality, and his book, Meter as Rhythm, won the Wallace Berry Award from the Society for Music Theory as the outstanding theory study of 1998. Among works now in progress is a book on problems of musical form conceived as process. Hasty was editor of the Journal of Music Theory (1987-90), and served on the editorial board of Music Theory Spectrum (1982-87).

All three professors will begin teaching this fall.


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Faculty News

 

Brinkmann Honored
James Edward Ditson Professor Reinhold Brinkmann was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, in honor of his achievements in music. The Academy was founded in 1780 by John Adams, James Bowdoin and John Hancock to "cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honor, dignity, and happiness of a free, independent, and virtuous people."

For the academic year 2002-03, Mauro Calcagno has a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies for a project entitled: "On the meanings of voice in seventeenth-century Italy: an inquiry into the permeability of boundaries of Baroque arts"

David Cohen finished his teaching work at Harvard, where he was Assistant Professor of Music for eight years. Cohen will begin teaching at Columbia University in September.

Assistant Professor of Music Elliott Gyger had several recent performances of his music: Hebrew, Latin, Greek by the Seraphim Singers and Polishing Firewood by the New York New Music Ensemble at the SonicBoom Festival in New York, the Festival of New American Music at California State University, Sacramento, and at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Morton B. Knafel Professor Thomas F. Kelly, on leave in Spring 2002, was a Resident at the American Academy in Rome. In addition to lecturing there, he taught at the University of Chieti-Pescara, at the Centre d'Études Supérieures de Civilisation Médiévale at the University of Poitiers, and at the Cours supérieure de chant Grégorien at the Abbey of Fontevraut.

Jameson Marvin, Choral Director and Senior Lecturer on Music, recently returned from a tour of Scandinavia with the Harvard Glee Club.

Quincy Jones Professor of Afro-American Music Ingrid Monson moderated the Learning From Performers panel, "From Liberal Arts to a Jazz Career," featuring jazz performers and Harvard alums Don Braden, Anton Schwartz and Sara Lazarus.

The HRO performed Senior Preceptor John Stewart's composition Threnody on the final concert of its subscription series this year. Threnody, meaning a song of lamentation, was written in memory of Professor Emerita Luise Vosgerchian and is a set of variations on Ms. Vosgerchian's favorite Bach Chorale, Jesu Leiden, Pein und Tod. The HRO (along with the Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum, Radcliffe Choral Society and Harvard Glee Club) also played the world premiere of Senior Lecturer James Yannatos' work Symphonies Sacred and Secular: Prais'd Be the Fathomless Universe.

Assistant Professor Richard Wolf will spend his sabbatical as one of fifty worldwide Radcliffe Institute Fellows for 2002-2003. He will continue work on his book, Semiotics and Process in the Ritual Drumming of South Asia.

William Powell Mason Professor of Music Christoph Wolff was elected to the American Philosophical Society--the nation's oldest learned society devoted to the advancement of scientific and scholarly inquiry. Wolff was one of six Harvard faculty members elected this year.

 

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Shelemay Elected Chair of LOC Folklife Center

Kay Kaufman Shelemay, G. Gordon Watts Professor of Music at Harvard University, has been elected to a two-year term as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. The American Folklife Center documents and preserves the largest collection of materials relating to the traditional cultural heritage of the United States. At Harvard, Dean Jeremy Knowles also honored Shelemay as a Cabot Fellow this year.

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Staff News

Music building custodian Shakespeare Christmas was named to the list of Boston Magazine's "40 Bostonians We Love" along with luminaries the likes of Celtics star Paul Pierce and chef Jasper White.

Assistant to the Chair Mary Gerbi sang in the Boston Secession's original live soundscape for Marlene Dietrich's Blue Angel at the Somerville Theater. She, along with fellow soprano and Staff Assistant Beth Canterbury, sang roles in Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass by the Dudley Choir in Paine Hall.

Communications Coordinator Lesley Bannatyne showed artwork at the Brickbottom Gallery in Somerville as part of The Invisible Cities Group: What Remains.

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Alumni News

Joel Sachs, A.B. '61, received Columbia's Ditson Conductor's Award for service to American Music. Sachs is a member of the faculty of the Juilliard School, where he also is director and conductor of the New Juilliard Ensemble, and produces and directs the annual Focus Festival of recent music. In addition, he co-directs and conducts the professional ensemble for new music Continuum.

Philip Aaberg A.B. '71 received a commission from Continental Harmony to compose a Triple Concerto for Piano, Cello, and Fiddle. It will premier in 2003 at the Prairie Fest in Winfield, Kansas. His CD Live From Montana, recorded at a concert to benefit his home town's school fund, was nominated for a 2002 Grammy Award. Website: www.sweetgrassmusic.com.

Eric D. Johnson A.B. '75 became Assistant Professor of Music at Syracuse University, New York. He recently sang with the Syracuse Opera in Don Giovanni, Oswego Opera in The Magic Flute and was bass soloist in Verdi's Requiem with the Catskill Symphony Orchestra.

Stuart Malina A.B. '84 is Music Director and Conductor of Greensboro Symphony Orchestra and conductor and Music Director of the Harrisburg Symphony. This past season he debuted with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and guest conducted the North Carolina Symphony.

Kurt Stallmann Ph.D. '99 has joined the composition faculty as Assistant Professor of Music at Rice University in Texas.

Alexander Fisher Ph.D. '01 has been named Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia beginning fall, 2002.

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Graduate Student News

In April 2002, Bok Center certificates for excellence in teaching were awarded to music department Teaching Fellows/Assistants James Leach, Lansing McLoskey, Jamuna Samuel, Jonathan Wild, Richard Whalley and Matthew Peattie.

Kiri Miller compiled and edited The Chattahoochee Convention, 1852-1952: A Sacred Harp Historical Sourcebook, coming out in August. She will give a paper this fall at AMS entitled "Americanism Musically: Educating the Public at the Columbian Exposition, 1893".

Richard Giarusso sang Schubert's Winterreise in a concert in Holden Chapel in April. The concert was an extension of Reinhold Brinkmann's class "Song, Schubert through Ives," and followed an afternoon symposium of related student papers.

Peter Gilbert will collaborate with the August Art festival in New York. He's also received a commission from New York guitarist Daniel Lippel and violist David Yang for a chamber music series in Philadelphia.

Jeannie Guerrero won an Independent Venetian Research grant from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation to do summer dissertation research in Venice.

Arni Ingolfsson was a consultant for the early music group Voces Thules on a program of polyphony from medieval Icelandic manuscripts, which they performed at the Skalholt Early Music Festival in June. He wrote program notes for the Reykjavik Arts Festival and liner notes for recordings issued by BIS and Smekkleysa. He was awarded a fellowship for the 2001-2002 school year by the Icelandic Fund for Graduate Students.

April James gave a presentation at Harvard on "Maria Antonia Unplugged," which included the performance of an aria that had not been performed in 250 years.

Natalie Kirschstein (percussion) and Myke Cuthbert (clarinet) lent their talents to an April production of Sweeney Todd on the Loeb Mainstage. Kathleen Stetson '02 was music director.

Roe-Min Kok will be teaching as Faculty Lecturer in Musicology at McGill University beginning in the fall.

Lei Liang won a 2002 Paul & Daisy Soros New American Fellowship. Liang came to the United States as a teenager from Beijing in the wake of the Tiananmen Square tragedy. He spent three years as a junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows before joining the department as a Ph.D. student in composition.

Lara Pellegrinelli guest edited the June issue (women in jazz) of NewMusicBox.org, an ASCAP-Deems Taylor award-winning webmagazine that is part of the American Music Center. She also had a piece published in the New York Times entitled "Singer/Songwriter Abbey Lincoln: She's Got Her Own."

Three graduate students have contributed material to Mahler and His World, forthcoming from Princeton University Press: Thomas Peattie, "Mahler and the Broken Pastoral"; Zoe Lang, "Mahler's American Debut: The Reception of the Fourth and Fifth Symphonies, 1904-1906"; and Bettina Varwig (co-authored with Karen Painter), "Mahler in the German-language Press."

Eric Spangler has been working with performers at Oberlin Conservatory, resulting in two pieces which will be performed this summer, one in June at the Chicago Art Institute as part of the new I.C.E. festival, and the other at Banff in July.

Andrew Talle will present a paper at the AMS Conference in Columbus, Ohio on the development of music making and other leisure time activities in early 18th century Germany.

Ken Ueno has contributed articles to a forthcoming book, The New Musical Immigrants: US/Latin American Exchanges in the Twentieth Century.

Richard Whalley and Jennifer Loconto (from the Department of Molecular Cell Biology) were married in Memorial Church in May. Whalley is spending a week in Normandy at Ensemble Aleph's Second Forum for Composers where his Twisted Variations (2001) will be performed. Whalley's Monolith, a piece for 13 instruments, will be premiered in July at the Wellesley Composers' Conference.


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Undergraduate News

 Joel Sachs, A.B. '61, received Columbia's Ditson Conductor's Award for service to American Music. Sachs is a member of the faculty of the Juilliard School, where he also is director and conductor of the New Juilliard Ensemble, and produces and directs the annual Focus Festival of recent music. In addition, he co-directs and conducts the professional ensemble for new music Continuum.

Philip Aaberg A.B. '71 received a commission from Continental Harmony to compose a Triple Concerto for Piano, Cello, and Fiddle. It will premier in 2003 at the Prairie Fest in Winfield, Kansas. His CD Live From Montana, recorded at a concert to benefit his home town's school fund, was nominated for a 2002 Grammy Award. Website: www.sweetgrassmusic.com.

Eric D. Johnson A.B. '75 became Assistant Professor of Music at Syracuse University, New York. He recently sang with the Syracuse Opera in Don Giovanni, Oswego Opera in The Magic Flute and was bass soloist in Verdi's Requiem with the Catskill Symphony Orchestra.

Stuart Malina A.B. '84 is Music Director and Conductor of Greensboro Symphony Orchestra and conductor and Music Director of the Harrisburg Symphony. This past season he debuted with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and guest conducted the North Carolina Symphony.

Kurt Stallmann Ph.D. '99 has joined the composition faculty as Assistant Professor of Music at Rice University in Texas.

Alexander Fisher Ph.D. '01 has been named Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia beginning fall, 2002.

Will Aronson '04 won an Office for the Arts grant for a new trombone composition.

Lembit Beecher '02 won an Arts First Linker Grant to produce A Wild Rumpus, a multi-media event combining children's stories and music. Beecher also conducted the Bach Society Orchestra spring concert featuring Shostakovich's Cello Concerto #1.

The Harvard-Radcliffe Contemporary Music Ensemble and Leverett House Arts Society presented three student opera premiers in April: Poor Bibi, with libretto by Joyce Carol Oates (Carson Cooman '03); Syllabi, with libretto by Jesse Coffino-Greenberg, (Anthony Cheung '03); and Miss Julie, libretto by Leslie Chu, based on the Strindberg play (Christopher Hossfeld '02). In addition, Hossfeld received the Louis Sudler Prize for Excellence in the Arts at a reception hosted by President Summers. Hossfeld conducts the Chamber Singers and is a member of the Collegium Musicum. The prize is awarded to the senior with the most outstanding artistic talent and achievement in the arts and is intended to honor the sum of the student's activities rather than a single project. In addition, Hossfeld conducted the Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum Chamber Singers in a concert featuring Purcell and Bach in Memorial Church.

Eric Hughes '02 and Sarah Darling '01 were two of scores of Harvard undergraduates who performed with Bobby McFerrin in a concert at Sanders Theatre as the culmination of McFerrin's week-long residency at Harvard. The residency is part of the Office for the Arts' Learning from Performers Series.

Jihwan Kim '02 had his piece, Soundbytes from Japanese Anime, played by the Brattle Street Chamber Players in Paine Hall in March.

Dan Sedgwick was one of this year's recipients of Harvard's Leonard Bernstein Music Scholarship.

Kathleen Stetson was music director of the Loeb mainstage production of Sondheim's Sweeney Todd.

The 2002 Foote Prize of Harvard Musical Association was awarded to Berenika Zakrzewski, '04.

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