Winter Festival and Forum Series | Musical Time
Boston Chamber Music Society
MIT Music and Theater Arts Faculty
The MIT Winter Festival series, which presented three concerts, was a collaborative endeavor that brought together two music powerhouses and scholars from various disciplines to explore the idea of musical time.
The Music and Theater Arts faculty of MIT's School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences teamed up with the Boston Chamber Music Society, and colleagues from physics, literature and other areas to create this rich, exploratory series. The initial concert and forum evoked a glowing review from Boston Globe.
Review in The Boston Globe, Jeremy Eichler
"On paper, and indeed in its execution, judging from this past Saturday’s events, 'Musical Time’' is the most imaginative, most ambitious and most rewarding programming that the Boston Chamber Music Society has offered in recent years. Hats off to the organization’s new artistic director Marcus Thompson [professor of music at MIT]. A festival of this nature should undoubtedly become an annual BCMS tradition.
Taken on its own terms, Saturday evening’s performance would have been a richly satisfying evening of chamber music. But the concert was introduced by a wide-ranging panel discussion with composer Libby Larsen, music historian Michael Scott Cuthbert, theater designer Sara Brown, and physicist Robert Jaffe, whose explanations of subatomic and cosmological time provided a particularly mind-bending context for the discussion of musical time." Full review
Review in The Boston Phoenix, Lloyd Schwartz
"The Boston Chamber Music Society, now directed by violist Marcus Thompson, completed a joint venture with MIT — a three weekend symposium of panels and concerts on the subject of "Musical Time" — with a lively presentation at Kresge Auditorium.
Beethoven scholar Lewis Lockwood gave a witty and illuminating talk on the checkered history of the metronome, Paul Matisse spoke about his musical sculptures (his Kendall Band can be found in the Kendall Square Red Line T-stop), and Stephen Tapscott read from his series of poems about the experimental 19th-century stop-motion photographer Eadweard Muybridge.
Demonstrating the multiple layers of musical time with a memorable solo rendition of the quintet from West Side Story, MIT professor (and soprano) Ellen Harris prepared us for the ensuing concert, which featured exceptional performances by oboist Peggy Pearson, violinist Harumi Rhodes, Thompson, and cellist Joshua Gordon in the Mozart Oboe Quartet; Pearson, Thompson, and Mihai Lee in Charles Loeffler's gorgeous pair of Rhapsodies (a major discovery); Rhodes and Lee in William Grant Still's delightful Suite for Violin and Piano, which was inspired by three African-American sculptures; and the late Lukas Foss's modernist chamber masterpiece, Time Cycle, with former Boston soprano Judith Kellock singing texts by Auden, Housman, Kafka, and Nietzsche (an utterly different setting of the poem Mahler uses in his Third Symphony). Percussionist Robert Schulz was the indispensable timekeeper.
Interview with Marcus Thompson