Acclaimed cellist Carlos Prieto, SB’58, receives Muh Alumni Award
Public lecture, musical performance, and reception on May 6, 2014


May 6, 2014, 5pm
Carlos Prieto, SB '58 | 2014 Robert A. Muh Alumni Award Lecture 

The Adventures of a Cello 
Public Lecture and Musical Performance 
Followed by a Public Reception 

MIT Wong Auditorium | E51-115
70 Memorial Drive, MIT Campus



Muh Award honors achievements in the humanities, arts, and social sciences 

The internationally acclaimed cellist Carlos Prieto is the recipient of the 2014 Robert A. Muh Alumni Award, presented bienially by MIT’s School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. Prieto will give a lecture at MIT on May 6, 2014 entitled "The Adventures of a Cello," and will also perfom an excerpt from J.S. Bach's Cello Suite No. 3 in C Major, BWV 1009.

"I was delighted to learn that Carlos Prieto is to receive the Muh Alumni Award from MIT," said Peter Child, Head of MIT Music and Theater Arts and Professor of Music. "Carlos is a model for generations of MIT music students who, like him, seek ways to balance their professional level of musicianship and talent with their commitment to the science and engineering fields. Music and Theater Arts has been the beneficiary of many years of wise counsel and advice from Carlos. It is especially satisfying, therefore, to be part of this acknowledgement of his talent and accomplishment."

Speaking of the award, Deborah Fitzgerald, Kenan Sahin Dean, said, "The Muh Award is a singular opportunity for us to recognize MIT graduates who have made extraordinary contributions, and whose life work calls on deep knowledge in the disciplines of our School. We are delighted to present Carlos Prieto with this year's award."

L and R: Carlos Prieto, SB'58; C: cover detail, The Adventures of a Cello

                   "Carlos is a model for generations of MIT music students 
                    who, like him, seek ways to balance their professional level 
                    of musicianship and talent with their commitment to the 
                    science and engineering fields.    

                                     — Peter Child, Head, MIT Music and Theater Arts



About Carlos Prieto

One of the most respected cellists in the world, Prieto holds degrees from MIT in engineering (Course III) and economics (Course XIV). And, like many MIT students, Prieto was also able to pursue a serious study of music at MIT. As The Tech wrote in a 1997 interview, Prieto found the Institute to be a musically rewarding place that nurtured his musical talents. "While I was at MIT," Prieto says, "I kept playing because I was a member of the MIT orchestra. They also had me as a soloist in the Hayden D major concerto. I would also play a lot of chamber music — almost every weekend I would play."  

After graduation from MIT, Prieto took a position in an iron and steel company in his native Mexico, eventually ascending to serve as the head of the enterprise. All the while, he continued his engagement with music, and, after some years leading the company, embarked on a dedicated career as a cellist.

Over the course of his musical life, Prieto has recorded more than 90 compositions, including the complete Bach suites, works by Beethoven, Shostakovich, and more, in addition to recording 13 CDs devoted to cello music from Latin America and Spain. Prieto has also written seven books, which have been translated into English, Russia, and Portuguese. In 2011 he was elected Member of the Academy of the Spanish Language.

Prieto’s other accomplishments and honors include the Order of the Arts and Letters in the grade of Officer from France; the Achievement Award of the Mexican Cultural Institute of New York; the Eva Janzer Award, entitled “Chevalier du Violoncelle” from the University of Indiana in recognition of his “exceptional contribution to the world of cello playing”; the Cultural Leadership Citation from the School of Music of Yale University; and the Mozart Medal from the Austrian Ambassador in Mexico.

In 2006, Prieto received the title of “Master Emeritus of Venezuelan Youth,” from J. A. Abreu, President and Founder of “El Sistema,” Caracas, and the Order of Civil Merit from the King of Spain. In 2007 the President of Mexico awarded him the National Prize for the Arts. In 2008 he was awarded the Pushkin Medal from the Russian Government for his contributions to Russian culture and arts.

About the MIT Music Program

 "The MIT mission is to serve humanity,” says Marcus Thompson, MIT Professor of Music, “and the arts provide a powerful way for our students to grow in knowledge and understanding of the human condition."

MIT's Music program, located in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, provides an extraordinary range of musical experiences to MIT undergraduates — from classes for beginners to the conservatory-level Emerson Program. Some 60% of MIT’s incoming freshmen are active musicians, many with advanced musical training, and some 1,100+ MIT students participate in the Music program each year, studying performance, composition and theory, and music history, and engaged in classical, world music, and jazz performance groups. 

About the Muh Alumni Award

The Robert A. Muh Alumni Award was first announced in October 2000 at the 50th anniversary celebration of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. Muh, MIT SB ’59, a life member of the MIT Corporation and past chair of the Humanities Visiting Committee, endowed the award to honor an MIT graduate who has made significant contributions to education, scholarship or performance, academic administration or arts management in the humanities, arts, or social sciences. 



Robert A. Muh '59


Suggested Links

Carlos Prieto Website

The Adventures of a Cello 

Previous Muh Award Recipients 

Profile: Robert A. Muh 

MIT Music Program

The Listening Room: MIT's finest music online


Story prepared by MIT SHASS Communications
Editor and Art Director: Emily Hiestand