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MIT musicians to celebrate Vest's inauguration


THIS WEEK'S CELEBRATION of the Inauguration of Charles M. Vest as MIT's 15th president will feature musical works composed by MIT students and faculty. These pieces include a specially commissioned musical piece composed by an MIT freshman and fanfares composed by MIT music and theater arts faculty.

"We wanted to organize the events so that the whole MIT community could participate," said Kathryn W. Lombardi, executive assistant to the president.

The Inaugural Concert this Thursday night in Kresge Auditorium will feature a song by Yumi Oshima '94, "Spring," based on William Blake's poem of the same name. "I really thought the last line of each stanza -- "Merrily merrily to welcome in the year" -- was appropriate for the Inauguration," said Oshima, who added that her compositions usually deal with harsher themes.

The concert will also include three other student works composed for MIT music classes: "Before Life and After" by Alexander P. Rigopulos '92, "Quick. . . " by Charles W. Pokorny '91 and "How Sweet I Roamed from Field to Field" by Cynthia L. Harris '91.

Rigopulos said of his musical piece, "The text was selected for my son Adrian, who was born last September."

Oshima attended the pre-college program at the Juilliard School of Music for 11 years. She already has had one of her orchestral pieces, "The Cave," performed at Lincoln Center, and another composition was presented at the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado.

Oshima started studying music composition at the age of 14, when an accident made it impossible for her to continue playing the violin, her major instrument. She has just recently resumed playing and is currently a member of the MIT Chamber Music Society.

Her pieces are greatly influenced by her hobbies and interests. For example, she said that her major non-musical interest is philosophy, and her orchestral piece, "The Cave," is based on Plato's Republic. Oshima said that the inaugural song, "Spring," was influenced by her interest in ancient Japanese musical instruments -- the opening is based on a pentatonic scale, used in ancient Japanese music.

Those who attend the Inaugural Ceremony Friday morning in Killian Court will hear four fanfares composed by faculty from the music and theater arts section of the Department of Humanities: "Vest-Pocket Fanfare" by John Harbison, "Fanfare" by Peter Child, "New from Old" by Edward Cohen and "Bossa Nova" by Evan Ziporyn. Additionally, Professor of Literature Stephen Tapscott will read his original "Poem of Welcome" at the ceremony. Also performing will be the MIT Chamber Chorus, conducted by William C. Cutter, assistant conductor of the MIT Concert Choir. [See Inauguration schedule, page 2.]

Friday night, the Inauguration performances will continue with the MIT Concert Choir's performance of Mendelssohn's "Elijah" in Kresge Auditorium. Amy Kaiser, a noted free-lance conductor from New York, will lead the group. Cutter and Kaiser are replacing John S. Oliver, senior lecturer in music and theater arts. Oliver usually conducts the MIT Concert Choir and the MIT Chamber Chorus, but due to a broken foot he will be unable to do so this week.

Saturday night Professor of Music and Theater Arts David M. Epstein will conduct the MIT Symphony concert in Kresge Auditorium. The program will include "The Academic Festival Overture" by Brahms, Mozart's "Clarinet Concerto" and "Appalachian Spring" by Aaron Copland.