Several MIT students purrrsue their artistic goals
Continuing their artistic study
Christopher A. Adler '94, Cheston D. Buchanan '94, and Adrian P. Childs '94.By Ann Ames
Three of this year's seniors will be moving on to graduate programs in the arts next fall. Christopher A. Adler '94, a mathematics and music major, will pursue a PhD in composition at Duke University. Cheston D. Buchanan '94, who graduated in February with an S.B. in civil engineering, will enter Boston University's creative writing program for a Master's degree. And like Adler, Adrian P. Childs '94 is a mathematics and music major who will be pursuing a PhD in composition, though he will attend the University of Chicago.
Adler said that during high school he had intended to study music in the future, but by the time he graduated, he had given up that idea. When he arrived at MIT he decided to major in mathematics instead. However, after his sophomore year, having just taken a beginning theory class taught by Assistant Professor of Music and Theater Arts Evan Ziporyn, he added music as his second degree program. "Evan made me believe there's a lot more out there [in terms of musical careers] than I had resigned myself to believing," Adler said. Ziporyn became Adler's mentor and thesis advisor, and eventually suggested the Duke University program. Adler applied, and was not only accepted, but was also presented with a J. B. Duke Fellowship for his graduate work.
After attending Exeter for four years, Buchanan had no desire to continue his education at an Ivy League school. He liked the cultural and intellectual atmosphere of the northeast, however. Having been told that MIT was trying to build a more diverse, well-rounded student body, it seemed like a good choice for him. He toyed with the ideas of several different majors, eventually settling on civil engineering. He also studied writing, and under the tutelage of Senior Lecturer in Writing Ilona Karmel, he won a 1993-94 List Foundation Fellowship to support the preparation of a short novel, entitled Pike. Karmel also encouraged him to apply for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Fellowship at BU, which he received. "She has been really inspirational," Buchanan said. "She's the whole reason I applied for these fellowships."
The book, which Buchanan also illustrated with line drawings, was printed earlier this year by MIT Graphic Arts. Following this year's commencement ceremonies, a community reception in celebration of this publication will be held at the MIT Office of the Arts. A limited number of signed copies of the book will be available there.
Childs has been incredibly active in the MIT musical community since arriving here in 1990. He has played bassoon, piano, and cello with the MIT Symphony Orchestra, the MIT Concert Band, the MIT Premiere Orchestra, numerous chamber groups, and the MIT Shakespeare Ensemble. In addition, he composed the music for recent experimental performances by the Shakespeare Ensemble, and he has written two pieces for the Concert Band.
Childs was also president of the Concert Band for two years and has conducted the group on many occasions. He has studied composition here with Professors of Music and Theater Arts John Harbison and Peter Child. His acceptance to the prestigious composition PhD program at the University of Chicago suggests that many more wonderful things can be expected of him in years to come.
Many other MIT students participate and excel in the arts at MIT. The humanities here are becoming constantly more visible and respected, and with graduates going on to programs like those mentioned above, the image of the arts at MIT can only grow.