As in previous years, Boston was a prominent center of eclectic and exciting cultural events in 2014. In addition to hosting internationally known musicians and performers, like St. Vincent, The Knife, and Lily Allen, it also allowed up-and-coming recording artists and singer-songwriters like Holly Herndon, MØ, and London Grammar to showcase their work to the city’s concert-goers. Boston Calling, a musical festival that has now become the city’s trademark event, brought many musicians in the spring and fall, bolstering Boston’s cultural importance. Boston Ballet provided fans of ballet with versatile productions, from Cinderella and Pricked to Jewels and Close to Chuck. Those who appreciate theater and performance arts had many opportunities to see famous actors and performers, like Mikhail Baryshnikov, in Boston’s theater centers. The city was also a hub for movie screenings — the most critically acclaimed movies of 2014, such as The Grand Budapest Hotel, Birdman, and Boyhood, attracted extra attention.
Though long known for its highly technical environment, MIT once again showed that its vibrant arts scene attracts worldwide attention. Joan Jonas, a professor emeritus at MIT, was chosen to represent United States at the 2015 Venice Biennale, an important, international contemporary art exhibition. Roomful of Teeth, a Grammy Award-winning vocal octet, premiered MIT lecturer Elena Ruehr’s opera Cassandra in the Temples at Kresge Auditorium. MIT Open, the annual competitive ballroom dance competition organized by MITBDT, brought former World Latin Dance Champions, Michael Malitowski and Joanna Leunis to Rockwell Cage. The Theater Department helped MIT host Infinite Record: Archive, Memory, and Performance, an international artistic research project led by Østfold University College/Norwegian Theatre Academy. And, as always, MIT’s student groups offered various shows, including concerts, plays, and dance performances, to the local community.