[by Shelby Heinecke ’13]
This past Friday, the MIT Symphony Orchestra (MITSO) played an exceptionally original and edgy concert. As a violinist in MITSO, it was quite an interesting experience unlike any other. This concert was unique for several reasons:
1. We premiered a newly composed symphony. How often does an opportunity like that come around?! The symphony was composed by Charles Shadle, a faculty member in the Music Department here at MIT. This was the first time I had ever been exposed to a modern piece, and boy, was it fascinating (and at times, difficult to learn)!
2. We featured the 2010 Concerto Competition co-winner, Latifah Hamzah, who performed the third movement of the Dvorak Violin Concerto. It was stunning!
3. We premiered, in Massachusetts, the “Adam and Eve Ballet” from the movie Can Can. (You know, the cheesy 1960 movie with Frank Sinatra and Shirley MacLaine. It featured absolutely incredible music, though!) This piece has only been performed one other time, in Arizona, actually.
Photo credit: Wikipedia
4. We performed with the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, led by MIT Music and Arts Lecturer Mark Harvey. They treated us to a couple movements from Duke Ellington’s The River, and then, together, we accompanied the lively and jazzy voice of our guest artist, Patrice Williamson, who sang You Make Me Feel So Young, I Stayed too Long at the Fair, and Embraceable You.
Patrice Williamson, Guest Artist. (Photo via [email protected])
The performance of “Adam and Eve Ballet” was simply naughty! The music originally accompanied a scene in Can Can where dancers were performing the Adam and Eve story. The piece starts off rather heavenly, you know, the orchestra playing beautifully and peacefully as we usually do :) . Then, all of sudden, the serenity is abruptly halted by the entrance of the snake who induces Eve into apple eating. From that point on, musically, there is an aural duality, a good versus evil, present in the music. The sweet and heavenly side represented by the classical phrases and the sinful and raunchy side represented by the wild, less-restricted, jazzy phrases played by the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra. So who won, good or evil? You know the story! Evil won of course! And evil’s triumph was blatant in the music since the piece ended with an outrageously loud, energetic roar of swingy jazz. The audience went crazy, demanding an encore! And that’s how this historic MITSO concert ended. While our next concert won’t be filled with debuts and jazz, it will be just as thrilling. I mean, we’re playing Saint-Saens, Bernstein, and Weber for cryin’ out loud, how can that not be exciting? During CPW, I encourage you to inquire about MITSO! There will be opportunities to learn about MITSO, as well as other performing groups such as MIT Wind Ensemble (MITWE), MIT Chamber Music, and MIT Concert Choir. Join the excitement and keep music alive at MIT! I hope to see some of you in MITSO next year.