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MITSO Gone Wild! by ARTalk

[by Shelby Heinecke '13] MITSO performs with Aardvark Jazz Orchestra!

[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.

10 responses to “MITSO Gone Wild!”

  1. Mason '10 says:

    I actually had the opportunity to take several composition classes with Prof. Shadle, namely Harmony & Counterpoint I, Harmony & Counterpoint II, Writing in Tonal Forms I, and Writing in Tonal Forms II. He’s a fantastic teacher, and has this uncanny ability to just sit down at a piano, take something one of his students has written, and just do things like “Oh, let’s try this as a canon, except in a minor mode, and maybe in triple meter for kicks.” And then proceed to play perfectly improvised 4-part counterpoint without hesitation.

    He’s also hilarious.

  2. hya '13 says:

    I was there… you guys were amazing smile Good job!

    (Should I be worried that my captcha is “Science Charring” ?)

  3. H says:

    Apparently, my recent comment regarding falsification of supplemental materials has been deleted. I just hope the message has reached the concerned people and some investigative work is done to ensure that only people who deserve to benefit from an MIT education do so.

  4. @ H

    I’m not sure to what you’re referring. We have no comment from you in the system, which includes deleted (aka unpublished) posts. I certainly didn’t do it.

    If you have concerns about the admissions process please let me know (my email is easy to find).

  5. H says:

    @ Dave:

    What I was referring to was a comment which might have got lost in cyberspace . I wrote that I have reason to believe some admitted students indulged in falsification of application supplemental materials like transcripts and references. The Admissions Office should really follow up on such things. Also, what happens if the falsification is proved?

    I have nothing against the Admissions team who IMHO do the best possible job, however, it is also their job to follow up to make sure admitted students are genuinely what they say they are and that in the end the opportunities that abound at MIT are seized only by those who actually deserve them and who can actually make use of them to fulfill their dreams and ambitions and help make the world a better place (not one where cheaters are tolerated).

    As an example, in athletics competitions it is usually the medal winners on whom the dope tests are carried out as it is not feasible for all athletes to be tested for banned substances. Similarly, it is not possible for MIT admissions to ensure all candidates in the entire pool are bonafide, however, the admissions office should try to check the particulars of at least the admitted internationals if not all the admitted students.

    Lastly, MIT’s admissions process is one of the most transparent and trusting ones I’ve seen and believe me when I say I’ve seen a lot. However, the process’ good point sometimes becomes its exploitable weakness when people try to cheat it by providing falsified records which are sometimes falsified in cahoots with their school administration.

    The site to which my name is linked may point you in the right direction.

    Also, there is the indistinct possibilty that my belief regarding some applicants may be false in which case I tender my humblest apology. However, please do realise that it is in the larger interest of the MIT community.

    This was just an attempt on my part to help MIT. You may delete this comment if you wish to do so after making sure its contents have reached the concerned people.

  6. Kristina says:

    I very much enjoy how you call the Adam and Eve Ballet performance “simply naughty” smile

    recap: of cheddar (one of the most interesting one’s i’ve ever gotten)

  7. @ H

    Ah, got it. I think you can rest assured that the admissions officers are very well schooled in reading applications. We spend a lot of time looking into the details of every application, building as clear a picture of each applicant and yes, occasionally investigating oddities and irregularities. Overall there are many levels of checks and balances in the process to deal with the kind of academic dishonesty you’re describing. Rest assured we take fraud very, very seriously.

    I hope that brings you some piece of mind. All the best!

  8. Anonymous says:

    The Wind Ensemble concert the following night featured another impressive premier- Prof. Cutter’s Spring Rituals! It’s fantastic how many opportunities there are to be involved in music here.

  9. YF says:

    Hi!! I will most likely be a freshman at MIT next year (still need to fill out the official stuff), and I would LOVE to join MITSO. However, I’m not quite sure of my chances. I play the violin, which I assume is very common on campus? I’ve been playing for about 7 years and have participated in all-state and honor orchestras numerous times, but that’s all relative to where I live. If someone could possibly tell me about the difficulty of the the audition piece I should select that would be wonderful. Thanks in advance!!