The Lewis Music Library hosted a special Valentine's Day recital entitled “Waves of Pleasure” to an overflow crowd of approximately 130 people. This was the largest audience ever to attend a concert in the library. What made this concert different was that these songs and arias were not sung by a vocalist but performed on a theremin, one of the earliest electronic musical instruments. The performer doesn't touch the instrument while playing, but places both hands over two antennae that control the pitch and volume. Assistant Professor Brian Robison gave an exciting performance on the theremin, performing well-known classics by Handel, Puccini and Rachmaninoff along with popular favorites by Ellington, Gershwin and Rodgers. Lecturer Charles Shadle accompanied him on piano.
Brian Robison at the theremin
The second half of the program consisted of audience participation in which audience members could literally try their hands at the theremin with piano accompaniment by Dr. Robison. The various moods and short compositions improvised by the audience were remarkable. Thanks to Brian Robison and Charles Shadle for bringing so many people into the library to experience this unusual instrument. The library also supplied the audience with a listing of theremin books, CDs, and DVDs held in the collection.
The library’s iPod Project has been a great success since it was initiated in September 2005. Through the generosity of the Class of 1982, the library obtained five iPods on which sample tracks from newly received CDs were placed. Over 1000 tracks have been loaded onto each iPod, representing the wide variety of music collected by the library. Listening to a shuffle setting (random tracks) is like taking a trip around the musical world. Personal playlists from library staff and student assistants have also been added to each iPod, and the library hopes to obtain faculty playlists as well.
In addition, excerpts from several of the Humanities Library audiobooks have been added to the iPods. In the playlist called "Humanities Audiobooks" are tracks from books by authors ranging from Graham Greene, J.K. Rowling, and David Sedaris to H.G. Wells.
MIT students, faculty, and staff members may borrow an iPod overnight (due the next day at closing). If a selection appeals to you, jot down the call number from the iPod and come into the Lewis Music Library at 14E-109 to borrow the music CD or look for the audiobook in the Humanities Browsery in 14S-200. Compact discs circulate for 3 days with no renewals; audiobooks circulate for 4 weeks with no renewals.
Writer Mike Zwerin recently published some lists in The International Herald Tribune of recommended jazz and rock music to take with you into the bunker when King Kong has destroyed your city (also referred to as desert island records). The Lewis Music Library already had several of the suggested titles, which ranged from Paul Simon’s Graceland to the Modern Jazz Quartet. More were ordered, and here are the news blogs announcing CDs that have been received:
The fourth annual Prokopoff Concert was presented on Friday, April 7. This concert featured performances of violin music from the extensive collection of the late Stephen Prokopoff. This music, donated to the library in 2001 by Prokopoff's widow, Lois Craig, contains approximately 2,680 scores with special emphasis on 20th century music. Over 2,000 scores have been bound and are in the circulating score stacks.
For the third consecutive year, Jacqueline O’Connor ’06 organized this concert, which included a wide range of musical styles and some instruments other than violin. The program included: Concerto for Two Violins in A minor by Antonio Vivaldi (Nina Young, violin, Lori Ferriss, violin, Daniel Steele, piano); Theme and Variations by Olivier Messiaen, excerpts transcribed for piano by David Foxe for this concert (David Foxe, piano); Variationen über eine Tonleiter by Boris Blacher and Essays for Solo Violin, No. 13: Inventions in Modal Style by Samuel Gardner (Sophie Rapoport, violin); Romance Op. 37 by Camille Saint-Saëns (Lori Huberman, flute, Daniel Steele, piano); Piano Trio in A minor, Mov. 1 by Maurice Ravel (Jacqueline O'Connor, violin, Sunny Wicks, cello, Pavitra Kumar, piano).
Thanks to Jackie and the other talented performers for bringing this wonderful music into the library. An enthusiastic audience of approximately 45 people, including Lois Craig, enjoyed this annual treat.
A web page has been created for the Music at MIT Oral History Project which lists all interview subjects, along with brief descriptions and interview dates. Fifteen individuals have been interviewed, for a total of 25 interview sessions. Most recently, Dante Anzolini, Associate Professor of Music and conductor of the MIT Symphony Orchestra, returned in March for a second interview. There are plans for interviews with two additional individuals in the coming year.
Michèle Oshima, Director of Student and Artist-in-Residence Programs of the MIT Office of the Arts, recently donated 102 compact discs to the Lewis Music Library. The donation contains global pop music with an emphasis on Latin American pop, hip-hop, and jazz.
The library has placed several new standing orders in the past year. Here are some of the highlights:
Composers' complete works:
Other music scores:
Journals (online access licensed for MIT; see list on Vera:
Check out a selection of our new acquisitions online.
Mr. and Mrs. Lionel ('53) Kinney have established an endowed fund to benefit both the Lewis Music Library and the Music and Theater Arts Section. This fund will be further supplemented by a planned gift that will provide the library and the music program with a generous income in future years. The Kinney gift will be invaluable in allowing the library to expand and improve its collections and services. Our heartfelt thanks to the Kinneys for their vision and generosity.
Dr. Richard Breed ’73 has pledged a generous donation for the purchase of medieval and renaissance books, scores, and recordings. Dr. Breed was a student assistant in the Music Library during its transition from a music lounge with a small library collection to an academic music library.
The Lewis Music Library is grateful for the generosity of our donors:
Donations through Honor with Books:
Donations to the David M. Epstein Memorial Library Fund:
Donations to the John N. Pierce Memorial Fund:
Donations to the Class of 1982 Music Library Fund:
Gifts in Kind:
If we have inadvertently omitted your name from this list, please contact us.
Q. What is the difference between a bass trombone and a chainsaw?
Q. Why did the chicken cross the road?
Q. What is the difference between a soprano and a pit bull?
Q. How many French horn players does it take to change a lightbulb?
He who blows his own horn always plays the music several octaves higher than originally written.
With the rapid advances in libraries during recent years, a refresher session is highly recommended so that faculty and students can take advantage of the many resources available both in print and electronic formats.
Library tours or library for classes or individuals can be arranged by contacting Peter Munstedt (email firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 617-253-5636). Peter is also happy to visit faculty in their offices to help with research and teaching needs.
Special thanks to student assistant Augusta Dibbell '07 for her work on the layout and editing of "What's the Score?"
Larson, Circulation & Reserves Assistant, (617) 253-0982
Moore, Collections & Processing Assistant, (617) 253-3974
Music Librarian, (617) 253-5636