Faculty

Quoted: Matthew Marsit on ‘An Evening in Metropolis’

Dartmouth Now takes note when faculty and other members of the community weigh in on issues of the day. Here is today’s “Quoted”:

“It’s outside of the realm of certainly anything that we’re used to in modern cinema,” says Director of Bands Matthew Marsit in a VPR story about the Dartmouth College Wind Ensemble’s presentation of An Evening in Metropolis on Feb. 20—a performance that pairs new music with Fritz Lang’s 1927 silent film Metropolis.

Review of Professor Spencer Topel's Palavers (2014)

Professor Spencer Topel's recent performance of Palavers (2014) by String Noise at Roulette in NYC was reviewed in the Arts & Culture section of the Huffington Post by critic Glen Roven.
Here's an excerpt from his review:

"Palavers (2014) was the only piece on the program that, because of its astonishing emotional depth, I felt could easily fill the stage at Carnegie or Avery Fisher Hall...
This piece was 'absolute music' and absolute joy. "

Complete review is on the Huffington Post.

"Listening Machines " (CBC National Radio)

“We imagine that we can close our eyes and relax and enjoy silence, except that, as the composer John Cage wrote about and explored in his own work, there really is no such thing as silence,” says Professor Michael Casey in a CBC radio interview about new consumer electronics that are always listening.

Casey is the James Wright Professor of Music and a professor of computer science.

Songs of the Silk Road (ABC Radio National)

As a guest on ABC Radio National’s “Into the Music,” Dartmouth’s Theodore Levin talks about the history of recording music along the Silk Road. Levin, the Arthur R. Virgin Professor of Music, began journeying along the Silk Road in the 1970s to record local musicians, the story notes.

“When I came to the region in the 1970s I asked around,” says Levin. “I wanted to know, who are the best musicians? Who should I go listen to? And of course, it was hard then. It was the cold war and not everyone felt comfortable inviting an American into their house. But by the end of the ’80s, beginning of the ’90s, those trepidations had dissipated and I was able to gain access to really the finest musicians of the region.”

Listen to the full story, broadcast 1/10/15 by ABC Radio National.

Musical Epiphany Leads to Debut CD by Michael Blum ’15

Michael Blum ’15 was raised in a musical household in Great Neck, N.Y. When he was 9, he learned to play the guitar from his father, Len Blum, a classical guitarist. But it wasn’t until he got to Dartmouth that he realized music could be more than a hobby.

His epiphany took place midway through his first year at Dartmouth, when he played guitar in the orchestra pit for Hairspray, the Department of Theater’s winter 2012 production. The show’s musical director, Joel Mercier, then hired Blum to play in the orchestra pit that summer for the New London (N.H.) Barn Playhouse.

“That was where I decided that music was my calling,” says Blum, a music and cognitive science double major who also sings with the co-ed a cappella group the Dartmouth Dodecaphonics. “Before that first professional gig, I never realized that it was something I could pursue professionally and something that I could really go for.”

Music Is Power: How We Respond (Pacific Standard)

In a Pacific Standard opinion piece, Professor of Music Steve Swayne reflects on the recent “loud music” trial in Florida, the way music can make listeners feel powerful,  and the effect of “second-hand” sound.

“Public nuisance and zoning laws are hamstrung in a world that is supersaturated with second-hand sound,” writes Swayne, a Dartmouth Public Voices fellow. “What is needed instead is a greater awareness of how and when we are the perpetrators of such sound, be it from our cars when we drive around with the windows down or from our homes and offices where our choices of music—and the volume at which we play it—are imposed upon others without their express consent.”

Read the full opinion piece, published 3/5/14 by Pacific Standard.

Faculty Consider Folk Singer Pete Seeger’s Legacy

Folk singer Pete Seeger, who died January 27 at age 94, was no stranger to Dartmouth. He sang at the College a number of times and, say faculty members, has been an influence on their work, and in their lives.

Seeger played 105 Dartmouth Hall in 1957 and by 1968 he was making at least his fourth appearance in Hanover, a benefit on campus for the Upper Valley Human Rights Council.

In between, in April 1961, following his contempt of court conviction by the U.S. House Un-American Activities Committee, campus radio station WDCR devoted special programing to Seeger, in protest of the charges, says Jay Satterfield, Dartmouth Special Collections librarian.

There’s a particular segment of Seeger’s work preserved in the online Dartmouth Jewish Sound Archive, which Professor of Hebrew Studies Lewis Glinert curates with Professor of Engineering Alexander Hartov.

Professor Summers: Rare Sketch Shows How Beethoven Worked

A rare sketch leaf manuscript written by Ludwig van Beethoven—which goes on the auction block January 15 in Amherst, N.H.—is an extremely important piece of evidence about the way the composer worked, according to Associate Professor of Music William Summers.

New Hampshire Public Radio reports that bidding on the sketch leaf, part of Beethoven’s work on the majestic Missa Solemnis, was approaching $400,000 by the early morning of January 15.

“Whatever price this sketch leaf may bring, its true value lies in the visible revelations it provides concerning Beethoven the composer and a work of the highest value in western classical music, the Missa Solemnis,” Summers says.

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