Details on the Strasbourg Rosace by Professor Spencer Topel

The Strasbourg Rosace (Rose) is a stained-glass window at the entrance of the Strasbourg Cathedral in Strasbourg, France. This particular window structure was designed and built under the supervision of Erwin von Steinbach, who was among three builders who guided the project to a completed state. The Strasbourg Rose is a notable masterwork within the cathedral, and exhibits stunning symmetrical grace, consisting of carefully proportioned transitions of darkness and light. Stone provides a negative space between the glass, which under optimal daylight conditions, produces an intense, pure, color.  (read more)

Kate Huffer ’15: Super Conductor

This story was originally published in the Dartmouth College Fund’s fall 2014 issue of “From the GREEN.”

Kate Huffer ’15, a neuroscience and biological chemistry major from Green Bay, Wis., is a student conductor of Dartmouth Youth Winds, a program that brings local middle school students to the Hop to make music with undergraduate members of the Dartmouth Wind Ensemble. She plays oboe in the ensemble and is the group’s librarian. She’s also the drum major of the Dartmouth Marching Band. “It’s fun to cheer for the football team,” she says, “but I’m really there for the music.”  

(read more...)

Hafiz Shabazz Honored at Dartmouth's 2014 Employee Service Awards

Two-hundred-seventy staff members were honored at the Service Awards Banquet on June 17 for their combined service of more than 4,765 years to Dartmouth College. Hosted by the Office of Human Resources, the annual event recognizes staff members who have worked at the College for 10 to more than 45 consecutive years. This year’s festivities included a reception, dinner, music, and a ceremony at Leverone Field House. 

Steve Swayne on Music and Making the World a Better Place

The Dartmouth Professor Talks: Steve Swayne is the Jacob H. Strauss 1922 Professor of Music and chair of Dartmouth’s music department. The author of two books, with two more in the works, Professor Swayne talks to Dartmouth Now about stretching the boundaries of musicology, the morality of MP3s, and how a gay man who once served as an evangelical chaplain redefined his calling.

The Dangers of Overestimating Music Therapy (The Atlantic)

In an opinion piece for The Atlantic, Professor Steve Swayne says that while songs can help dementia patients recall memories, it is important to realize that music may also invoke false memories and confusion. “For someone suffering from dementia, we have no easy way of knowing whether she is genuinely recalling a song and how the recall challenges her present situation, which is decidedly not that earlier time and place,” he writes.

Swayne, the Jacob H. Strauss 1922 Professor of Music and chair of the Department of Music, continues, “We hope that the patient is experiencing joy, but that joy can be laced with anxiety or even terror from being awakened by familiar sounds into an unfamiliar world.”

Read the full opinion piece, published 7/15/14 by The Atlantic.

Dartmouth Wind Ensemble to Perform at Commencement

For 52 years, a professional brass quintet has been hired to play the solemn marches and ceremonial music for the Dartmouth Commencement each spring. At this year’s ceremony on Sunday, June 8, however, the customary quintet will be replaced by student musicians, some in caps and gowns, who will play the processional, recessional, and incidental music, about 90 minutes in all.

The 24 musicians are from the Dartmouth College Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Matthew Marsit, and include graduating students Jeremy Baskin ’13, Th ’14; Mitchell Jacobs ’14; and Ryan McWilliams ’14. The three will be seated to play alongside their colleagues and will rise to collect their diplomas.

Commencement has long featured the Dartmouth College Glee Club, singing Dartmouth’s traditional songs. Last fall, the wind ensemble played as part of the fall Convocation, which opens the academic year. It served as an audition for Commencement, which the group passed, Marsit says.

Liliana Ma ’14: On Research and Thinking Outside the Box

Research is important, says Liliana Ma ’14, because it is a path to opportunities for expanding the current knowledge base. “So many careers and degrees are aimed at applying existing knowledge, which is obviously very important, but research allows us to think outside the box in areas that are of interest to us personally,” she says.

Ma came to Dartmouth from Princeton Junction, N.J., where both her parents are engineers. She seeks balance in her own life through a double major in biomedical engineering and music. “The problem-solving aspects of engineering are very interesting to me, but music is on a totally different side of the spectrum,” she says. Ma plays both violin and piano, and is a member of the Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra.

Reveling in the diverse range of academic and extracurricular possibilities offered by the College, Ma says, “I don’t think there are many other schools with such strong academic research that would have allowed me to double major in engineering and music.”

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.