Legendary clarinetist and composer Don Byron forges what he calls “a sound above genre”
Rome Prize recipient, Pulitzer Prize Finalist and 2007 Guggenheim Fellow Don Byron returned to MIT for the Great Clarinet Summit in 2018. He joined by Billy Novick, Evan Ziporyn, Eran Egozy, Anat Cohen, and the MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble & MIT Wind Ensemble, led by Music Director Frederick Harris, Jr. The exciting and eclectic program included Byron’s Concerto for Clarinet and Wind Ensemble, music for jazz and chamber ensembles featuring the clarinet and a special world premiere featuring all guest soloists.
In 2012, Byron came to MIT to collaborate with students and faculty to experiment in the concert hall and the music studio. MIT has a long-standing tradition of commissioning new music and opera that is first performed by professionally led student ensembles in an educational setting.
During his first visit in a series of three performances during the 2012–13 academic year, Byron worked closely with students from the Boston Arts Academy to present a gospel concert with his own New Gospel Quintet in October 2012.
In March 2013, the MIT Wind Ensemble, conducted by Harris, premiered a concerto written by Byron. Byron is well known at MIT, having visited campus to perform with his ensemble and Paul Auster, and he was appointed a Martin Luther King Scholar in 2008–09.
The MIT Wind Ensemble is composed of outstanding MIT student musicians studying a wide variety of fields. Since 2001, the MIT Wind Ensemble has commissioned 20 original works by MIT faculty and internationally renowned composers.
Don Byron, a singular voice in a broad range of musical contexts, is acclaimed as much for his restless creativity as for his unsurpassed virtuosity as a player. Byron has presented a multitude of projects at major music festivals around the world. Launched in 2009, Don Byron’s New Gospel Quintet grows out of his in-depth studies of gospel music.
The Great Clarinet Summit
May 11, 2018 / 8:00pm
MIT Kresge Auditorium, W16
48 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA
This unique event featured renowned clarinetists Anat Cohen, Don Byron, Eran Egozy, Billy Novick and Evan Ziporyn along with the MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble & MIT Wind Ensemble, led by Music Director Frederick Harris, Jr. The exciting and eclectic program includes Byron’s Concerto for Clarinet and Wind Ensemble, music for jazz and chamber ensembles featuring the clarinet, a special world premiere featuring all guest soloists, and a community play-along piece for all attending clarinetists of all ages.
Artist Presentation: Don Byron Composer Forum
March 13, 2013
Byron speaks about his new Clarinet Concerto to be premiered by the MIT Wind Ensemble; Evan Ziporyn, soloist, on March 16 in Kresge Auditorium.
Don Byron New Gospel Quintet
October 27, 2012
Legendary clarinetist Don Byron brings his newest project to MIT. It features the music of gospel pioneer Thomas A. Dorsey. Byron’s album Love, Peace and Soul (released in February 2012 on Savoy Jazz) mixes his original jazz compositions with traditional gospel works. Joining Don Byron and his New Gospel Quintet on stage is a chorus of students from Boston Arts Academy, an innovative public high school for the performing and visual art
Don Byron and Evan Ziporyn: Concerto for Clarinet With the MIT Wind Ensemble Conducted by Frederick Harris Jr. and Kenneth Amis
March 16, 2013
World premiere of Byron’s Concerto for Clarinet; Ives, Fugue in C, Variations on “America”; Mendelssohn, Overture for Winds; Arnold, Four Scottish Dances; Bach, Fugue in G minor (for saxophone ensemble), Sonata No. 1 in G minor, Presto (for clarinet ensemble), arranged by Byron.
Rehearsal with MIT Wind Ensemble
Visit to Martin Mark’s Film Music Course
“He has been consistently voted best clarinetist by critics and readers alike in leading international music journals since being named “Jazz Artist of the Year” by Down Beat in 1992.”
— Cantaloupe Music
“While hardly a radical, Byron is an original voice within the bounds of whatever style he happens to embrace.”
— Blue Note Records
Irish Independent: May is a Fiesta of Jazz with Two Festivals
Theatermania: The Inaugural Doris Duke Artists
Youtube: Live on Soundcheck on WNYC
Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards: Don Byron
The Boston Music Intelligencer: Wind Exhilarations at Kresge
The Arts Fuse: Fuse Jazz Review
Frederick Harris, Director of the MIT Wind Ensemble and the MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble and a Lecturer in Music in Music and Theater Arts
Evan Ziporyn, Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Music in Music and Theater Arts and the Faculty Director of the MIT Center for Art, Science and Technology
The MIT Wind Ensemble