2019-20 MIT Sounding


March 13, 2020 / 8:00pm
Kresge Auditorium, MIT Building W16
48 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA

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MITSO MOVIES MACHOVER is a tribute to the art of film music past, present, and future, from classic Hollywood soundtracks to new works that immersively combine live music with visual images. It also marks the first time genre-breaking 2016 Composer of the Year and Muriel R. Cooper Professor of Music and Media Tod Machover’s boundary-pushing orchestral music will be performed by the MIT Symphony Orchestra (MITSO).

The concert features the US premiere of Machover’s A Toronto Symphony, the first of his celebrated City Symphony series. It is a musical and visual portrait of Toronto, created by Machover in a beyond-crowd-sourced collaboration with the greater Toronto community. In keeping with the site-specific ethos of the work, Machover worked with input from the student musicians of MITSO to further customize the piece for this performance. 

The program also includes the world premiere of renowned composer and clarinetist Don Byron’s “Three Pieces from the Saul Bass Project”: Something Wild, The Shrike, Walk On the Wild Side, which will accompany classic film noir title sequences by the legendary Saul Bass. The program also includes music by John Williams (“Devil’s Dance” from The Witches of Eastwick), Angelo Badalamenti’s brooding overtures to David Lynch films, and the US premiere of Harry Manfredini’s Friday the 13th Suite.


Image: Evan Ziporyn conducts MITSO at Iva Bittova MIT Sounding concert, October 2019. Credit: Caroline Alden.

Dark Energy: A Space Opera

The Invisible College Public Concert
May 2, 2020
MIT Chapel, Building W15
48 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA

As the 2018–20 Dasha Zhukova Distinguished Visiting Artist, Matthew Ritchie creates a new transmedia work in collaboration with a multidisciplinary team of MIT artists, faculty, and students. This new collaborative work takes inspiration from the “invisible college” of MIT: the interactions, discussions, and thought processes that take place outside of the formal classroom and administrative structure of the Institute.

The Invisible College takes shape as a site-specific installation and VR and auditory experience. The visuals and soundscape draw on datasets representing scales of the universe—from nanoparticles to dark energy—reinterpreted by Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs), a class of machine learning systems.

Dark Energy: A Space Opera features local musicians performing new compositions by Evan Ziporyn and Christine Southworth.


More about Matthew Ritchie at MIT.


Image: Rendering of the Invisible College project, by Matthew Ritchie.

The Music of Glenn Branca Live: The Glenn Branca Ensemble/Ambient Orchestra

September 20, 2019 / 8:00pm
MIT Kresge Auditorium, W16
48 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA

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“When science fiction writers describe the ‘Music of the Future,’ one can imagine Branca’s music – shimmering and heavenly, and stark, physical, and austere.”– Lynden Barber, Melody Maker

This concert honors legendary composer Glenn Branca (October 6, 1948 – May 13, 2018) and the continuing work of the Glenn Branca Ensemble to expand what is possible in contemporary music. Branca’s 45 years of work as a composer included music for experimental rock bands, large ensemble instrumentals for electric guitars, symphonies for both electric instrumentation and acoustic orchestras, chamber ensembles, an opera, a ballet, choral works, and music for film, dance, theater, and installation art. His impact is also felt in the influence he had on artists as diverse as Sonic Youth, David Bowie, Swans, and many other composers and sound artists. The Glenn Branca Ensemble, led by Reg Bloor, concertmaster and Branca’s right hand since 2000, will perform the soon-to-be-released The Third Ascension and Branca’s last composition, “The Light (For David)”.  Also on the program will be two of Branca’s rarely performed orchestral works, Free Form and the first movement of Symphony No. 14: 2,000,000,000 Light Years from Home, performed by the Ambient Orchestra under the direction of Evan Ziporyn.

CAST Blog:

MIT Sounding Presents Both Sides of Composer Glenn Branca

More about the Glenn Branca Ensemble at MIT.


Lochan Rijal’s काँचो आवाज (Raw Sounds)

October 5, 2019 / 6:30pm
Reception to follow
Lobdell, MIT Building W20
84 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA

Free and open to the public

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Lochan Rijal, an award winning multi-instrumentalist singer and songwriter from Nepal, brings काँचो आवाज (Raw Sounds), a public concert of Nepali music featuring original compositions played on guitar and traditional Nepali instruments.

Rijal presents an exquisite collection of songs that celebrate Nepali’s traditional musical heritage in a contemporary world to create a unique and rich blend of sounds. काँचो आवाज also features Sarangi and the nearly extinct Gandharva lute arbaja that Lochan Rijal discovered during his research in Nepal.

In काँचो आवाज, Rijal experiments with new dimensions of sound while encompassing his own literary style to tell stories of everyday life in Nepal including the premiere of पागलखाना को साँचो, a song about social inclusion.

CAST Blog:

Musician Lochan Rijal Brings the Music of Nepal to MIT

More about Lochan Rijal at MIT.

The Heart is a Bell: Iva Bittová with the MIT Symphony Orchestra

October 10, 2019 / 8:00pm
MIT Kresge Auditorium, W16
48 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA

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Iva Bittová performs the US premiere of her album Zvon with the MIT Symphony Orchestra (MITSO) and guests Keala Kaumeheiwa, bass; Phil Sargent, guitar; Austin McMahon, drums; and Venkatesh Sivaraman, piano. Evan Ziporyn, faculty director of CAST and professor of Music and Theater Arts, conducts the opening concert of MITSO’s season as part of the 2019–20 MIT Sounding series.


Program includes:

Vítězslava Kaprálová, Suita Rustica

Evan Ziporyn, Frog’s Eye

Iva Bittová, Zvon (US Premiere)
with Iva Bittová, solo voice; and jazz combo featuring Keala Keumeheiwa

Composed over 75 years apart, Kapralova’s Suita Rustica and Bittová’s Zvon pull from their parallel yet distinct musical and cultural backgrounds to create orchestral tapestries merging Czech folk art with urbane modernity. Together they exemplify the ongoing ways in which composition can fiercely assert identity and difference.

CAST Blog:

The Heart is a Bell: Iva Bittová Makes Joyful Music with the MIT Symphony

More about Iva Bittová at MIT.


DJ Septet

the wave function collapses
harbanger DJ Septet Concert

January 16, 2020
MIT Building W97
345 Vassar Street, Cambridge, MA

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harbanger (pronounced “harbinger”), a turntable septet created by Visiting Artists Harry Allen, Hip-Hop Activist & Media Assassin, and X-Ecutioners’ DJ Rob Swift, in a groundbreaking concert featuring DJs Axis Pro, Bobby Bangers, Don Santos, Emoh Betta, Menace, Slipwax, and Treeman debuting compositions by Breakmaster Cylinder, DJ Treeman, and DJ Don Santos.

The concert will also include selections from the new eponymous album by Da Odd Couple (Rob Swift and Mista Sinista), an energetic, psychedelic collection of scratch-based beats that (head) nod to the future while embracing the genre’s roots.

More about the DJ Septet at MIT.

JS Bach: Complete Cello Suites
Johnny Gandelsman, violin

February 8, 2020 / 7:00pm
Kresge Auditorium, MIT Building W16
48 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA

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Following up on his celebrated debut recording of JS Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas, Grammy award-winning violinist and producer Johnny Gandelsman (Brooklyn Rider, Silkroad Ensemble) returns to MIT with his new project, presenting Bach’s complete cello suites on the violin.


More about Johnny Gandelsman at MIT.

Image: Johnny Gandelsman. Credit: Shervin Lainez.