New Resonances: Iva Bittová in Concert

Iva Bittová performs with EVIYAN during Exploring Improsition concert at MIT, 2016. Credit: L. Barry Hetherington.

October 15, 2022 / 7:00pm
Kresge Auditorium, MIT Building W16
48 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA

Iva Bittová, vocals and violin
2022 MIT CAST Mellon Distinguished Visiting Artist

Featuring:

MIT Vocal Jazz Ensemble
Laura Grill Jaye, Director

Leo Eguchi, cello

Natalie Lin Douglas, violin

Reynaliz Herrera, percussion

Sue-Ellen Hershman-Tcherepnin, flute

Amelia Hollander Ames, viola

Charles Overton, harp

Emma Terrell, percussion

Evan Ziporyn, clarinet

Program

Iva Bittová, vocals and violin


Kvítí milodějné (Magical Flowers)
Fuč větříčku (The Apple)

Leoš Janáček (1854-1928)

Natalie Lin Douglas, violin


From 44 Duos for Two Violins:
2. Kalamajkó (Maypole Dance)
5. Tót nóta (Slovakian Song)
11. Gyermekrengetéskor (Cradle Song)
32. Máramarosi tánc (Dance from Máramaros)
31. Újévköszöntő (New Year’s Greeting)
14. Párnás tánc (Pillow Dance)

Béla Bartók (1881-1945)

Natalie Lin Douglas, violin


Hrál kdosi na hoboj (Someone played the oboe)
Boží dárek (Gift from God)

Iva Bittová

Natalie Lin Douglas, violin


Divná Slečinka (Strange young lady)

Iva Bittová


Bim Bam
The Painters in Paris
Te me gel’om 
 

Iva Bittová

MIT Vocal Jazz Ensemble
Laura Grill Jaye, cello and VJE director


Lomir sich iberbetn (Let Us Make Up)

Traditional based on a Yiddish melody, adapted by Iva Bittová

MIT Vocal Jazz Ensemble
Laura Grill Jaye, VJE director


Majkomašmalon (based on a Yiddish text)

Vladimír Godár (b.1956)
Arranged by Iva Bittová and VJE

MIT Vocal Jazz Ensemble
Laura Grill Jaye, cello and VJE director


Farewell

Music by Iva Bittová
Lyrics by Chris Cutler
Arranged by Iva Bittová & the ensemble

Reynaliz Herrera, percussion
Sue-Ellen Hershman-Tcherepnin, flute
Amelia Hollander Ames, viola
Evan Ziporyn, clarinet


Folk Songs

Black is the colour (USA)
I wonder as I wander (USA)
Loosin yelav (Armenia) 
Rossignolet du bois (France) 
A la femminisca (Sicily, Italy) 
La donna ideale (Italy) 
Ballo (Italy) 
Motettu de Tristura (Sardinia, Italy) 
Malorous qu’o un fenno (Auvergne, France) 
Lo fiolairé (Auvergne, France) 
Azerbaijan love song (Azerbaijan)

Luciano Berio (1925-2003)

Leo Eguchi, cello
Reynaliz Herrera, percussion
Sue-Ellen Hershman-Tcherepnin, flute
Amelia Hollander Ames, viola
Charles Overton, harp
Emma Terrell, percussion
Evan Ziporyn, clarinet

About the Program

During the totalitarian era in Czechoslovakia the Czech and Slovak languages were used in the media and spoken at home. Some older people also spoke German. The official foreign language taught in school was Russian. Our relatives were spread out over the entire country and my favorite time was the visits each summer to the family on my father’s side. They lived in a small village near the Hungarian border where many people enhanced their lives by playing music. Those summers, especially experiencing traditional Moravian, Slovak, and Hungarian folk music, are reflected in my work.

After the separation between the Czech and Slovak Republics in 1993, many cultural bonds perished and the younger generations were no longer able to speak both languages.

Every time that I go on tour in Slovakia, I feel at home and the audience gives me a welcoming and appreciative response. I have been particularly inspired by the Moravian folk poetry in songs (Leoš Janáček) and Slovak songs (Béla Bartók), musical gems that are at the top of my repertoire.

Being part of a musical culture, not only as a musician but also as a listener, nourished my sense of being in tune with the earth. Every moment is a new vibration, a new resonation, new ideas, and new messages to the universe. After all my educational experiences it is the live creative musical process that brings power to the planet.

When I was 20 my father, Koloman Bitto, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. He could not exist anymore without music, playing his double bass, cimbalom, trumpet, and other instruments. He died three years later and I decided to follow his musical path.

It is the best way for me to express myself, to communicate, to understand myself and others. It is a healing process just to work with the voice and violin, and to practice every day. This musical language sometimes means more than our world, it can open the sky.

For many years, I have worked in a range of musical styles, including jazz, rock, folk, classical, and opera. Deciding on a label for my style of music is far from settled. Whatever it is, many listeners consider it original. It has always been everyday life that inspires my music and interpretations. Its inspiration has been total silence and an absolutely positive atmosphere. Those are the most important conditions and surroundings in which my ideas spring to life. I believe they have a significant impact on my music.

– Iva Bittová

MIT Vocal Jazz Ensemble

Laura Grill Jaye, Director

Adanna Abraham-Igwe ’24
Alex Boccon-Gibod ’22, G Julia Cha ’18 Autumn Geil ’21 Emily (MJ) Jin ’25 Gabe Kane ’21 Talia Khan, G Raima Mahmud ’23 Brindha Rathinasabapathi ’24 Tiandra Ray, G Ilaisaane Summers ’24

The MIT Vocal Jazz Ensemble (VJE) was founded by Institute Professor John Harbison in the spring of 2011 as the first and only vocal jazz performance group at the Institute. Boston-based vocalist-arranger-composer Laura Grill Jaye is the current director and coach of VJE, which has quickly risen to high recognition not only on campus but throughout Boston. Performance opportunities have included a professional recording with the MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble of the MIT school song and “A Rhumba for Rafael Reif,” as well as an appearance with the Boston Pops at Boston’s Symphony Hall. Professor Harbison has arranged many pieces for VJE over the years.

VJE’s debut recording Vocal Jazz at MIT: Store-Bought Hair, was released in 2015. Past collaborations have included performances with Jacob Collier, Dominique Eade, and Luciana Souza. Under the direction of Laura Grill Jaye, VJE has participated and earned high praise in a special residency with Audra McDonald, and has collaborated and recorded with The MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble.

VJE sings ensemble and solo jazz music. It performs with jazz instrumentalists on and off campus, including a concert in Killian Hall at the end of each semester. The ensemble also offers members opportunities for arranging and songwriting. The MIT Vocal Jazz Ensemble is coordinated and overseen by Dr. Fred Harris.

For more information, visit mta.mit.edu/music/performance/mit-vocal-jazz-ensemble

About the Performers and Contributors

Iva Bittová

Iva Bittová was born in 1958 in Bruntál in northern Moravia, Czechoslovakia, located in the present-day Czech Republic.

Bittová was immersed in a musical environment from a young age, highly influenced along with her sisters by their father’s ability to pick up and play almost any instrument in both classical and folk styles. Bittová graduated from the Music Conservatory in Brno with a degree in drama and music, and rekindled an adolescent interest in playing the violin while she was working full time in theater.

In 1982, Bittová initiated her career as an instrumentalist and composer by studying with Professor Rudolf Šťastný, the primarius (first violin) of the Moravian String Quartet. The violin has been her passion and the most inspiring musical instrument in her professional life ever since.

After living in the countryside near Brno for 25 years, Bittová relocated to the United States in 2007, settling in upstate New York with her youngest son. She studied at the Academy of Ancient Music/Musicology of Masaryk University in Brno, earning her bachelor’s degree in 2015 and her master’s degree in 2018.

Iva Bittová. Courtesy of the artist.

More information about Iva Bittová at MIT:
Center for Art, Science & Technology

Website: www.bittova.com

Leo Eguchi

Described by the New York Times as “copiously skilled and confident,” Boston-based cellist Leo Eguchi has performed as soloist and chamber musician in leading venues ranging from Afghanistan to Australia.

In 2015, Eguchi co-founded the Willamette Valley Chamber Music Festival, which has paired wine and music for seven summer seasons of consistently sold out concerts in Oregon wineries. That same year, he also co-founded the Boston-based Sheffield Chamber Players, which brings world-class chamber music into small intimate venues for over 40 performances each season.

Leo Eguchi is on the faculty of Boston College, an affiliated artist with MIT, and holds degrees from Boston University and the University of Michigan in both music and physics.

Website: www.leoeguchi.com

Laura Grill Jaye

Laura Grill Jaye is the Director of the MIT Vocal Jazz Ensemble (VJE). Founded by institute professor John Harbison, the VJE torch was passed to Grill Jaye in 2017.

Grill Jaye’s original music combines her jazz mentality with her affinity for folk and rock storytelling. The Boston Globe said, “It’s jump jazz, it’s barroom rock, it’s chamber folk, and it’s downright infectious.”

Laura Grill Jaye is half of the musical-writing duo “Grill and Chowder” with Shayok Misha Chowdhury. Their work has been seen or developed at Ars Nova, New York Theatre Workshop, SPACE on Ryder Farm, NYMF, HERE Arts Center, and Joe’s Pub at the Public Theatre. They are winners of a 2021 Jonathan Larson Grant from the American Theatre Wing.

Biography: MIT Music and Theater Arts

Reynaliz Herrera

Award-winning Mexican born and Boston based percussionist and composer, Reynaliz holds a MM from The Boston Conservatory, and has performed (including her own works) in the U.S, Mexico, Cuba, Canada, and Europe. In 2012, she created IDEAS, NOT THEORIES, a theatrical percussion company for unconventional instruments (like bicycles) featuring her own musical works, performed in venues, like International Festival of Arts & Ideas (CT), Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, Currents New Media Festival (NM), Harvard Museums, Flea Theater NY, National Arts Center of Canada, NYU/KoSA Day of Percussion. Reynaliz has also collaborated with The National Arts Center Orchestra (soloist), Danza Contemporanea En Concierto in MX and Double Edge Theater Company.

Sue-Ellen Hershman-Tcherepnin

Sue-Ellen Hershman-Tcherepnin first appeared with the Boston Symphony Orchestra as flute soloist at the age of 16, and has performed throughout Europe, Latin America, South America, Russia, China, and the US as both soloist and recitalist. Since 1980 she has performed as a duo with pianist David Witten. Deeply committed to new music, Sue-Ellen has given many world premieres, including flute concertos by Tom Flaherty and William Eldridge, the latter written in memory of her late husband, composer Ivan Tcherepnin. She has been flutist with Dinosaur Annex Contemporary Music Ensemble since 1985. Hershman-Tcherepnin is both founding member and flutist of Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, and has performed locally with the Boston Symphony, Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, Boston Lyric Opera Company and in Broadway productions in Boston’s musical theaters. Since 1991 Sue-Ellen has served as principal flute instructor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she also directs MIT’s Flute Ensemble, The Institooters.

Amelia Hollander Ames

Amelia Hollander Ames plays Principal Viola with the Orchestra of Indian Hill and is violist of the Craft Ensemble and the RAHA Duo. She performs frequently with local ensembles such as the Ambient Orchestra, BMOP, and the Symphonies of Lexington, New Bedford, Rhode Island, and Portland.

Hollander Ames founded the chamber music collective Con Vivo Music in her hometown of Jersey City, NJ. She teaches strings in the Somerville public schools and at Point Counterpoint in Vermont. Past engagements include the Israel Contemporary String Quartet and Tel Aviv Soloists, as well projects in Mexico with Cultures in Harmony and Cuerdas Oaxaca.

Natalie Lin Douglas

New Zealand-born violinist, educator, and arts entrepreneur Natalie Lin Douglas is the founder and artistic director of Kinetic, the Houston-based conductorless ensemble. Committed to amplifying diverse, under-represented, and newly composed classical music through flexible chamber and orchestral ensemble performances, Kinetic has been coined “Houston’s indie, conductorless orchestra” (Houston Public Media) and praised for its “visually arresting… brilliantly executed” performances (Arts+Culture Texas). Under her leadership, Lin Douglas has commissioned and premiered numerous works by composers of our time, including Karim Al-Zand, Daniel Temkin, Giancarlo Latta, Alexandra T. Bryant, and Daniel J. Knaggs.

In 2020, Lin Douglas was appointed Assistant Professor in MIT Music and Theater Arts, where she teaches Chamber Music and Advanced Music Performance.

Biography: MIT Music and Theater Arts

Charles Overton

Originally from Richmond, Virginia, Charles Overton moved to Boston in 2012 to attend the Berklee College of Music where he was the first harpist to be accepted to Berklee’s Global Jazz Institute.

Since graduating in 2016, Overton has played in festivals abroad including the Harpes au Max festival in Ancenis, while locally frequenting jazz series like Jazz at Indian Hill and Mandorla Music’s Dot Jazz Series. As a classical musician, he appears frequently with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and has performed with the Walden Chamber Players and Collage New Music, as well as at the Marlboro Music Festival.

Charles Overton resides in Boston where he serves on the faculty of the Boston Conservatory at Berklee College of Music.

Emma Terrell

Emma Terrell holds her Bachelor’s in Music from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University and is pursuing a Master’s in Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Terrell deeply believes in using music as a vehicle for social change and has led various community-based music education organizations around the world, including Musicians Without Borders at Kigali Music School in Rwanda, the Central American Percussion Festival at Fundación Danilo Pérez in Panamá, and El Sistema San Salvador with MusAid in El Salvador.

Currently based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Emma Terrell maintains an active freelance schedule consisting of teaching and performing throughout the New England area with Gamelan Galak Tika, the Community Music Center of Boston, and the Cape Ann Symphony.

MIT Vocal Jazz Ensemble

Adanna Abraham-Igwe ’24
Alex Boccon-Gibod, G
Julia Cha ’18
Autumn Geil ’21
Emily (MJ) Jin ’25
Gabe Kane ’21
Talia Khan, G
Raima Mahmud ’23
Brindha Rathinasabapathi ’24
Ilaisaane Summers ’24

The MIT Vocal Jazz Ensemble (VJE) was founded by Institute Professor John Harbison in the spring of 2011 as the first and only vocal jazz performance group at the Institute. Boston-based vocalist-arranger-composer Laura Grill Jaye is the current director and coach of VJE, which has quickly risen to high recognition not only on campus but throughout Boston. Performance opportunities have included a professional recording with the MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble of the MIT school song and “A Rhumba for Rafael Reif,” as well as an appearance with the Boston Pops at Boston’s Symphony Hall. Professor Harbison has arranged many pieces for VJE over the years.

VJE’s debut recording Vocal Jazz at MIT: Store-Bought Hair, was released in 2015. Past collaborations have included performances with Jacob Collier, Dominique Eade, and Luciana Souza. Under the direction of Laura Grill Jaye, VJE has participated and earned high praise in a special residency with Audra McDonald, and has collaborated and recorded with The MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble.

VJE sings ensemble and solo jazz music. It performs with jazz instrumentalists on and off campus, including a concert in Killian Hall at the end of each semester. The ensemble also offers members opportunities for arranging and songwriting. The MIT Vocal Jazz Ensemble is coordinated and overseen by Dr. Fred Harris.

For more information, visit mta.mit.edu/music/performance/mit-vocal-jazz-ensemble

Evan Ziporyn

Evan Ziporyn (b. 1959, Chicago) makes music at the crossroads between genres and cultures, east and west. He studied at Eastman, Yale, and UC Berkeley with Joseph Schwantner, Martin Bresnick, and Gerard Grisey. He first traveled to Bali in 1981, studying with Madé Lebah, Colin McPhee’s 1930s musical informant and returned on a Fulbright in 1987.

Evan Ziporyn is Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Music at MIT the Faculty Director of the MIT Center for Art Science and Technology.

Biography: MIT Music and Theater Arts
Website: www.ziporyn.com

Lyrics and Translations

About the Presenting Organizations

MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST) 

CAST creates new opportunities for art, science, and technology to thrive as interrelated, mutually informing modes of exploration, knowledge, and discovery. CAST’s multidisciplinary platform presents performing and visual arts programs, supports research projects for artists working with science and engineering labs, and sponsors symposia, classes, workshops, design studios, lectures, and publications. The Center is funded in part by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

For more information, please contact cast@mit.edu or visit arts.mit.edu/cast

MIT Music and Theater Arts (MTA)

The Music and Theater Arts Section of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences annually affords 1,500 students per year the opportunity to experience the unique language and process of the performing arts. Faculty and teaching staff, informed by their ongoing professional activities, help students understand art’s demand for rigor and discipline and its non-quantitative standards of excellence and beauty.

For more information, please contact mta@mit.edu or visit mta.mit.edu

Future Performances: Join us again!

Special thanks to
Natalie Lin Douglas
Fred Harris
Laura Grill Jaye
Tony DiBartolo and Mike McKenzie
For MTA: Michelle Carmichael, Luis Cuco Daglio, Lauren Dickel, Jacob Means, Amy Shi, Andy Wilds
For MIT E33 Productions: Cici Mao, Audrey Lee
For CAST and Arts at MIT: Directors Leila Kinney and Evan Ziporyn, Stacy DeBartolo, Lydia Brosnahan, Heidi Erickson, Katherine Higgins, Liz Keller-Tripp, Tim Lemp, Danna Solomon, Leah Talatinian, Andrea Volpe, Susan Wilson
MIT Campus Activities Complex