Marcus A. Thompson’s Faculty Recital

Marcus Thompson performs Barry Vercoe's "Synapse", 2011. Credit: Andy Ryan.
Marcus Thompson, Faculty Recital with Bill Cutter, Elena Ruehr and Evan Ziporyn. Credit: L Barry Hetherington/MIT.

Fay Chandler Creativity Grant

About the Project

The 2017-18 Terry and Rick Stone Concert was a Faculty Recital by violist Marcus Thompson, who was named Institute Professor in June 2015. The evening included the Boston premiere of the chamber version of Shadow/Light for solo viola and string orchestra, written for Thompson by MIT composer and Lecturer Elena Ruehr; Vivaldi’s Second Concerto for Viola d’Amore and Strings; Feldman’s Rothko Chapel for soprano, alto, mixed choir, percussion, and solo viola, conducted by Evan Ziporyn, Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor and Faculty Director of CAST; and Vaughan Williams’s Flos Campi for solo viola, small wordless chorus, small string orchestra, flute, oboe, bassoon, and harp, conducted by William Cutter, Director of Choral Ensembles.

The program featured music for solo viola and viola d’amore, with roots in various contemplative or religious traditions, ancient and modern, through which communities today seek unity and healing. The concert coincided with the anniversary season of Professor Thompson’s recital debut at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum on April 4, 1968.

All proceeds from the concert were donated to Artists For Humanity. Founded in 1991, Artists For Humanity’s (AFH) mission is to provide under-resourced urban youth with the keys to self-sufficiency through paid employment in art and design. AFH began with an ambitious and unconventional idea that young people can provide, through their innate talent and vision, marketable creative services to the business community. In 26+ years, AFH has grown to become a leader in youth development and the largest onsite employer of Boston teens, with 250+ youth employed annually in paid apprenticeship in the visual arts and creative industries. 


Marcus Thompson Faculty Recital

viola & viola d’amore
with Bill Cutter, Elena Ruehr and Evan Ziporyn

February 24, 2018 / 8:00pm
MIT Kresge Auditorium, W16
48 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA

Tickets free in advance for MIT students ($5 at the door), $5 suggested donation for MIT faculty/staff/community, and $15 suggested donation for general admission.


Marcus Thompson, violist, has appeared as soloist, recitalist, and in chamber music series throughout the Americas, Europe, and the Far East. He has been a soloist with the orchestras of Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Saint Louis; The National Symphony, the Boston Pops and the Czech National Symphony in Prague. He performed the West Coast Premiere of the Harbison Viola Concerto with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; the Chicago Premiere with the Chicago Sinfoniett, and the Boston Premiere with the New England Conservatory Honors Orchestra.

Thompson has received critical acclaim for performances of the Penderecki Viola Concerto with the MIT Symphony Orchestra in Boston and London, U.K.; performed Hindemith’s Viola D’Amore Concerto, Kammermusik #6, with the Philadelphia Orchestra in Saratoga, the premiere of Olly Wilson’s Viola Concerto with the the Rochester Philharmonic, and the premiere of Elena Ruehr’s new Viola Concerto Shadow/Light with the New Orchestra of Washington. He has premiered and performed many recital or chamber works by MIT composers including Peter Child, Keeril Makan, Charles Shadle, John Harbison and Barry Vercoe’s iconic Synapse for Viola and Computer. His recording of Concerto for Viola, Chamber Orchestra, and Percussion commissioned from composer and organist Anthony Newman in 1985 has just been re-released with five concertos for other instruments by the composer. Thompson’s three recordings with orchestra include concertos by Hindemith, Bartok, Bloch, and Serly, along with works by Francaix, Martin, and Jongen.

Thompson has been a guest of the Audubon, Borromeo, Cleveland, Da Ponte, Emerson, Jupiter, Lydian, Orion, Shanghai and Vermeer String Quartets; and a frequent participant at chamber music festivals in Anchorage, Seattle, Sitka, Los Angeles, Montreal, Edmonton, Rockport (MA and ME), Amsterdam, Dubrovnik and Okinawa.

Born and raised in The Bronx, NYC, Thompson earned the doctorate degree at The Juilliard School. He currently lives in Boston where he is a member of the viola faculty at New England Conservatory of Music and violist and Artistic Director of the Boston Chamber Music Society. Marcus Thompson is the founder of the MIT Chamber Music Society and of the private study program named for MIT alumnus, Cherry Emerson (SM 1941). In 1995 he was named a Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellow and Robert R. Taylor Professor of Music. In 2015 he was appointed Institute Professor.

Learn more about Marcus Thompson on the MIT Music and Theater Arts website
Learn more at the artist’s website: Marcus Thompson

In the Media

“One of the leading violists in the world, and an essential pillar of Boston’s musical community” – The Boston Musical Intelligencer

The Bay State Banner: Violist’s career forever linked to MLK

The Boston Musical Intelligencer: Tribute d’Amore

Boston Magazine: Meet Two of MIT’s New Institute Professors

Boston Globe: Boston Chamber Music Society goes solar