Hearing Amazônia–The Responsibility of Existence

2021-22

The Amazon rainforest, photographed by Talia Khan '20 during her fieldwork in Santarém, Pará, Brazil.
Novo Airão - State of Amazonas, Brazil.

Exploring the plight of the natural world through Brazilian and Amazonian music

About

Created and led by MIT Sounding Co-Director Frederick Harris Jr., Hearing Amazônia–The Responsibility of Existence is inspired by Brazilian music influenced by the natural world and by 2020 MIT graduate Talia Khan’s research on natural botanical resins and traditional carimbó music in Santarém, Pará, Brazil. Kahn’s research is made possible by a MIT-Brazil/MISTI Sun internship grant.

Building upon experiences with 2020-21 CAST Virtual Visiting Artists Luciana Souza and Anat Cohen, this multi-year project launches with a special concert drawing attention to the urgency of the climate crisis. Portugal-born vocalist-composer Sara Serpa and MIT Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Music Evan Ziporyn join an array of MIT musicians (MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble, MIT Wind Ensemble, and MIT Vocal Jazz Ensemble) to present a unique program of Brazilian music.

The concert featured music from Amazônia and works by Antônio Carlos Jobim, Hermeto Pascoal, Egberto Gismonti, and Chiquinha Gonzaga, arranged by Guillermo Klein and Evan Ziporyn.

The concert included talks by Talia Khan, MIT SB ’20 and future MS/PhD Candidate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, on her research in Brazil, and Maritta R. von Bieberstein Koch-Weser, who leads the “Amazonia em Transformação: História e Perspectivas” program at the Institute of Advanced Studies of the University of São Paulo, Brazil. In this context she spearheads work on the establishment of the world’s first Rainforest Business School. 

Regarding her talk, Maritta Koch-Weser offers the following introduction:

“Biodiversity is the greatest treasure of Amazonian people and all Brazilians. A new path is possible (and most urgent) with ambitious science-based development of a standing-forest bioeconomy. The people living in this region look for sustainable social and economic progress. Renewed respect for Brazil’s environmental and indigenous protection legislation and building back nature on vast deforested lands could make a huge and positive difference. The reset has started.”

Schedule

Past Events

Performance: Hearing Amazônia–The Responsibility of Existence
Saturday, November 6, 2021 / 8pm
Kresge Auditorium, MIT Building W16
48 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA

Portugal-born vocalist-composer Sara Serpa and MIT Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Music Evan Ziporyn join an array of MIT musicians (MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble, MIT Wind Ensemble, and MIT Vocal Jazz Ensemble) to present a unique program of Brazilian music.

Featuring music from Amazônia and works by Antônio Carlos Jobim, Hermeto Pascoal, Egberto Gismonti, and Chiquinha Gonzaga, arranged by Guillermo Klein and Evan Ziporyn. 

The concert included talks by Talia Khan, MIT SB ’20 and future MS/PhD Candidate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, on her research in Brazil, and Maritta R. von Bieberstein Koch-Weser, who leads the “Amazonia em Transformação: História e Perspectivas” program at the Institute of Advanced Studies of the University of São Paulo, Brazil.

Collaborators

Collaborators on the multi-year Hearing Amazônia project include:

Frederick Harris, Jr., Director of Wind and Jazz Ensembles, MIT Music and Theater Arts

Anat Cohen, CAST Visiting Artist

Genevieve Dempsey, Lecturer in World Music, MIT Music and Theater Arts

Talia Khan ’20

Guillermo Klein, CAST Visiting Artist

Sara Serpa, CAST Visiting Artist

Luciana Souza, CAST Visiting Artist

Evan Ziporyn, MIT Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Music

MISTI Brazil connects students and faculty with teaching, research, and industry in Brazil

Credits

Hearing Amazônia–The Responsibility of Existence is presented by MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology and MIT Music and Theater Arts and includes research conducted with support from a MIT-Brazil/MISTI Sun internship grant.

View the Hearing Amazônia digital concert program.