March 27, 2014
Greetings from the Boston College Music Department. It is a pleasure to once again share with you some highlights from the past year in our department.
Officially, we have observed the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Music Department. One sign of our success is that we've been too busy to really celebrate. The highlight of this past year was the Sesquicentennial Concert at Symphony Hall in March, with the Chorale, the BC Orchestra, BC bOp!, and the Wind Ensemble performing. You can hear the entire concert on the Music Department website. Don't miss Professor T. Frank Kennedy's introduction of actor and BC alum Chris O'Donnell '92, who Fr. Kennedy taught in Perspectives. For the concert, Associate Professor Jeremiah McGrann produced a pamphlet, "Musical Themes from the History of Boston College." Who knew that music was one of the first three student organizations or that a BC orchestra dates to 1891? John Finney's 20th anniversary as conductor of the Chorale was celebrated at a surprise (for him) reception after the concert with many alums, including some of the first music majors, in attendance. John was deeply moved.
Part-time faculty Barbara Gawlick (wife of Assistant Professor Ralf Yusuf Gawlick) started an outreach program for BC students to teach free instrumental lessons at local Boston schools. The Arts and Social Responsibility Project provided start-up funds, and others continue to donate to buy needed instruments to lend to students.
In November, Professor Michael Noone presented a concert with his Ensemble Plus Ultra to celebrate the Burns Library acquisition of an extremely rare choir book of 16th-century Masses. One of his projects with students is to build a website featuring rare music volumes from the Burns Library. Read more about their work in Burns.
The Chamber Music Society under Assistant Professor Sandra Hebert continues to grow. It now provides several possibilities for vocalists: Opera Workshop, Singing for the Stage, vocal chamber music and, new this fall, Liederabend, which focuses on solo songs. In spring 2013, over 100 students participated in the various vocal and instrumental groups!
The Society sponsored The Callithumpian Consort, a fabulous contemporary music ensemble, in a residency at BC. Besides a concert of their own, they presented avant-garde, experimental music by John Cage and John Zorn, with BC student performers. Search "Callithumpians" on the BC website for a series of articles on the residency.
Both Professors Ralf Yusuf Gawlick and Thomas Oboe Lee had notable premieres. Ralf completed Kollwitz-Konnex (…im Frieden seiner Hände), a song-cycle that sets diary entries of the great German graphic artist Käthe Kollwitz. Kollwitz-Konnex received its premiere at Boston College in April followed by a performance at the Käthe Kollwitz Museum in Cologne, Germany, with the artist's grandchildren in attendance. The work was the centerpiece of a collaborative symposium by the Fine Arts, German Studies, and Music Departments on the life and works of Käthe Kollwitz. Most recently, Ralf released the world premiere recording of At the still point of the turning world for solo violoncello on Musica Omnia.
Tom contributed to BC's Sesquicentennial with a new choral work, God's Grandeur, setting poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J. The Chorale premiered the work in November.
The department welcomes Professor Ann Lucas, expanding our horizons into music traditions of the Persian- and Arabic-speaking Near East. She received her MA and PhD in ethnomusicology from UCLA and joined our faculty after completing postdoctoral appointments at Brandeis and Harvard Universities. Her primary research focuses on the history of music in Iran and the relationship between significant cultural upheaval and musical change over epochs. Ann is also an avid music performer on the nay, a reed flute that exists in the Middle East in several different variations. She intends to establish a world music ensemble at BC.
The department continues to have success sending recent majors to graduate programs in composition and jazz performance (New England Conservatory), music education (University of Texas Austin), musicology (University of Durham, England), and cultural studies (University of Chicago).
Emily Rose Walsh '07 returned to perform a superb program of works by composers from Bach to Poulenc and a wonderful virtuoso piece by Alexander Alabiev in Gasson 100. It was a great opportunity for us all to catch up with Emily and her husband, Adam Kinson '07. Emily and Adam are surely living proof that music and love go hand in hand at BC!
Lindsay Albert '05 is teaching Keyboard Skills in the department, a corequisite for our required theory courses. Lindsay is fast developing a reputation as a superb accompanist in the Boston area.
The department looks forward to the next 25 years. Check out the Music Department website to keep informed, and contact us with what you're up to.
Chair, Music Department