Nancy Leinonen Howells, an administrative assistant with the Association of Alumni/Alumnae of MIT, leads another life away from her desk. As a soprano with a doctorate in music from the University of Michigan, Dr. Howells is a freelance musician and voice teacher, and has been an active recitalist throughout Michigan and in the greater Boston area.
On Saturday, May 18, at 8pm in Killian Hall, she'll be accompanied by MIT student musicians and local professionals in a concert featuring Crossroads, a piece written specifically for her in 1994 by University of Michigan classmate Matthew Fields.
Knowing that the work for soprano, tenor recorder, harpsichord, guitar, two violins, viola and violoncello required "professional-level musicians with near-virtuoso technique," she recruited four top string players-from the MIT Chamber Music Society. "The quartet of MIT students is excellent, and they're having no trouble with the difficult but rewarding music," Dr. Howells said.
Violinist Kay A. Chen is a junior pursuing an electrical engineering degree as well as a minor in music performance. Edward Wu, principal cellist in the MIT Chamber Orchestra, has won several competitions, including the 1994-1995 MIT Concerto Competition, and will solo with the MIT Symphony next fall. Violist Jennifer Grucza is a sophomore in computer science planning to minor in music. She has participated in a number of ensembles including the University of Illinois Summer Festival Orchestra and the MIT Symphony Orchestra. Freshman Max Chen (violin) plans to study architecture, with a focus on architectural acoustics. He has been a member of several orchestras including the All-Southern California and All-State High School Orchestra in which he served as concertmaster in 1995. Mr. Chen is a member of the Civic Symphony of Boston.
Boston-area performers Brian Moll (harpsichord), Roxanne Layton (tenor recorder) and Tom Noren (guitar) complete the ensemble. The program will also include the premiere of Summer Mischief, also by Dr. Fields, performed by Libor Dudas who was recently featured at the American Guild of Organists annual meeting at All Saints Church in Brookline. Dr. Fields will present a brief lecture at 8pm, prior to the concert, which has been funded by a grant from the Council for the Arts at MIT. For more information, call x3-8246.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 15, 1996.