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Achievements in the arts recognized at Awards Convocation

Three students won awards for their accomplishments in the arts at MIT at the Awards Convocation on Monday, May 13.

The Laya and Jerome B. Wiesner Awards, established by the MIT Council for the Arts to recognize outstanding achievement in and contributions to the arts at MIT, went to Alan E. Pierson of Chicago, a senior in humanities with a concentration in music, and Ivi Acuna, a senior in theater arts from Somerville, MA.

Mr. Pierson was recognized for his "rare combination of raw natural talent and a will towards excellence which enriches the experiences of his peers without ever overwhelming them," said Ascher Davison, graduate student in biology who was quoted on the award citation. Mr. Pierson, who plans to continue his musical studies at the University of Rochester's Eastman School of Music, has been a performer, conductor and composer as well as a producer of many musical events and concerts throughout his four-year career at MIT.

In addition to her work at MIT, Ms. Acuna has studied theater craft around the world-in Great Britain, Brazil, the Philippines and Peru-and has shared her knowledge with her fellow students. She co-founded a theater group whose mission was to bring theater to MIT students at the hours they had free: after midnight. In addition to stage work, she co-directed a student-made film, Speed Harder, which debuted at last month's MIT-Made Media Spectacle, Film and Media Studies' presentation of film and video works by MIT students. Professor Janet Sonenberg called her "one of the most talented actors I have ever been privileged to teach" and Lecturer Thomas DeFrantz remarked that "Ivi is unabashedly devoted to the collaborative process at the heart of theater."

The Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts, established by arts patron Louis Sudler, was awarded to Jeffrey Morrow, a senior in mathematics from Gorham, ME. Mr. Morrow has been president of the MIT Concert Band since his sophomore year, Next House Musical Theater conductor for all four years and has served as research assistant for Professors Ellen T. Harris and Lowell Lindgren. "His skills in scholarly musical analysis and interpretation, composition, and conducting all speak to the well-rounded nature of his involvement with music," his citation said.


Nine students who have made outstanding contributions to the cultural life of MIT were recognized at the annual Music and Theater Arts Ceremony held on May 16.

Edward S. Darna Awards, honoring substantial contributions to the life of the theater at MIT, were presented to Jennifer L. Tsuei, a senior in biology from Elmhurst, NY, and Linda Tsang, a senior in civil and environmental engineering from Baltimore, MD.

Monica Y. Gomi, a senior in theater arts from Cary, NC, won the Joseph D. Everingham Award recognizing a single creative accomplishment in theater arts by a graduating senior for her performance as Ariel in the Shakespeare Ensemble's March 1996 production of The Tempest. The Tech review called her performance "stellar" and particularly praised her "tremendous stage presence."

Elizabeth A. Stoehr, a senior in biology from Centerville, OH, also won a Joseph D. Everingham Award for set design of The Tempest.

The Gregory Tucker Memorial Prize recognizes students for exceptional ability in composition, performance and/or music history studies. This year's winner was Douglas R. Abrams, a senior in physics from Silver Spring, MD, who won the award for his December, 1995 performance of Beethoven's Concerto No. 2 in B flat for Piano and Orchestra with the MIT Symphony. "Abrams impressed with a flexible tonal palette and admirable musical integrity," wrote The Tech.

Flutist Sara P. Gaucher, a senior in chemistry from Rehoboth, MA, who plays flute; trumpeter Susan Shi, a junior in chemical engineering from Palos Verdes Estates, CA; and trumpeter Stephen G. Tistaert, a sophomore in physics from Malibu, CA, received Ragnar and Margaret Naess Awards in recognition of their high level of private music performance study.

Given for the third time this year was the Philip Loew Memorial Award which honors a single creative achievement in music. The recipient was Leonard H. Kim, a senior in music from Davisburg, MI, for his "exceptional talent in composition and performance as well as music/historical studies."

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on June 5, 1996.

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