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Composition students tune up for finals

Some professors require problem sets, others give oral examinations, while still others assign papers and essays. Edward Cohen, senior lecturer in music, assigns a different kind of final project for students in his music composition course (21M 351): a public concert of works they've composed during the term.

This semester's concert, to be presented on Friday, May 17, at 4pm in Killian Hall will showcase "a variety of approaches and styles," said Mr. Cohen. As part of the course requirements, he said, students are also responsible for selecting musicians and scheduling rehearsal time. "It's part of being a composer," he explained.

The performance features John de Guzman's unusual string quartet-a performance piece of sorts. The junior in chemical engineering calls his composition "a comedy with good music, cigarettes, a joint, a cello player getting high, a first violin walking out on the second violin's movement in sheer disgust, an impressive showdown of talent by the two violins at the end of the piece and more."

Leonard Kim, a senior music major, will present "Faschingsschwank: Fragments of an Opera," an allegorical treatment of the relationship between Robert and Clara Schumann. This unstaged mini-opera features three singers and a small ensemble in which Mr. Kim will play cello and piano and sing two tenor roles.

Mathematics and music major Jeff Morrow, winner of the 1996 Sudler Prize in the Arts, named his piece Binaries for Solo Clarinet, "because both movements are in binary form, not because of anything nerdy." Asher Davison, a graduate student in biology, will perform the work.

The concert also includes a more traditional string quartet by senior music major Solomon Douglas and piano pieces by Christopher Merrill, a senior in electrical engineering and computer science. For more information, call x3-2826.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 15, 1996.

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