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New MIT horn quintet to debut

Most musicians aren't in the business for the dough, but MIT Lecturer Jean Rife's newly formed horn quintet is quite literally earning its daily bread. The Boston Horns will debut at MIT on Wednesday, March 21 at 8pm in Killian Hall, followed by a private concert at Iggy's Bakery in Cambridge the following day.

Any way you slice it, Iggy's seems an unlikely venue, but Ms. Rife recounted how her troupe of musicians secured a gig at the noted local bread shop.

One day, she recalled, she found a random message in her mailbox at Longy School of Music, where she is also a faculty member. The note was from Predrag ("Pedja") Ivanovic, formerly a professor at Belgrade Conservatory and principal horn with various orchestras in Europe and Korea. Ms. Rife invited him over to play duets.

"Early in my friendship with Pedja, I discovered he was staying with his cousin who turned out to be Igor, owner of Iggy's Bakery," said Ms. Rife. "I was thrilled. I love Iggy's bread."

She was also happy to play with Mr. Ivanovic and eventually invited other fellow Boston-area horn players to join them. David Ohanian (former member of the Canadian Brass, Empire Brass and Boston Symphony), Kevin Owen (principal horn, Rhode Island Philharmonic) and Ken Pope (Boston free-lance horn player) had joined Ms. Rife over the course of about 20 years to read music for fun.

"I started by inviting Ken over to play trios," she said. "Then we invited Kevin to play quartets."

When Mr. Ivanovic moved to Florida for a year, they asked Mr. Ohanian to sit in for him. "That was so much fun that we asked David to join us for the concert... [but] then we had to find music for five horns," Ms. Rife said.

Ludmilla Ivanovic, Igor's wife, will provide the food -- including bread -- for the reception after the MIT concert.

The Boston Horns' program includes New England Conservatory composer Lior Navok's Four Pieces for Solo Horn, Hindemith's Sonata for Four Horns and pieces for four and five horns by Bach, Brahms and Pezel. Ms. Rife, who has worked at MIT since 1974, will be featured in Harvard composer Kurt Stallman's Fantasy for Solo Horn and Tape, in which she performs a duet with a CD of electronic sounds.

The new ensemble will finish its busy debut week by presenting the opening concert at the New England Horn Workshop at the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford on Friday, March 23.

For more information, call x3-2826.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 21, 2001.

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