The MIT Symphony Orchestra took its show on the road for its annual end-of-term tour, highlighted by well-received performances in London's St John's Smith Square and historic Kings College Chapel at Cambridge University.
Coinciding with Queen Elizabeth's Golden Jubilee celebration, the orchestra's nine-day tour from May 28 to June 5 included a plunge into the attractions of London, Cambridge and Bath as well as serious musical practice and performing in those cities. The tour was partly sponsored by the Cambridge-MIT Institute, which aims to foster exchanges between MIT and Cambridge University.
"There was no doubt of the professionalism and high standards of the MIT Symphony Orchestra at its impressive concert on 29 May 2002, under the baton of charismatic conductor Dante Anzolini," wrote Malcolm Miller, who reviewed MITSO's London performance in Music and Vision, a classical music magazine. "The orchestra rose to the challenges of a formidable programme, which featured the U.K. premiï¿½ï¿½re of 'Jubal' by British born, Boston-based composer Peter Child, and Penderecki's 'Viola Concerto' in a stirring performance by Marcus Thompson ... who gave a suavely assured yet soulful account." Child and Thompson are both professors of music at MIT.
"The orchestra had a chance to display its full prowess in the final work, an invigorating and uplifting reading of Mahler's 'Symphony No 1,'" Miller wrote. In playing the challenging piece, MITSO "demonstrated power and conviction ... [in] an interpretation of passion and character."
This was the second overseas tour led by Anzolini; the first in 2000 took the group to Vienna, Prague and Budapest.
"The MITSO are fortunate to have Dante Anzolini as their conductor; his dynamism draws out the best in his forces. The orchestra's participation in an enterprising exchange organised by the Cambridge-MIT Institute is to be applauded; hopefully a return visit by a Cambridge ensemble will enrich audiences in the USA in the not too distant future," Miller concluded.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on July 17, 2002.