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Concert features versatile alumna

Cellist Stephanie Wingfield performs with the MIT Symphony Orchestra.
Cellist Stephanie Wingfield performs with the MIT Symphony Orchestra.
Photo / Thomas Maxisch

So an architect, a lawyer and a cellist converged on the stage one evening.

No, it's not the setup for a joke. It's a concert, performed by one person who happens to be an architect, a lawyer and an accomplished cellist--alumna Stephanie Wingfield, who returns to campus Dec. 11 to perform with the MIT Chamber Music Society at 3 p.m. in Killian Hall.

Wingfield earned the S.B. in 1982 and the M.Arch. in 1987 and played cello with the Bach Society, the Chamber Players and the Symphony Orchestra when she was at MIT. Several years later she went to law school at Northeastern University.

Her performance will feature Beethoven's Trio for clarinet, cello and piano, Op. 11; Nino Rota's Trio for clarinet, cello and piano (1973); Rebecca Clarke's Prelude, Allegro and Pastorale for viola and clarinet; and Brahms' Trio for clarinet, cello and piano, Op. 114 with Sylvain Bouix on clarinet, Karen Freeman on viola, and Hojae Lee on piano.

The cello wasn't Wingfield's first choice of instruments in junior high, but "by the time they got to the W's, all the violins were gone," she recalls. She tried the viola for about a month but didn't like the chin/hand position. The switch to the cello proved successful and her parents bought her a "real cello" about a year later.

Although she had planned to become a high school music teacher, she changed her mind after being recruited by MIT. Music played a big role in her collegiate choice--between Harvard and MIT. "There was no comparison, as far as music performance," she said. "At the time, MIT was definitely stronger."

Once at MIT, the program did not disappoint her. "The standard of playing was incredibly high considering most people did not plan to become professionals." The faculty, "especially Marcus Thompson," were always very helpful and supportive, said Wingfield.

Wingfield said also that she loved studying architecture at MIT. But after practicing for about 10 years, her interests veered toward project management, which gave her contact with attorneys. "That eventually caused me to think I'd like to add what they do to my set of skills," she said.

Wingfield lives in Roslindale and plays with the Boston Philharmonic and chamber orchestras. This year, she returned to the MIT Symphony Orchestra.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 8, 2004 (download PDF).

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