Ellen T. Harris, Class of 1949 Professor of Music, recently received the 2005 Kepes Prize from the Council for the Arts at MIT. The award, named for Gyorgy Kepes (1906-2002), founder of the Center for Advanced Visual Studies, is given annually to a member of the MIT community whose creative work reflects the vision and values of Kepes, who was celebrated for his work exploring the relationships between art and science, and art and the environment.
Harris, who served as the Institute's first associate provost for the arts from 1989 to 1996, is a musicologist working in the area of Baroque opera and vocal performance practice with a special emphasis on the music of Handel.
The award was presented by Juliet Kepes Stone, Gyorgy Kepes' daughter, and Professor Alan Brody, MIT's current associate provost for the arts, at the council's 33rd annual meeting, held Thursday, Oct. 27, at Boston's Ritz-Carlton Hotel.
The award citation commends Harris "for her extraordinary contributions to the arts at MIT as the first associate provost for the arts, during which time she shaped the integrated landscape of all the arts on campus, advocated fiercely for them and encouraged their growth." She was also honored "for her remarkable scholarship as a musicologist bringing new dimensions to our understanding of the genius of Handel" and "for her own musicianship as a vocal artist with a repertoire that extends from before Mozart to the American popular song book." In addition, the citation commended "her personal encouragement of all her colleagues, students and staff in all their creative endeavors."
The Council for the Arts at MIT is a volunteer organization of MIT alumni and friends founded in 1972 to foster and support the visual, literary and performing arts at the Institute.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on November 9, 2005 (download PDF).