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Musical tribute

"Chorus From Pindar," for unison choir and four brass players, was composed by Institute Professor John Harbison for the installation of Susan Hockfield as president of MIT. It was performed by the MIT Chamber Chorus at the ceremony on Friday, May 6.

The lyrics, taken from Pindar's Odes, were written in celebration of athletes, civic leaders and other artists, and were designed to be rendered chorally.

This fragment, as translated by Professor Ronald Trowell of the University of Leeds, and used with his permission, "appears to be urging our leaders to solve disputes by finding common ground," Harbison notes. "This is certainly not the only route leadership might take, but on a day of celebration of a bright future, it is one of the feeling we might entertain."

"Chorus From Pindar"

Let the one who would lead our commonwealth
to sweet tranquility
look for the light, the glow
of large hearted Concord.

And drive from our minds
that bringer of poverty
resentful as a children's nurse--
malignant Discord.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 11, 2005 (download PDF).

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