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The New York Times

Prof. Emily Richmond Pollock weighs in on how interpretations of the 1812 Overture, a common Fourth of July prelude, has changed over time, reports Javier C. Hernández for The New York Times. “It has been used for different purposes throughout history,” says Pollock. “In 2022, with ambivalence about Russian power, it has come to mean something different. And it could mean something different again in the future.”

The Boston Globe

After 50 years, Michael Gruenbaum ‘53 successfully published "Tell Me About Beethoven,” a book he wrote with his late wife, Thelma, as a tribute to the composer and to educate and entertain their three sons, writes Cindy Cantrell for The Boston Globe. Gruenbaum, who notes that he wanted to publish the book to help raise awareness of his wife’s talents as a writer, noted that Beethoven, “had to overcome so many obstacles in his life, and yet that didn’t deter him from doing what he wanted to do: compose music the way he liked to compose it, and the way it had never been done before.”

The Boston Globe

Wasalu Jaco – the Grammy-award winning rapper, entrepreneur and producer better known as Lupe Fiasco - will be teaching rap at MIT next spring as part of MIT's MLK Visiting Professors and Scholars Program, reports Dana Gerber for The Boston Globe. “MIT stands as the pinnacle of higher learning and execution for so many, including myself,” says Fiasco. “I’m overjoyed to have the opportunity to be in the midst of some of the world’s greatest minds to offer my humble perspective and absorb new practices and principles.”

Smithsonian Magazine

Prof. Markus Buehler and his lab have been studying the sonification of molecules by capturing their vibrations and using a computer program to turn the mini vibrations into audible sounds, reports Sofia Quaglia for Smithsonian Magazine. “Buehler believes that since creativity has led to such complex varieties of music over the years—from classical to techno—maybe this creativity could be translated from an immaterial, pleasant experience, to scientific knowledge to make something physical,” writes Quaglia.

The Boston Globe

Graduate student and violinist Lily Tsai recently performed in a benefit concert for the Newton Food Pantry and Community Freedge, raising over $1,000, reports Charlotte Howard for The Boston Globe. “Everywhere you go there are going to be people who love to play and give back to the community and bring joy through music,” Tsai said.

KUER

Prof. Ekene Ijeoma speaks with KUER’s Ivana Martinez about his group’s art project, “A Counting,” which spotlights people counting to 100 in their native languages. “I think [this is] speaking to ideas of what it means to live in this diverse society,” said Ijeoma. “And whether or not we're able to live up to the dream of this society, which is — we're a multicultural place. Can we actually be that?”

The New Yorker

Prof. Emily Richmond Pollock speaks with Isaac Chotiner of The New Yorker about how some Western institutions have cancelled performances by Russian artists following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “Some of the discussion of these issues has fallen into some old patterns of thinking that we as musicologists are alert to,” says Pollock, “and want to warn against, which includes reacting to these kinds of bans by insisting that music is apolitical, or that there’s something fundamentally and inherently apolitical about music, which is a really problematic and untrue statement, and a knee-jerk response.”

Smithsonian Magazine

Smithsonian Magazine reporter Margaret Osborne spotlights MIT researchers who have discovered that specific neurons in the brain respond to singing, but not sounds such as road traffic, instrumental music and speaking. “This work suggests there’s a distinction in the brain between instrumental music and vocal music,” says former MIT postdoc Sam Norman-Haignere.

Gramophone

Gramophone contributor Laurence Vittes spotlights Prof. Tod Machover’s “Death and the Powers,” an opera about robots and humans that has recently been released as an “electrifying surround-sound thriller.” Vittes writes that “Machover’s arsenal of music stands triumphantly on its own, fusing and defusing technoflash from the composer’s MIT Media Lab with rich writing for Gil Rose’s Boston Modern Orchestra ensemble.”

Newsweek

Researchers from MIT and the Berklee College of Music “have started a blockchain platform called RAIDAR, designed to help musicians connect with potential clients (perhaps filmmakers or video game designers who need theme music) and get paid for their work without losing ownership,” reports Newsweek.

Mashable

MIT researchers have developed a new fiber, dubbed OmniFibers, that could potentially be used to help regulate breath, reports Ray White for Mashable. “When sewn into clothing, the fiber can sense how much it’s stretched. It then gives tactile feedback to the wearer via pressure, stretch or vibration.”

WBUR

WBUR’s Andrea Shea spotlights how every weekend, members of the MIT Guild of Bellringers bring to life the bells at Boston’s Old North Church. MIT Guild of Bellringers ringing master John Bihn explains that “it is really exciting thinking that I'm ringing the same bells that nearly 300 years ago Paul Revere was ringing.” 

GBH

Prof. Jonathan Gruber speaks with Boston Public Radio about the economics behind the music industry. “Music is an incredibly good deal, but part of the reason it’s an incredibly good deal is because musicians don’t make anything,” says Gruber. “Basically the music economy today is exactly where the rest of the economy is today. It’s a superstar economy.”

Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Noah Schaffer spotlights “Subject to Change,” a program on WMBR that explores the evolution of a single song. The show’s host, Patrick Bryant, “usually starts with the original before showing how the song changes when interpreted by jazz improvisers, pop crooners, bluegrass pickers, indie rockers, or how it sounds in foreign tongues or when sampled for a hip-hop track,” writes Schaffer. “A reggae version is seemingly inevitable.”

Reuters

MIT researchers have created 3D models of spiderwebs to help transform the web’s vibrations into sounds that humans can hear, writes Angela Moore for Reuters. “Spiders utilize vibrations as a way to communicate with the environment, with other spiders,” says Prof. Markus Buehler. “We have recorded these vibrations from spiders and used artificial intelligence to learn these vibrational patterns and associate them with certain actions, basically learning the spider’s language.”