Featured Article

David E. Schneider, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Music
David E. Schneider, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Music

Listening Through History, a Q&A with Professor David E. Schneider

As he marks 20 years of teaching at Amherst, David E. Schneider, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Music, discusses his love of music, the decision that led to his career as a musicologist and how his classes at Amherst have evolved over the decades.

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News & Music Events 2016-2017

December 2017

Sat, Dec 2, 2017

Event poster featuring a photo, shot from behind, of Ferrer playing the cello

Performance Thesis: Joshua Ferrer '18E, Cello: “Faith and Disillusionment”

The Amherst College Department of Music presents an honors thesis in cello performance, “Faith and Disillusionment,” by Joshua Ferrer '18E. The recital takes place on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m. in Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Music Center at Amherst College. It is free and open to the public; seating is by general admission.

When composers become disillusioned with the world they live in, they turn to music as an outlet. Whether through personal tragedy, political fallout or systematized evil, these individuals are forced to question their core life assumptions. They respond in diverse ways—searching for new love, sinking into depression or turning to deeply held religious convictions. In this thesis, Ferrer explores the compositions these artists create as testaments to their personal struggles and journeys.

The concert is anchored by two monumental works written from places of darkness: Bach’s Suite No. 5 in C minor and Shostakovich’s Sonata for Cello and Piano. In between, an alternative path is explored: Messiaen’s testament to his faith in G-d, written during his imprisonment in a Nazi concentration camp.

Bach - Suite No. 5 in C minor, BWV 1011
Messiaen - “Louange à l'Éternité de Jésus” from Quartet for the End of Time
Chung-Mehdi - Piece for Solo Cello (Premiere)
Shostakovich Sonata for Cello and Piano in D minor, Op. 40

The recital will last for 75 minutes (including intermission), followed by a reception. Phuong-Nghi Pham ’18 joins on the piano for the Messiaen and Shostakovich.

The performance is free and open to the public.

Sun, Dec 3, 2017

Event poster featuring an image of Johnson Chapel at night

Choral Society Vespers

The annual Amherst College Christmas Vespers is held on Sunday, Dec. 3, at 4 and 7:30 p.m. in Johnson Chapel. The Festival of Lessons and Carols is FREE (no tickets are required).

Mallorie Chernin directs the Amherst College Choral Society, assisted by Rebecca Ruescher ’17. They are joined by the Amherst College Madrigal Singers, directed by Anna Makar-Limanov ’20 and Ellen Mutter ’18. Other musicians include timpanist Kyoko Sano (Hampshire College), organist James Maes and trumpeters Brooks Holmes and Samuel Rosenblum ’16.

The congregation joins in the singing of traditional carols and the "Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel’s Messiah. The lessons for this traditional “Festival of Lessons and Carols” are read by faculty, staff, students and children of faculty and staff. The event is free; no tickets are required. Donations may be made to the Amherst Survival Center.

Fri, Dec 8, 2017

Rob Croll '16 playing jazz guitar on stage with the ACJE

ACJE, the Amherst College Jazz Ensemble: Winter Concert

The Amherst College Jazz Ensemble performs in Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Building. The concert is free and open to the public. Please bring your cash donations to the Amherst Survival Center.

Sat, Dec 9, 2017

Musicians' heads and shoulders peeking up through the lines of a musical staff

M@A Masterclass: Tallis Scholars Director Peter Phillips

Mr. Phillips works with Amherst's own a cappella singers. Free and open to the public.

ASO members playing French horns in front of music stands on the Buckley Recital Hall stage

ASO: Amherst Symphony Orchestra Performance (NEW TIME-- 7 p.m.)

The Amherst Symphony Orchestra presents the fourth concert of its yearlong survey of American music with works by the early iconoclast Charles Ives as well as the modern minimalist master John Adams.

Charles Ives (1874-1954) was a Connecticut insurance executive-cum-composer who forged a radical new American musical language which thumbed its nose at European tradition. Ives celebrated the American spirit and identity by mashing vernacular marches, folk/parlor songs and fiddle tunes into patriotic and humorous collages. The ASO performs Ives' "Country Band March," Variations on "America" and "The Unanswered Question."

John Adams (1947- ), America's most renowned current composer for the traditional concert hall, is in many ways a latter-day Ives: his music embraces all styles and speaks directly of the American experience. The ASO performs "The Chairman Dances" from his opera Nixon in China as well as his setting of Walt Whitman's Civil War poem "The Wound Dresser."

Full details of the orchestra's season are available at www.amherstsymphonyorchestra.com.

Tickets may be purchased only at the door. Tickets are $10 for the general public; $5 for senior citizens, students with ID and children under 12; and free to Amherst and all Five College students with ID. Amherst Symphony Orchestra performs in Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Music Building.

For a complete listing of upcoming Amherst College Department of Music events, visit us on the web: www.amherst.edu/academiclife/departments/music/events.

Tickets Required

Sun, Dec 10, 2017

Faces of 11 Tallis Scholar musicians, arranged in a rectangle around the words "The Tallis Scholars"

M@A Chamber Series: The Tallis Scholars

The program commemorates the 500th year of Isaac’s death:
Josquin: Gaude virgo
Josquin: Stabat mater
Josquin: Absalom fili mi
Gombert: Lugebat Absalom
Isaac: Optime divino
Browne: Stabat juxta
Isaac: Tota pulchra es
Josquin: Inter natos mulierum
Gombert: Regina caeli

Over four decades of performance and a catalogue of award-winning recordings for Gimell, Peter Phillips and the Tallis Scholars have done more than any other group to establish sacred vocal music of the Renaissance as one of the great repertoires of Western classical music. Reviewers praise their sound for its supple clarity and tone, and Tallis harnesses it to bring fresh interpretations to music by contemporary as well as past composers.

“The Tallis Scholars vocal ensemble seems to have a direct line to heaven—inspiring reverence for the power of the human vocal chords to echo spiritual realms.”
—Australian Stage

General Public: $28
Senior Citizens (65+) and Amherst College Employees: $22
Students, with valid ID: $12
Free Amherst Student Rush begins when the box office opens an hour before showtime.

Tickets are nonrefundable, and programs and dates are subject to change. Buckley Recital Hall has limited wheelchair-accessible seating.

For further information, please contact the Concert Office at (413) 542-2195 or concerts@amherst.edu.

A complete list of upcoming events can be found on the Amherst College Music Department website at www.amherst.edu/go/music.

Tickets Required

Tom Oesterling Student Recital

Today - Mon, Dec 11, 2017

Tomorrow - Tue, Dec 12, 2017