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

November 2017

Fri, Nov 3, 2017

Several members of the ASO strings section playing their instruments on the Buckley stage

Family Weekend: Amherst Symphony Orchestra presents Works by John Williams

Friday, Nov. 3, at 8 p.m. in Buckley Recital Hall, the Amherst Symphony Orchestra presents its third concert in its yearlong survey of American music with a tribute to that cinematic giant, composer John Williams.  

Nominated for 50 Academy Awards (winner of five), and renowned for his close collaboration with director Steven Spielberg, Williams has penned and conducted-- in the studio and as former music director of the Boston Pops --perhaps the most masterful film scores of all time. The ASO will present music from Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, E.T. the Extraterrestrial, Schindler's List, Star Wars and others.

Full details of the orchestra's season can be found at http://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.

Tickets Required

Sat, Nov 4, 2017

Glee Club

Choral Society Brunch and Concert: Family Weekend

The Amherst College Choral Society invites you to a free 11 a.m. brunch in Arms followed by the noon performance.

The Amherst College Choral Society, Mallorie Chernin, director, reprises it's Homecoming concert in its annual Family Weekend concert at noon on Saturday, November 4, in Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Music Center at Amherst College.

Performers include the Concert Choir, the Chorus and the Glee Club, directed by Mallorie Chernin and assistant director Rebecca Ruescher ’17, and the Madrigal Singers, directed by Ellen Mutter ’18 and Anna Makar-Limanov ’20. The program features a wide range of music, including classical and world music–Brahms, Hatfield, Sametz, Roueché, and more. The program ends with traditional College songs.

Tickets are available for $10 for general admission, $5 for children and senior citizens. Admission for Five College students is free. E-mail Mallorie Chernin for ticket reservations at mchernin@amherst.edu or by calling 413 542 2484. Unclaimed tickets will be available at the door the night of the concert.

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
A young woman singing into a microphone, with several jazz musicians playing behind her

ACJE, the Amherst College Jazz Ensemble: Family Weekend Performance

The Amherst College Jazz Ensemble performs in Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Music Building, featuring Darryl Harper, clarinet. The concert is free and open to the public. Donations will be collected for the Amherst Survival Center.

Thu, Nov 9, 2017

Closeup of Ryan Vigil leaning over a piano and sheet music, with a pair of eyeglasses in his hand

Ryan Vigil: A Recital of New Music for Solo Piano

Composer and pianist Ryan Vigil presents a selection of original compositions for solo piano tracing a path from the distantly evocative to the highly abstract. The program opens with an early work written in memorian Toru Takemitsu, includes several shorter items, and culminates with a performance of a 25-minute untitled work from 2014.

In two events over two days, Ryan Vigil (composer, pianist, musicologist and visiting lecturer in the Amherst College Music Department) presents an emphatic defense of musical abstraction. First, in the Center for Humanistic Inquiry (CHI) Salon-- on Wednesday, Nov. 8, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on the second floor of Frost Library --he argues for the inherent power and poignancy of an unexpectedly rare musical aesthetic. The following day, Vigil gives listeners an opportunity to explore the new listening paradigm outlined in his talk, presenting a solo piano recital of original compositions.

Active as a composer, conductor, pianist, musicologist and teacher, Ryan Vigil has been a visible presence in new music communities throughout the northeastern United States for well over a decade. Ryan has been credited with creating a “sound world all his own,” one which invites listeners to engage with the music as pure, abstract sound. Noted for its sensitivity to color and a relaxed, open approach to form, his music has acquired a faithful following among classically trained performers, progressive improvisers and lay audiences all over the country. His music, ranging from solo compositions to orchestral works, has been performed on four continents.

Ryan’s music has recently been heard at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, the Longy School of Music’s Pickman Concert Hall, and Merkin Hall at Lincoln Center. Concerts devoted exclusively to Ryan’s work have been presented on numerous campuses across the country, including the University of Hartford, the University of New Hampshire, Tufts University, Yale University, Colby College and Connecticut College. Performances of Ryan’s music have been given at numerous museums and galleries, including MassMoCA, the Ogunquit Museum of American Art, The Colby Museum of Art, and the Zeitgeist Gallery. Finally, Ryan’s music has been featured at numerous festivals, including the Oregon Bach Festival, Music05 (Cincinnati), June in Buffalo, New England Conservatory's Summer Institute for Contemporary Piano Performance, the Rivers Music School’s Seminar on Contemporary Music for the Young, and the Cazenovia Festival of New Music and Art.

Ryan’s work as a scholar centers on American experimental music, with a special emphasis on the music of John Cage and Morton Feldman. His work has been published in Perspectives of New Music and American Music. Teaching remains a major priority for Ryan. After a two-year engagement as the faculty fellow in music at Colby College, and a year lecturing at Connecticut College, Ryan is currently a lecturer at the University of New Hampshire, where he teaches courses in ear training, theory, composition and music history. This semester he is a visiting lecturer in the music department at Amherst College, where he is teaching composition and advising senior composition theses.

Fri, Nov 10, 2017

Closeup of Angela Hewitt, smiling

M@A Chamber Series: Angela Hewitt, Piano: "Bach Odyssey"

Partita No. 3 in A minor, BWV 827
Partita No. 5 in G major, BWV 829
Partita in A major, BWV 832
Partita No. 6 in E minor, BWV 830

One of the world’s leading pianists, Angela Hewitt appears in recital and with major orchestras throughout Europe, the Americas and Asia. Her renditions of Bach have established her as one of the composer’s foremost interpreters of our time.

“It was a positive sensation. The Canadian pianist is one of the reliably mesmerising musicians of the day. You sit entranced…. It would have been more accurate to say I was floating just below the ceiling.”
The Sunday Times

Tickets go on sale two weeks before each performance. Evening box office opens one hour prior to concert begin. Free Amherst Student rush tickets are available on the night of the performance.

Ticket website: https://amherst.universitytickets.com

Chamber Series:
General Public: $28
Senior Citizens (65+) and Amherst College Employees: $22
Students, with valid ID: $12
Amherst Student Rush tickets on the night of the performance: Free

Tickets Required

Sat, Nov 11, 2017

Closeup of Angela Hewitt, smiling

M@A Masterclass: Angela Hewitt, piano

M@A Masterclass: Angela Hewitt, piano. FREE and open to the public. Saturday, Nov. 11, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. No reservations required.

Yuji Sato, student of Gilles Vonsattel: J.S. Bach, Prelude and Fugue in C sharp minor from Book 1 of The Well-Tempered Clavier

Audrey Cheng, student of Gilles Vonsattel: Claude Debussy, Reflets dans l’eau

Amber Liu, student of Chonghyo Shin: Haydn Sonata in E flat Major Hob XVI:52 No. 62, movement 1

Sun, Nov 12, 2017

Phuong-Nghi Pham '18 standing outdoors, near grass, a paved path and blue water

Performance Thesis: Phuong-Nghi Pham '18, Piano

The Amherst College Department of Music presents an honors thesis in piano performance, Kaleidoscope, by Phuong-Nghi Pham '18. The recital takes place on Sunday, Nov. 12, at 3 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.

Each piece of music is its own universe, with distinctive patterns, quirks, colors and vocabulary. In putting together a recital program, the performer does a strange thing: she plucks out a handful of these universes, juxtaposes them in an arguable order, and brings them into collective perception at a specific time and place. Because the act of listening to music or playing music is so bound to the present unfolding of sound, is a recital more of a journey, where moments linger and coalesce into something bigger than themselves, or is it a series of snapshots capturing current action and feelings? Although the performer inhabits these eclectic universes, the audience, in traveling along, also gets to interact with the kaleidoscope that is this particular landscape of sound. In this recital, Phuong-Nghi hopes to explore these moments of play and the playful dynamics that define a live performance.

Serving as the dramatic and emotional anchors at the beginning and the end are the two biggest works in the program: one of Schubert’s final piano sonatas and Chopin’s final ballade. The rainbow offering in the middle highlights the unexpected resonances among the five composers who hail from different countries and span four centuries of music.


Schubert - Sonata D.959 in A Major
Scarlatti - Sonata K.1
Ligeti - Etude No.5 "Arc-en-ciel"
Langa - Refraction
Albéniz - Evocación from Iberia
Debussy - Etude No.12 "pour les accords"
Chopin - Ballade No. 4 in F minor

The recital will last for 90 minutes (including intermission), followed by a reception.