MIT’s Annual Family Weekend Concert "Global Soundscapes—Celebrating the Universality of Music"

October 28, 2023 | 08:00 pm

Kresge Auditorium | Free and Open to the Public
October 28, 2023 | 08:00 pm

MIT’s Annual Family Weekend Concert

Global Soundscapes—Celebrating the Universality of Music

Saturday, October 28, 2022/ 8:00 p.m.

Kresge Auditorium, MIT

MIT Wind Ensemble, MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble & MIT Vocal Jazz Ensemble

Frederick Harris, Jr., Music Director

Kenneth Amis, Assistant Conductor

A special evening of exciting and moving music with global influences performed by the MIT Wind Ensemble (MITWE), MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble (MIT FJE), and MIT Vocal Jazz Ensemble (MIT VJE). MITWE features works by Prokofiev, Clifton Williams, Ira Hearshen and Sousa. The MIT FJE performs innovative music by Ellington, Miguel Zenón, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and others. 

View the Livestream

View the Program


The MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble (MIT FJE) was founded in 1963 by Boston jazz icon Herb Pomeroy and led since 1999 by Dr. Frederick Harris, Jr. This advanced 18 to 20-member big band/jazz ensemble is comprised of outstanding MIT undergraduate and graduate students studying a wide range of disciplines. An advanced combo is formed from the membership of the MIT FJE. MIT FJE performs traditional and contemporary jazz ensemble literature, including student compositions and new works written for the MIT FJE by major jazz composers. Improvisation is a prominent part of the MIT FJE experience. MIT FJE has released five professional recordings including its major jazz label debut on Sunnyside in 2015, Infinite Winds, which received a five-star review from DownBeat and was chosen by the magazine as one of its “Best Albums of 2015 Five-Star Masterpieces.”


The FJE has a long history of performing original music by MIT students and composers from around the world. Since 2001, it has presented over 50 world premieres. Among others, Mark Harvey, Herb Pomeroy, Jamshied Sharifi, Ran Blake, John Harbison, Chick Corea, Joe Lovano, Gunther and George Schuller, Kenny Werner, Don Byron, Steve Turre, Magali Souriau, Guillermo Klein, Chris Cheek, Miguel Zenón, Dominique Eade, and Luciana Souza have collaborated with the MIT FJE. In January of 2019 the FJE participated in a highly successful cultural exchange, touring Puerto Rico with Miguel Zenón, presenting concerts in various venues and STEM workshops in middle and high schools.



Dr. Frederick Harris, Jr. is the Director of Wind and Jazz Ensembles at MIT, where he serves at Music Director of the MIT Wind Ensemble, MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble, and oversees jazz chamber music programs including three combos, MIT Vocal Jazz Ensemble, and the Emerson Jazz Scholars Program.


He and the MIT Wind Ensemble have been featured on PBS in the 2014 Emmy-winning documentary Awakening: Evoking the Arab Spring through Music, with music by Jamshied Sharifi. Harris and his students also are featured in the 2018 Emmy-winning documentary Imagination Off The Charts: Jacob Collier Comes to MIT.


He is a strong advocate for the creation and performance of new music, having commissioned and/or premiered 95 works for wind, jazz, and mixed ensembles, recently leading pieces by Jamshied Sharifi, Chick Corea, Don Byron, Jacob Collier, and Miguel Zenón. He has also been highly active with public school students and music educators throughout his career. Harris is the author of Conducting with Feeling and Seeking the Infinite: The Musical Life of Stanisław Skrowaczewski, and is currently writing a biography of Herb Pomeroy. He has performed as a drummer with the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, John Harbison, the Boston Pops, and Grammy-winning jazz saxophonist Joe Lovano.


Nominated by his students, Harris is a 2013 and 2019 recipient of the James A. and Ruth Levitan Award for Excellence in Teaching in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at MIT.



About the MIT Wind Ensemble

Founded by Music Director Dr. Frederick Harris, Jr. in the fall of 1999, the MIT Wind Ensemble (MITWE) is one of the most innovative ensembles of its kind. Comprised primarily of outstanding MIT undergraduates and graduate students studying a wide range of disciplines within science, engineering, and the humanities. Repertoire includes outstanding traditional works and new music for full wind ensemble, chamber winds, brass ensemble, percussion ensemble, and woodwind ensembles. MITWE has commissioned 45 original works from many prominent composers. MIT Affiliated Artist, renowned composer, and tuba player of the Empire Brass, Kenneth Amis, is the Assistant Conductor of MITWE.


MITWE has been featured on NPR and was the subject of the 2014 Emmy-winning documentary Awakening: Evoking the Arab Spring Through Music, aired on PBS. MITWE is also featured in the 2019 Emmy-nominated documentary The Great Clarinet Summit, and Call and Response: Creativity at MIT. MITWE’s joint recording with the MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble, Infinite Winds, received a five-star review from DownBeat and was chosen by the magazine as one of its “Best Albums of 2015 Five-Star Masterpieces” — the first such recognition of its kind for a collegiate wind ensemble. The Boston Globe called the recording “one of the most compelling of 2015.”


Throughout its 21-year history, MITWE has collaborated with elementary, middle and high school students throughout Massachusetts. In March of 2019, MITWE embarked on its first tour, spending a week in the Dominican Republic, presenting four concerts, many STEAM presentations for middle, high school and college students, and premiering the eco-music piece In Praise Of The Humpback.


In May of 2020, MITWE had the honor of opening MIT’s virtual Commencement with To The Light, To The Flame. MITWE also participated in MIT’s 2021 virtual Commencement,

performing Diary Of A Pandemic Year.