Music in 21st Century Society: Celebrating 6 Years of Lectures

January 23, 2018

We are sad to announce that the Lloyd Old and Constance Old Lecture series, Music in 21st Century Society, will no longer be continuing. Our final lecture was Richard Taruskin, who spoke in December 2016 on “The Many Dangers of Music.”

The lecture series was founded by Constance Old in 2012, in memory of her brother, Dr. Lloyd Old, and curated by Dr. Antoni Pizà. Dr. Old was a groundbreaking researcher in cancer immunotherapy. He worked as a research physician at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, he was the Scientific Director of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, and he was the Founding Director of the Scientific Advisory Council of the Cancer Research Institute. He was an amateur violinist and shared a love of classical music with his sister, who herself is a historian of music and dance iconography.

Dr. Old was a great lover of Mozart, but Constance decided to dedicate the memorial foundation to exploring the role of music in modern society, contributing to our ongoing understanding and relationship with music as her brother contributed to modern science. Over the series’s six years, we were able to bring some of the brightest thinkers in contemporary and modernist music to sold-out halls. Each event included performances of modern music.

The series’s inaugural lecture, given by the eminent pianist and writer Charles Rosen, was in April of 2012, on “The Challenges of Modern Music.” It was Rosen’s last public appearance before his death.

In spring of 2013, music critic Paul Griffiths joined us in conversation with Columbia University Orchestra’s music director, Jeff Milarsky, for the stimulating “We Are What We Hear.

That fall, renowned composer Philip Glass gave a lecture on “The Creative Pulse,” with award-winning flutist Claire Chase, of the International Contemporary Ensemble.

In 2014, Kronos Quartet’s founding member, violinist David Harrington, appeared in conversation with NPR’s Brooke Gladstone, to discuss the string quartet in the 21st century. Featured on this program were resident quartets of the Kaufman Center’s Face the Music project, a youth ensemble that Harrington mentors.

Fall 2015, philosopher and polemicist Roger Scruton gave the talk “Walking Among Noise:  Tonality, Atonality, and Where We Go From Here,” with a response from popular music critic and visiting faculty member Greil Marcus.

And our series concluded with last year’s talk by the renowned and prolific musicologist Richard Taruskin, who spoke of “The Many Dangers of Music” with Prof. Scott Burnham.

We would like to wish a heartfelt thanks to everyone who attended these lectures and helped to make them great successes. It was a pleasure to bring these speakers to you each year. Videos of each lecture are available through the links above, and we hope that newcomers to the foundation will enjoy them.

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