CONCERT FEATURE What’s the Buzz?

MIT Hosts the Beeline Festival, April 5–19

1974 beeline
The Calder Quartet will open the Beeline Festival this Sunday, April 5 at the Broad Institute.
Courtesy of the Beeline Festival

Beeline Festival

Featuring The Calder Quarter, Iva Bittova,

Robert Black and Gamelan Galak Tika

The Broad Institute

April 5–19, 2009

Kicking off this Sunday is the Beeline Festival at the Broad Institute. The festival hopes to introduce MIT and the surrounding community to new and exciting music, as well some exciting culinary treats. Co-coordinators Christine N. Southworth ’01 and MIT professor Evan Ziporyn, both musicians themselves in Gamelan Galak Tika, have organized six outstanding performances every weekend in April. The opening concert this Sunday will feature The Calder Quartet, as well as a reception where guests can taste honey and pastries made by local beekeepers and chefs. After the reception is a second set with Gutbucket.

The theme of bees and creating a community around music may seem unrelated, but really the connection is quite clear. As Ziporyn and Southworth pointed out in a joint e-mail, “the original idea of the festival was to create a gathering point, a space where people from different musical worlds could come together, hear things they might not have known about, and find a connection to it. Someone mentioned to us that this was a form of ‘hiving’ — a social phenomenon that we didn’t know had a name.” Both of the eager musicians are amateur beekeepers themselves. Though the idea for the festival originated last June, concrete plans only materialized this year. Most of the musicians at this year’s festival perform regularly around the globe, but are not as well known in the U.S.

By merging various musical worlds, the intention behind the festival is also to “cross-pollinate” and encourage listeners of one style of music to participate in the whole festival and discover a completely new style of music. Ziporyn and Southworth both believe that “there is no substitution for live performance … Performers like Gutbucket and Iva Bittova … [must be seen live] to understand what they’re all about.”

The closing performance on April 19 will be given by Gamelan Galak Tika, a group founded at MIT by Ziporyn in 1993. Southworth has also been involved with the ensemble, which specializes in traditional and contemporary Balinese music, for ten years. “There’s an energy and spontaneity that needs to be experienced,” they wrote. In addition to observing this as an audience member, you can even experience it through a free gamelan workshop offered before Gamelan Galak Tika’s performance.

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