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Beth Sorensen
Office of Communications

ROMP! 2004 features "Bach's Cosmos"

Collaboration between Reed College and Chamber Music Northwest combines music and scholarship in an exploration of the universe and the divine as experienced through the music of Johann Sebastian Bach

Portland, OR (January 27, 2004) - ROMP! (Reediana Omnibus Musica Philosopha), the annual collaboration of music and scholarship between Reed College and Chamber Music Northwest, will turn its attention on February 18-20, 2004 to Johann Sebastian Bach , a foundation of European music for over 200 years. In his instrumental and choral compositions Bach summed up the contrapuntal techniques of his predecessors; synthesized the contemporary styles of French, Italian, and German music; and created works that are studied by every aspiring organist, pianist, violinist, cellist, and composer today.

Bach's music is of more than musical interest, however. He was an 18th-century intellectual who thought of his music in philosophical, mathematical, and theological terms. His music reflects, symbolically and technically, the workings of the universe and the relation of the human sphere to the divine. This year's ROMP! examines the ways that Bach's music expresses and illuminates these extra-musical ideas in a special program "Bach's Cosmos."

The symposium features a lecture by Edward Rothstein, formerly the chief music critic and now critic at large for the New York Times. Also speaking is Michael Marissen, professor of music history at Swarthmore College and author of several books on music and theology. The scholarly lectures are accompanied by concerts by the Reed Cello Orchestra, with accompaniment by the soprano Jill Soltero, and by Chamber Music Northwest, featuring the music of Bach, Igor Stravinsky and others, and featuring Ida Kavafian and pianists Anna Polonsky and Anne-Marie McDermott.

The ROMP! lectures and Reed Cello Orchestra concert are free and open to the public ; for information for these events, call 503/777-7755 or visit the Reed events site.

Concert pricing and ticket information for the Chamber Music Northwest concerts is at 503/294-6400 or at .

Sponsored by the Roth Family Foundation.

Schedule of Events


Reed Cello Orchestra with Jill Soltero, soprano
4:15 p.m., Eliot chapel (third floor, Eliot Hall)
Heitor Villa-Lobos, Bachianas   Brasileiras #5

LECTURE: "Thoughts on Bach"
Edward Rothstein , critic at large for the New York Times
7:30 p.m., psychology auditorium (psychology 105)

Edward Rothstein is cultural critic at large for the New York Times , writing criticism on culture, literature, music, intellectual life, and technology. He was previously the chief music critic of the New York Times , and the music critic for the New Republic . He is the author of Emblems of Mind: The Inner Life of Music and Mathematics (Times Books, 1995; Avon Books, 1996), which was named one of the 25 best books of 1995 by the New York Public Library. His essays and music criticism have appeared in the New York Review of Books , Commentary , the American Scholar , the London Independent , and other magazines and journals. He has won two ASCAP-Deems Taylor and Awards for his music criticism and was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1991. Mr. Rothstein holds a doctorate from the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago.


LECTURE: "Bach as Religious Thinker"
Michael Marissen , Bach scholar and professor of music history at Swarthmore College
4:15 p.m., psychology auditorium (psychology 105)

Michael Marissen holds a B.A. from Calvin College and Ph.D. from Brandeis University. He joined the Swarthmore College faculty in 1989 and since then has also been a visiting professor at Princeton University and the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music. His many publications include The Social and Religious Designs of J. S. Bach's Brandenburg Concertos (Princeton), Lutheranism, anti-Judaism, and Bach's St. John Passion (Oxford), and articles in Harvard Theological Review and the New York Times.

Bach-New Music-Stravinsky Project - 1
Ida Kavafian, violin
Anna Polonsky, piano
8 p.m., Kaul Auditorium

Johann Sebastian Bach, Sonata in E Major for Violin and Keyboard, BWV 1016
Stephen Hartke, Caoine for Violin Solo
Ned Rorem, Autumn Music
Igor Stravinsky, Suite Italienne
Igor Stravinsky, Prelude and Ronde des Princesses


Bach-New Music-Stravinsky Project - 2
Ida Kavafian, violin
Anne-Marie McDermott, piano
8 p.m., Kaul Auditorium

Johann Sebastian Bach, Sonata in C Minor for Violin and Keyboard, BWV 1017
Bruce Adolphe, Three Secret Stories for Violin and Piano (2002)
Igor Stravinsky, Divertimento for Violin and Piano
Igor Stravinsky, Berceuse from The Firebird
Igor Stravinsky, Danse Russe

For images or further press material, please contact Beth Sorensen, Office of Communications, at 503/777-7574 or at .

Reed College, in Portland, Oregon, is an undergraduate institution of the liberal arts and sciences dedicated to sustaining the highest intellectual standards in the country. With an enrollment of about 1,360 students, Reed ranks third in the undergraduate origins of Ph.D.s in the United States and second in the number of Rhodes scholars from a liberal arts college (31 since 1915). For more information, please visit .

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