Author: Rick Peterson

Walk, Talk, Ignore the Clock: English class inspires first community walk

In this “hurry-hurry, rush-rush world,” where everyone seemingly only communicates via social media, Lawrence University is offering an opportunity to hit the pause, or at least the slow-down, button.

On Thursday, May 24, beginning at 4:30 p.m., the university will host its first Community City Walk for any interested members of the Lawrence and Appleton communities. The walk is an outgrowth of the Spring Term class “The Meaning of Life” taught by Associate Professor of English David McGlynn.

It’s not a march. It’s not a protest. It’s not a fun run,” said McGlynn. “It’s an opportunity for people of all stripes to come together and simply walk, talk and ignore the clock. We want this to be a casual, leisurely stroll around the neighborhoods surrounding the campus as well as through the central business district so folks can talk to each other and connect on a deeper level while enjoying the fresh air. It’s really a ‘community bonding event’ designed to help people get to know each other better in the hope of creating connections.”

The walk will start in front of Main Hall and end approximately at 6 p.m. on the Boldt Plaza in front of the Warch Campus Center. Free ice cream will be provides and, without the need to climb a mountain and consult with a sage guru, the meaning of life will be revealed.

David McGlynn
David McGlynn

McGlynn’s “The Meaning of Life” class is full of conversations about community, connecting with other people and finding purpose in life. The class has had engaged conversations with several prominent members of the Lawrence and Appleton communities.

“There is a long tradition of ‘city walking’ in the Western tradition,” said McGlynn. “Numerous writers and thinkers have examined how walking enlivens the mind, lifts the mood, connects us to our bodies, environments and communities, and structures activities ranging from religious pilgrimages to political marches.”

McGlynn has led members of the class on walks this spring in an attempt to move students beyond the campus perimeter, to help foster conversation and to allow those students who haven’t felt safe in town to explore the area in a relaxed and protected setting. McGlynn called the those walks “rewarding and enriching experiences for everyone involved.

“We believe a large gathering of the Lawrence community peacefully ambling through the streets — simply walking and talking — will make a tremendous statement about the college’s place in the city, the diverse make-up of our community and our desire to break through the bubble that too often separates Lawrence from Appleton,” he added.

Senior Arianna Cohen, who has taken two classes with McGlynn, including his “Meaning of Life Class,” said he would often talk about how important taking a walk was to him.

“He encouraged us to go out and take walks without bringing our phones so we could enjoy the world around us,” said Cohen. “The Lawrence Bubble is a real thing and Professor McGlynn wants to open the students’ eyes to all that Appleton has to offer.”

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Kenneth Bozeman examines the role of voice in annual Honors Convocation

Music professor Kenneth Bozeman examines the role voice plays in forming connections, relationships and social structures in Lawrence University’s annual Honors Convocation.

Ken Bozeman
Kenneth Bozeman

Bozeman, the Frank C. Shattuck Professor of Music, presents “Voice, the Muscle of the Soul: Finding Yourself Through Finding Your Voice,” Tuesday, May 22 at 11:10 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. The event is free and open to the public and also will be available via live webcast at livestream.com/LawrenceUniversity.

The Honors Convocation publicly recognizes students and faculty recipients of awards and prizes for excellence in the arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences, languages and music as well as demonstrated excellence in athletics and service to others. Bozeman was chosen as the  speaker as the recipient of Lawrence’s Faculty Convocation Award, which honors a faculty member for distinguished professional work. He is the ninth faculty member so honored.

According to Bozeman, a person’s voice is a kind of audible fingerprint, helping define who we are and of who we perceive ourselves to be.  Beginning with the first breath immediately after birth, humans are hard-wired to express feelings and needs primarily through voice. It is strongly associated with personal identity. The process of developing one’s voice and the ability to express one’s deepest feelings and convictions through voice is a process of self-discovery and self-formation.

A member of the faculty since 1977, Bozeman began his career teaching teaching voice science and pedagogy. He is the author of two books, “Practical Vocal Acoustics: Pedagogic Applications for Teachers and  Singers”  and “Kinesthetic Voice Pedagogy: Motivating Acoustic Efficiency.” He was awarded the Van Lawrence Fellowship by the Voice Foundation in 1994 for his interest in voice science and pedagogy and serves as the chair of the editorial board of the Journal of Singing.

He has been recognized with both of Lawrence’s teaching honors, the Young Teacher Award in 1980 and the Excellence in Teaching Award in 1996.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

Religious studies professor Constance Kassor awarded NEH grant for Buddhist text translation

With the support of a $6,000 grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities, Lawrence University’s Constance Kassor will put her expertise in classical Tibetan language to use this summer.

Beginning July 1, Kassor, an assistant professor of religious studies at Lawrence, will spend two months in Kathmandu, Nepal, working on a translation of the 15th-century Tibetan Buddhist text “Synopsis of the Middle Way.” It’s a project Kassor first began tackling in 2014.

Constance Kassor
Constance Kassor

The “Synopsis” is an encyclopedic, 459-page treatise, composed by the influential philosopher Gorampa Sonam Senge (1429-89), considered the most significant philosopher in a minority sect of Tibetan Buddhism known as Sakya. Gorampa is renowned for arguing against his philosophical rival Tsongkhapa (1357-1419), founder of what later came to be known as the Gelug sect.

“Gorampa is best remembered for his harsh, vehement criticism against the Gelug sect, which is the school the Dalai Lama belongs to,” explained Kassor, who joined the Lawrence faculty in 2016. “He criticized that school very negatively in his philosophical writings. His criticism was considered so harsh that the 5th Dalai Lama banned all of his texts in Tibet. From the 17th century until about 1925, Gorampa’s texts were only studied secretly in remote areas of eastern Tibet. In the 1920s, the 13th Dalai Lama gave permission for this text to be brought out again to the world. Now, his work is experiencing a revival.”

Despite renewed interest in Gorampa’s views, only two of his complete extant works have been translated into English. The vast majority of English-language scholarship on Tibetan philosophy consists of texts written from within the dominant Gelug sect while comparatively little English-language scholarship focuses on the Sakya and other minority traditions.

While in Nepal, Kassor will collaborate with Ven. Dr. Ngawang Jorden, a Tibetan monk and the principal of the International Buddhist Academy, which is part school, part monastic institution, part leadership center.

The text Kassor is translating was written in classical Tibetan, which is different from modern spoken Tibetan.

“They are about as different as English and Latin,” said Kassor, who is fluent in modern Tibetan. “Jorden is a monk who has lived most of his life in India, but got his Ph.D. from Harvard. “He’s fluent in English and I am pretty good in classical Tibetan, so we make a good working team.”

Four years into the translation project, Kassor estimates she’s about three-quarters finished.

“My goal for the summer in the time I’m going to spend with Jorden is to work on a couple of the most difficult passages with him. I hope to have the entire text translated in another two years.”

Kassor said she has received preliminary interest from several publishers for her translation once its completed.

“The issues raised by Gorampa and his interlocutors in this text will be of interest to scholars of Buddhist and Western philosophical traditions,” said Kassor, “as well as to a broader audience interested in questions concerning the nature of knowledge and the mind more generally.”

Established in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) promotes excellence in the humanities and conveying the lessons of history by awarding grants for top-rated proposals examined by panels of independent, external reviewers.

NEH grants typically go to cultural institutions as well as to individual scholars. The grants are designed to strengthen teaching and learning in schools and colleges; facilitate research and original scholarship; provide opportunities for lifelong learning; preserve and provide access to cultural and educational resources; and strengthen the institutional base of the humanities.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Gamelan ensembles close World Music Series

Lawrence University’s own 15-member Balinese gamelan ensemble —Gamelan Cahaya Asri — closes the college’s 2017-18 World Music Series with a performance Sunday, May 20 at 3 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. The concert is free and open to the public.

members of the Lawrence gamelan ensembleJoining Gamelan Cahaya Asri will be the 14-member community gamelan — Gamelan Sekar Kemuda — which includes players as young as 13 and as old as 82. A children’s gamelan of 11 students aged 5-10 years old, also will perform.

The concert will include a performance by Chicago-based Balinese dancer Claire Fassnacht. A 2013 Lawrence graduate, Fassnacht leads gamelan and dance workshops, private lessons and cultural lectures. She has performed as a musician and dancer with several gamelan ensembles in the U.S. and Bali, Indonesia. From 2015-17, she was a dancer and musician with MIT’s Gamelan Galak Tika in Boston.

Featuring metallophones, gongs, drums and bamboo flutes from Indonesia, the concert will include meditative traditional ceremonial pieces and vibrant contemporary works by Balinese composers.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Exceptional student research showcased in annual Harrison Symposium

Nearly 50 students will make research presentations on topics in the humanities and social sciences Saturday, May 19 during Lawrence University’s 21th annual Richard A. Harrison Symposium.

Showcasing exceptional student research, the symposium presentations begin at 9:15 a.m. in various locations throughout Main Hall. A complete schedule of all presentations can be found here. All sessions are free and open to the public.2018 Harrison Symposium Logo

The symposium features 20-minute presentations arranged by topic or field. Each series is moderated by a Lawrence faculty member and includes a 10-minute question-and-answer session following the presentations. Symposium participants present their work in the format used for professional meetings of humanities and social sciences scholars.

Among the 48 scheduled presentations are: “Julius Caesar, Last Republican Man or First Emperor?”; “Creativity and Mental Illness in Vincente Minnelli’s ‘Lust for Life’; “Jackie Kennedy: A Reflection of the 1960’s Changes in Women’s Societal Roles through Fashion”; “Do Minority Women Elicit Benevolent Sexism Differently Than White Women?”; “Understanding Zika Virus in Rural Costa Rica”; and “The Sects Talk: How Religious Differences Shape Political Conflict Between Iran and Saudi Arabia.”

First conducted in 1996, the symposium honors former Lawrence Dean of the Faculty Richard Harrison, who died unexpectedly the following year. The symposium was renamed in his honor to recognize his vision of highlighting excellent student scholarship.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

Lawrence sponsoring grant-writing workshops for area nonprofit organizations

Lawrence University, in conjunction with United Way Fox Cities and the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, is sponsoring a series of free community grant-writing workshops for area nonprofit organizations.

Since 2015, Lawrence has served as a partner of the Funding Information Network with the Foundation Center of New York to provide resources for area grant seekers. Based at Lawrence’s Seeley G. Mudd library, FIN makes available a wealth of Foundation Center information, including searchable grant and funder databases.A logo of the Funding Information Network

The upcoming workshop schedule:

• May 16, 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.: “Introduction to the Funding Information Network Workshop,” Seeley G. Mudd library, IT room, second floor.

• July 17, 10:30 a.m.–12 p.m.: “Introduction to Proposal Writing Workshop,” James P. Coughlin Center, Meeting Room B, 625 E. Country Road Y, Oshkosh.

• July 31, 10:30 a.m.–12 p.m.: “Introduction to the Funding Information Network Workshop,” Sage Hall, computer lab, 850 High Ave., UW-Oshkosh.

• August 8, 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.: “Introduction to Proposal Writing Workshop,” Thomas Steitz Hall of Science, Room 202, Lawrence University.

Space is limited for all workshops and registration is required. To register, email Svetlana Belova at svetlana.v.belova@lawrence.edu with your name and phone number. More information about the Funding Information Network at Lawrence University can be found at http://guides.lib.lawrence.edu/funding.

Anthropologist Brenda Jenike, classicist Randall McNeill appointed to endowed professorships

Two Lawrence University faculty members have been named to endowed professorships, which recognize academic distinction through teaching excellence and/or scholarly achievement.

Brenda Jenike, associate professor of anthropology, has been appointed the Edward F. Mielke Professor of Ethics in Medicine, Science and Society. Randall McNeill, associate professor of classics, has been named the Ottilia Buerger Professor of Classical Studies. The appointments are effective July 1.

“Lawrence embraces the teacher/scholar model of faculty excellence, in which a professor’s scholarly and creative interests flourish through their experiences with students,” said Catherine Gunther Kodat, provost and dean of the faculty. “Professor Jenike and Professor McNeil are particularly noteworthy in this regard: they are both experts in their fields and superb teachers. It’s a great pleasure to be able to recognize their talent and commitment through these distinguished appointments.”

The Edward F. Mielke Professorship in Ethics in Medicine, Science, and Society was established in 1985 by the Mielke Family Foundation in memory of Dr. Edward F. Mielke, a leading member of the Appleton medical community and founder of the Appleton Medical Center. Two of his sisters, Ruth Mielke and Sarah Mielke, were 1914 and 1916 graduates of Lawrence, respectively. Ruth Mielke was a long-time librarian at Appleton High School while Sarah Mielke taught mathematics at Shawano High School.

Brenda Jenike
Brenda Jenike

The Mielke endowed professorship has been held previously by Jack Stanley (1987-1999) and Patrick Boleyn-Fitzgerald (2008-2016).

Jenike joined the Lawrence faculty in 2004. In addition to teaching in the anthropology department, which she currently chairs, she has served as faculty advisor to the biomedical ethics program the past 14 years. She also is the current director of the East Asian Studies program, which she previously led from 2011-14.

Incorporating an interdisciplinary approach — cultural, social and medical anthropology, Japanese studies, gender studies, public health, gerontology, social welfare — Jenike’s research interests include issues related to aging, late life and elder care in Japan’s rapidly aging population. Her current focus is on robotic assisted caregiving.

In her seminars, students examine biomedical ethics in cross-cultural and global context, including an understanding of local moralities and the subjectivities of perceived disabilities in local and global worlds.

The co-author of “Transforming the Cultural Scripts for Aging and Elder Care in Japan,” for The Cultural Context of Aging: Worldwide Perspectives, Jenike has written numerous published articles, including several in Japanese that have appeared in publications in Japan.

Prior to Lawrence, Jenike spent a year on the faculty at the University of Notre Dame and also has taught at Pomona College and UCLA.

She spent a year as an exchange student studying at Japan’s Doshisha University while an undergraduate of Pomona College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Asian Studies. She also studied at Japan’s Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies and Ochanomizu University before earning her Ph.D. in anthropology from UCLA.

The Ottilia Buerger Professorship was established in 2002 by a bequest from the estate of Ottilia Buerger to endow a professorship in medieval or classical studies. A native of Mayville, Buerger graduated magna cum laude and a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 1938 from what was then Lawrence College. She taught Latin and English in high schools in Goodman, Wautoma and Beaver Dam for several years.

Her lifelong interest in history, classics and numismatics fueled her passion for assembling a world-renowned collection of ancient Greek and Roman coins. The Buerger Collection was given to Lawrence after her death in 2001. It serves as an invaluable resource for students and faculty studying the ancient world.

The Buerger Professorship is currently held by Carol Lawton, professor of art history, who is retiring at the end of the 2017-18 academic year.

Randall McNeill
Randall McNeill

McNeill joined the Lawrence classics department in 1999 after teaching three years at Yale University. He has served as chair of the department since 2007.

A specialist in Latin poetry and Greek and Roman history, McNeill is the author of the book “Horace: Image, Identity and Audience,” which examines techniques Horace used to depict his personal existence and how those techniques influenced later Roman poets. In addition to his book, he also has authored numerous scholarly articles, many related to Horace and the poetry of Catullus.

He has been the recipient of a $75,000 grant from the Arete Initiative at the University of Chicago for the Defining Wisdom Project. McNeill was one of 23 scholars in the United States and Europe selected for a grant from a field of more than 600 researchers. The grant supported McNeill’s research for the book project “The Price of Wisdom: Community and the Individual in Greek and Roman Poetry.” His contributions grew out of investigations of ancient Greek and Roman conceptions of “civic wisdom.”

A native of Chicago, McNeill was honored in 2003 with Lawrence’s Young Teacher Award in recognition of “demonstrated excellence in the classroom and the promise of continued growth.”

McNeill earned a bachelor’s degree in classics summa cum laude from Harvard University, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and earned the John Curtis Prize in Latin Literature. He earned a master’s degree and his Ph.D. in classics at Yale University.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

Emerging field of trapped ions explored in physics colloquium

Experimental physicist Jonathan Mizrahi presents “Trapped Ion Quantum Computing” Thursday, May 10 at 11:10 a.m. in a Lawrence University physics colloquium. The presentation, in Youngchild Hall 115, is free and open to the public.

Jonathan Mizrahi
Jonathan Mizrahi

Mizrahi, a senior engineer at Maryland-based IonQ, Inc., one of the world’s leading developers of quantum computers, will explain how ion traps work, how one manipulates ions with lasers, how ions can serve as qubits in a quantum computer, and the prospects for a large ion-based quantum computer.

Trapped atomic ions are among the most pristine quantum systems one can create. Through a combination of electric levitation of atomic ions and laser pulses to then cool them to ultra-cold temperatures, scientists can employ the ions for a variety of precision-sensing uses such as atomic clocks and quantum engineering.

Prior to joining IonQ, Mizrahi served as a postdoctoral fellow at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico, a National Nuclear Security Administration research and development laboratory. He earned a bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics from Brandeis University and Ph.D. in atomic/molecular physics from the University of Maryland.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Lawrence theatre arts dept. presents “Love and Information”

The myriad of ways people long for, share and interpret today’s constant bombardment of data and information gets a rapid-fire treatment in Lawrence University’s production of award-winning British playwright Caryl Churchill’s “Love and Information.”

A scene from the play "Love and Information"
Hotel housekeeper Erin McCammond-Watts (left) convinces fellow housekeeper Caro Granner to share a secret about something she did in that room. Photo by Billy Liu.

Four performances will be staged in Stansbury Theater May 10-12 with an 8 p.m. show each night and an additional 3 p.m. matinee on Saturday, May 3. Tickets, at $15 for adults, $8 for students/seniors, are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749.

Written in 2012, the “play” is actually a series of more than 60 thought-provoking scenes and vignettes, some of which are less than a minute long, featuring 17 actors portraying a dizzying array of questioning, frustrated characters. Each explores how we communicate with the people we love, covering the spectrum of human emotions, from comic to tragic.

Known for her minimalist style, Churchill provides dialogue, divided into small, titled scenes that are further grouped into sections, but without location, character names or character relationships. Churchill puts the onus of the details on the production team.

“I told the cast Caryl Churchill looked at life and distilled it down to the equivalent of a stick figure drawing,’” said Kathy Privatt, James G. and Ethel M. Barber Professor of Theatre and Drama and associate professor of theatre arts, who is directing the production. “Our job as a production team is to create fully-fleshed people in situations, all the while knowing that as specific as we are, each audience member may see or hear something different because ‘information’ just isn’t that concrete.

A scene from the play "Love and Information"
After learning back-yard gardener Xi (Zoey) Lin (left) had phoned in an anonymous tip to the police, family member Dana Cordry is convinced they’ll have to move or hide.

According to Privatt, the play invites the audience to be part of the production by bringing themselves, their experiences and their perceptions to see what they see.

“We’re actively making meaning and asking the audience to do the same – just like we do every day in our lives,” said Privatt. “And just maybe, we’ll recognize ourselves, or remember a time, or understand an encounter a little differently after we share this time in the theatre together.”

Privatt noted that since the play was selected for performance last spring, world events have refocused our national attention on information.

“I assume our audiences may bring some of those perspectives to the performance,” said Privatt.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

Award-winning pianist/composer Vijay Iyer closes 2017-18 Jazz Series

Grammy Award-nominated pianist/composer/bandleader/electronic musician and writer Vijay Iyer and his five-person band closes Lawrence University 2017-18 Jazz Series Friday, May 11 at 8 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel.

Tickets for the performance, at $25-30 for adults, $20-25 for seniors, $18-20 for students, are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749.

Vijay Iyer
Vijay Iyer. Photo by Jimmy Katz.

A New York native — born in Albany, raised in Fairport — the multi-talented Iyer began playing the piano by ear as a child and mostly self-taught on the instrument.

That hasn’t prevented him from earning Downbeat magazine’s Jazz Artist of the Year honors in 2012, 2015 and 2016. He was named  Artist of the Year in Jazz Times’ Critics’ Poll and Readers’ Poll for 2017.

His numerous accolades also include Musician of the Year honors from the Jazz Journalists Association in 2010 and being named one of the 50 Most Influential Global Indians by GQ India in 2011.

“It is a great honor to have Vijar Iyer close our Jazz Series,” said José Encarnación, assistant professor of music and director of jazz studies at Lawrence. “As a pianist and composer Mr. Iyer will bring his own unique style, a style that pushes the edges of modern jazz’s contours with a lyrical and elegant approach to improvisation. This will be a concert full of ingenuity, grace and distinction.”

In addition to his current sextet — horn player Graham Haynes, alto saxophonist Steve Lehman, tenor saxophonist Mark Shim, bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore — Iyer has led several distinct combos, including Spirit Complex, The Poisonous Prophets and the Vijar Iyer Trio. He has collaborated with some of the most important contemporary jazz pioneers, including Steve Coleman, Rudresh Mahanthappa and the “king of the hip-hop concept” Mike Ladd, among others.

Iyer’s discography spans 21 albums, including 2017’s “Far From Over” with the Vijay Iyer Sextet. The album was atop numerous year-end critics polls, while Rolling Stone magazine hailed it as “2017’s jazz album to beat.” His 2013 album, “Holding it Down: The Veterans’ Dreams Project,” a politically searing collaboration with poet-performer Mike Ladd, was named Album of the Year by the Los Angeles Times.

Vijay Iyer Sextet
The Vijay Iyer Sextet includes drummer Marcus Gilmore, Iyer, horn player Graham Haynes, tenor saxophonist Mark Shim, alto saxophonist Steve Lehman and bassist Stephan Crump. Photo by Lynne Harty.

Iyer, who earned a Ph.D. in    an interdisciplinary study of the cognitive science of music from the University of California, earned one of the country’s most coveted awards in 2013, a $500,000 “genius” grant from the MacArthur Foundation.

As a composer, he his commissions have earned world premieres performed by such notable artists as Imani Winds, The Silk Road Ensemble, Brentano Quartet, Bang on a Can All-Stars, among others.

Iyer serves as the Franklin D. and Florence Rosenblatt Professor of the Arts at Harvard University as well as the director of the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.