“A conservatory is a place where traditions are preserved. For 150 years they’ve been doing that for classical music at the New England Conservatory,” writes James Sullivan in Thursday’s (2/16) Boston Globe. “They’ve also made ample room for experimentation and change.” On Thursday, Ken Schaphorst, head of the school’s Jazz Studies department, will “help kick off the school’s yearlong celebration of its 150th anniversary, as he leads the NEC Jazz Orchestra in a unique collaboration with [the NEC Philharmonia, the NEC Gospel Ensemble, and] the soulful pop band Lake Street Dive…. The members of Lake Street Dive … met while attending NEC…. A (very) short list of high-achieving NEC alumni might include the free-jazz pianist Cecil Taylor, the keyboardist John Medeski, NPR ‘From the Top’ host Christopher O’Riley, and vocalist Coretta Scott, who later took the surname of her husband, Martin Luther King Jr., after meeting him for their first date on the steps of [the school’s] Jordan Hall…. The bulk of the 150th anniversary commemoratives will take place during the 2017-18 academic season.” Interim president Thomas Novak says the anniversary “provides the school a welcome opportunity to enhance its reputation as an international leader of innovative practices.”

Posted February 16, 2017