Looking Back

by Katharine Reece MFA '12

Card image Voltage Control

Voltage Control

In the fall of 1969, Sarah Lawrence installed an electronic music studio, one of the first at a liberal arts college. Music teacher, composer, and harpsichordist Joel Spiegelman founded the studio, which featured a Buchla analog synthesizer (pictured, with Spiegelman). John Yannelli (music) took over as director of the studio in 1983. While the studio now features a far fuller array of equipment, including MIDI synthesizers and plenty of digital recording gear, its most impressive piece remains the now-rare—and widely coveted— Buchla. SLC is one of only three institutions to still own one. (Some students even say that they came to study music at SLC because of it!)

Card image Can't Stop, Won't Stop

Can't Stop, Won't Stop

In 2007, guests and students performed at Projekt Rhythm, a Reisinger event co-hosted by Aja Monet ’09 (pictured). The event, which featured celebrity poet and hip-hop artist Saul Williams, among others, celebrated various urban forms of expression and educated the SLC community about the beauty of hip-hop culture. It’s just one example of the many student-run musical activities on campus, including open mic nights at the Teahaus and Black Squirrel, the Folk Club, the Songwriters Collective, and a variety of a cappella groups. Monet’s hip-hop album, Scared To Make Love/Scared Not To, was released in 2010.

Card image Classic Action

Classic Action

Composer William Schuman started teaching at Sarah Lawrence in 1935, and soon began conducting the chorus, which he brought to national attention. During his time at the College, he was awarded the first Pulitzer Prize ever given for music, for his composition Secular Cantata No. 2: A Free Song in 1943. Schuman left SLC to become president of The Juilliard School in 1945, where he established the Literature and Materials of Music curriculum. In true Sarah Lawrence fashion, it integrated disciplines that had historically been kept separate, including music theory, history, and performance. In 1962, Schuman became the first president of Lincoln Center.

Card image All that Jazz

All that Jazz

Sarah Lawrence’s NAACP chapter started in 1948, and a benefit dance was held for the organization every spring through 1955. At the 1952 dance, which featured jazz composer Noble Sissle’s band, College President Harold Taylor joined cornetist Rex Stewart on stage. Stewart was well-known as a member of the Duke Ellington orchestra. (Ellington himself visited Sarah Lawrence in 1954.)