In Front of My Eyes: A Celebration of Music by and for Thomas Jefferson Anderson


Mar 12 2012 - 8:00pm
Monday, March 12th, 2012 at 8:00 p.m.  In Front of My Eyes: A Celebration of Music by and for Thomas Jefferson Anderson at the Granoff Music Center, 20 Talbot Avenue, Tufts University Medford/Somerville Campus.

Featuring: T.J. Anderson, Stephen Jaffe, and Paul Siskind, guest composers; Elye Alexander, poet; Louise Toppin, soprano; Borromeo String Quartet; BeatCity Art Ensemble (with Amy Advocat, clarinets, Dave Fabris, guitars, Robert Schulz, percussion); John McDonald, piano


TUFTs university department of music presents:  In front of my eyes: A CELEBRATION OF MUSIC BY AND FOR THOMAS JEFFRSON ANDERSON; a special Tufts composers event

Medford/Somerville, MA – The Tufts University Department of Music presents a special Tufts Composers event, a concert entitled “In Front of My Eyes, A Celebration of Music by and for Thomas Jefferson Anderson” in the Distler Performance Hall at the Perry and Marty Granoff Music Center on Monday, March 12th, 2012 at 8 p.m.  With a title taken from his work In Front of My Eyes: An Obama Celebration (with text by Robert Pinsky), this concert celebrates the musical inspirations that have led to Tufts Music Professor Emeritus T.J. Anderson’s prominence and influence as an African-American setting trends and asserting personality in classical music. Composers Stephen Jaffe (Duke University) and Tufts graduate and former Anderson student Paul Siskind (Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam) join the celebration by offering their new works in honor of Anderson, performed by the stellar Borromeo String Quartet, soprano Louise Toppin (performing a new Anderson work with poetry by Elye Alexander), the BeatCity Art Ensemble, and Tufts Music Professor and pianist John McDonald.

The concert will be preceded by two other events on the same day.  From 4:30-6:30 p.m., composers Anderson, Jaffe, and Siskind will host a symposium with poet Alexander, discussing the interplay between music and words.  The symposium will take place in Granoff Room 251 as part of the Tufts Composers Seminar.  Immediately following the symposium, join the speakers at a dual-reception for the concert and Pierrot Project Exhibition in the Slater Concourse next door in the Aidekman Arts Center. 

T.J. Anderson is one of the leading composers of his generation. He was born August 17, 1928 in Coatesville, Pennsylvania and received degrees from West Virginia State College, Penn State University, and a Ph.D in Composition from the University of Iowa. He also holds several honorary degrees. After serving as Chairman of the Department of Music at Tufts University for eight years, Thomas Jefferson Anderson became Austin Fletcher Professor of Music and in 1990 became Austin Fletcher Professor of Music Emeritus. He now lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina where he devotes full time to writing music.

Mr. Anderson studied composition with George Ceiga, Philip Bezanson, Richard Hervig, and Darius Milhaud. Anderson is well known for his orchestration of Scott Joplin's opera, Treemonisha, which premiered in Atlanta in 1972. His first opera, Soldier Boy, Soldier (based on a libretto by Leon Forrest), was commissioned by Indiana University. The opera Walker was commissioned by the Boston Athenaeum with a libretto by Derek Walcott and Slip Knot, commissioned by the School of Music of Northwestern University, is based on a historical paper by T.H. Breen with libretto by Yusef Komunyakaa.

Professor Timothy Breen read the following citation when Anderson received an honorary degree from Northwestern University in 2002: “If music is the universal language, you are a celestial linguist. With artistry, craft and imagination, you translate your understanding of the human experience into melody, reaching our hearts by way of our ears.”

The Granoff Music Center is located at 20 Talbot Avenue on Tufts’ Medford/Somerville campus. Admission to all events is free and open to the public. For more information, please visit or call the Granoff Music Center Box Office at 617.627.3679.