Short Takes

Choruses to Perform Harvard Pieces

The Collegium Musicum and the Radcliffe Choral Society (RCS) will perform works by Harvard composers tonight, including the world premier of a piece by a graduate student in the Math Department, members of the organizations said yesterday.

The Collegium's portion of the concert will only include works by Harvard related composers, and the RCS half will include a variety of 20th century American works, said Director of the Collegium Neil J. Marvin, a senior lecturer on music.

Marvin praised "Meditations On Mortality," which was written by 22-year-old Noam D. Elkies, a mathematics graduate student and number theorist. "I [realized] it must be performed...He's a very deep thinker," Marvin said.

Elkies said there was no mathematical connection in his composition, adding, "I've seen such things tried, and it's not very interesting music and very bad math."


"I've known tons of music lovers and amateur performers who are mathematicians...I think there's a real corollary there," Marvin said.

Debate Tournament Opens With New Rules

Changes in judiciary policy marked the opening of "BAD--the Tournament" (a.k.a. the eighth Harvard Speech and Parliamentary Debate Society Tournament), which began yesterday and will continue through today.

The new rules, designed by Neill Buchanan, the team's founder and coach, allow judges to decide whether any given argument follows the stated topic of debate. He said debaters had begun preparing arguments in advance, then stretching the assigned topics to fit.

Topic choices are announced 10 minutes before each debate begins, he said.

The judges identify themselves by wearing one white plastic hospital glove, inspiring Buchanan to call the event the "Michael Jackson Proctology Tournament."

One hundred thirty teams of two apiece are visiting Harvard this weekend, representing the 60 member colleges of the American Parliamentary Debate Association (APDA), said Buchanan.

The debaters may choose to discuss one of two topics or resolutions per round. The "government" team bases its argument on the resolution chosen, while the opposition team must respond with an impromptu argument.

In the first rounds of yesterday's debate, the teams could choose to argue on Joseph Goebbels' comment, "Whenever I hear the word, `culture,' I reach for my revolver," and Stalin's "One death is a tragedy; one million deaths are a statistic."

Tournament winners will receive trophies and qualify for a national tournament in the spring, said Buchanan.