'Mozart 250th Anniversary Celebration'


Julie Y. Zhou

Members of the Mozart Society Orchestra prepare for a concert to mark their namesake’s 250th birthday. The performance, featuring music as well as cake, will take place at 8 p.m. in Lowell Lecture Hall.

“Mozart 250th Anniversary Celebration” Friday, Feb. 24 at 8:00 P.M. Tickets available at the Harvard Box Office, (617) 496-2222, $8 regular / $6 students.

On a quiet street in Salzburg there stands an unassuming apartment building painted sunshine yellow. Out front, hordes of tourists from all corners of the earth eat ice cream, snap photos, and wander about. The scene is puzzling at first, until one notices the enormous letters declaring Mozarts Geburtshaus (“Mozart’s Birthplace”) in sparkling gold.

On January 27, 1756, Mozart—whom his father modestly described as “the miracle which God let be born in Salzburg”—screamed his way into existence in this very building. Now most parents think their children are miracles. But Leopold Mozart cannot be censured for his paternal arrogance. His son,Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, is, after all, arguably the greatest composer in the history of the universe.

Such a man deserves quite a birthday celebration and this year marks his 250th anniversary. Accordingly, this Friday, from 8-10 p.m. in Lowell Lecture Hall, the Mozart Society Orchestra—under the baton of distinguished conductor and singer Akiko Fujimoto—is prepared to do him justice with a special birthday concert in which they will present his best-known works as performed by some of Harvard’s finest.

The distinguished ensemble will accompany Kathryn E. Andersen ’07 and Brendan J. Gillis ’06 on the Sinfonia Concertante for violin, viola & orchestra, KV364: Allegro Maestoso. Both soloists are prominent members of the Harvard Radcliffe Orchestra and the Brattle Street Chamber Players.

Aaron L. Berkowitz, a Ph.D. candidate in Music, who has played for such illustrious musicians as Misha Dichter and Joseph Kalichstein, will perform Piano Concerto No. 23, KV488: Adagio. Amanda Forsythe, soprano, will sing “Misera, dove son!,” KV369 with her silvery tone. Forsythe, who recently made her recital debut in New York, is a winner of the George London Foundation Awards and the Walter W. Naumberg Foundation Award, among others.

Finally, actor Jess R. Burkle ’06 will regale audience members with tales and letters from Mozart’s life.

And of course, the celebration would not be complete without a party and a birthday cake, which will be served along with fruit and other delicious desserts. Make sure you don’t leave until you’ve had a chance to join in and sing “Happy Birthday” to dear Wolfgang, even if you can’t sing in tune.