In 1948, John Corley was director of the Brookline High School Band when he got a call from MIT’s first full-time professor of music, Klaus Liepmann. The 75-plus students who had not qualified for the MIT orchestra wanted to form a band. Was Corley interested? It was the talent of the students that convinced him to come. For the next 51 years, Corley worked with more than 1,000 MIT students. Any band member from Corley’s time knew of his passion for new music. Band members appreciated his willingness to challenge them and the opportunity to perform new works commissioned for them.
Not many students of the popular Berklee School of Music composition professor know that John Bavicchi started college at MIT studying engineering and management (1940–1942). John Corley formed a special relationship with the one-time MIT student, commissioning a dozen works by him. The MIT Band premiered his Festival Symphony on November 6,1965.
Festival Symphony (Symphony No.1), Opus 51, Sound Recording
Recording courtesy of the MIT Lewis Music Library
photo: MIT Museum Collections