In the nearly four decades Allen Bonde has been teaching at Mount Holyoke, he has shared his passion for music with--and inspired--thousands of students. On May 3, he celebrated both his music and his teaching in a special retirement concert in Abbey Chapel.
Bonde, who first came to MHC in 1971, performed a program of his own compositions, including the premiere of Te Deum Laudamus for women's chorus, brass quintet, and organ. He was joined by his daughter, soprano Mara Bonde '91, and the Mount Holyoke Glee Club, Chorale, and Chamber Singers, under the direction of Kimberly Dunn Adams, and organist Larry Schipull. The program included a special performance of Rose Window, a piece for four-hands piano Bonde wrote in 2001 for the dedication of the back-lighting of Abbey Chapel's Rose window which he performed with his wife, Maria Bonde.
Bonde’s artistic life has been just one facet of his passion, however; in the past 38 years he said he's learned, "Teaching is the art of discovery." He's tried to convey the pleasure of discovery to to his students, as well.
"I am continually cognizant that the order of musical notes in a composition simply reflects the flow of life: One note leads to the next--and to the next--until fulfillment is achieved. I want my students to sense that same revelation with joy and eager anticipation," he said.
Although he officially has retired from teaching , Bonde says it will be "a phased retirement." In addition to spending more time with his wife and their three children and grandchildren, he will continue to perform and compose.
Melinda Spratlan performed in two concerts this year designed to celebrate her 38 years of teaching and performing at Mount Holyoke. Her performance in October with the Mount Holyoke Baroque Ensemble was a reflection of her long-time interest in singing early music, having been a regular member of the Ensemble for over 20 years. She was also soprano soloist in many concerts of the choral ensembles when they performed large works from the Baroque era and she frequently included early music on her annual faculty recitals.
The second celebratory concert in March featured the première of "Four Songs for Soprano and Women's Chorus" by Lewisi Spratlan on poetry by Brad Leithauser. Mount Holyoke Chamber Singers performed with Melinda and Melinda noted that this was a tribute to all the times she was invited to appear on choral ensembles concerts. Sharing the stage with the students of Mount Holyoke was the perfect synthesis of her work with individual students of singing and the gratification and pleasure she has always felt when making music with others.
Litterick specializes in French and Italian secular music of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries; and nineteenth-century music. Louise Litterick's research in Renaissance music deals with the sources and transmission of repertories, the interaction of popular and courtly culture, the relationship between words and music, and performance issues. Her work on the nineteenth century focuses on compositional procedure and the relationship of genre and style to the musical and social culture.
Litterick is the author of many publications, on topics such as Ockeghem's own revision of one of his most famous compositions, performance norms for Franco-Netherlands secular music of the late fifteenth century, Schubert's song cycles, and Brahms's Fourth Symphony. Her articles have been published in a number of venues, including Papal Music and Musicians in Medieval and Renaissance Rome, Le Concert des voix et des instruments a la Renaissance, Early Music History, Nineteenth-Century Music, Brahms Studies, and the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Litterick's most recent publications include articles on Josquin Desprez and Johannes Prioris. She has participated in conferences in Britain and France as well as the U.S., under the auspices of the International Musicological Society, the American Musicological Society, the Library of Congress, the annual British Conference on Medieval and Renaissance Music, and various university and college music departments.
Litterick is currently working on a critical edition of the music of Ninot le Petit that establishes his significance in the evolution of the secular genres of the Renaissance. Another project, a study of a set of music partbooks of disputed provenance, has led to a major revision of our understanding of the history of the French chanson in the early sixteenth century.
Litterick is an active member of the American Musicological Society. In addition to reading papers and chairing sessions at the annual meetings, she has served on the society's council, board, and currently is a member of the Publications Committee.
Litterick teaches a two-semester History of Western Music course along with music analysis and occasional, collaborative introductory courses. She finds it exciting to teach senior seminars that engage students in her research interests, such as Music in Manuscript and Song in Renaissance France, and those that are only tangentially connected with her scholarly work, such as Music in Times of Revolution and War. Students praise Litterick for being a challenging, supportive, and enthusiastic professor, with one student noting, "Louise is an excellent teacher in all aspects: always thoroughly prepared, always genuinely enthusiastic about the material; and she's an encyclopedia of musical references."