MIT presents THIS MUST BE NOW! Featuring 125 performers of world premiere compositions

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has announced It Must Be Now!, a unique immersive music and multimedia event featuring world premieres of newly commissioned works by three great jazz artists of our time – Terri Lyne Carrington, Braxton Cook and Sean Jones – and live VJ’ing by acclaimed visual artist and filmmaker Mickalene Thomas. The compositions explore themes such as the resilience of black women, the concept of Pangea (an ancient supercontinent) as a vehicle for Afrofuturism, and the value of healing as we continue to process the collective trauma of the pandemic and racial injustices. They will perform together on May 7, 2022 at MIT Kresge Auditorium in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Proceeds from the concert will be donated to Artists for Humanity (AFH).

125 participants will perform, including Carrington, Cook, Jones, Thomas, the MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble, the MIT Vocal Jazz Ensemble, the MIT Wind Ensemble, other student musicians from MIT, Berklee, and the New England Conservatory, and an array of artists, including arranger/producer/singer, Laura Grill Jaye of MIT, arranger/orchestrator Edmar Colón, dancer Vinson Fraley, Jr., electronic music composer/percussionist/turntable player Val Jeanty, aka Val-Inc, producer of music/pianist/turntable Wendel Patrick, guitarist Andrew Renfroe, and lyricist/poet/spoken singer Orlando Watson.

Created in the summer of 2020 and led by Dr. Frederick Harris, Jr., It Must Be Now! launched in the spring of 2021 and has since featured seven online events, including a January IAP series engaging the MIT community in conversations about how these artists are integrating social and racial justice into their compositions.

By bringing together members of MIT’s academic and non-academic communities with renowned musicians and multimedia arts, It Must Be Now! intends to form a coalition promoting increased awareness and change.

“This is a project about process and transformation,” Harris notes. “I am especially thrilled that a variety of students from all disciplines will engage with these phenomenal artists to shape the final work. Our greatest goal is to inspire activism and bring about change. We want to recognize the historical perspectives of various injustices, but we are moving towards this moment, imagining what could and should be the reality now.”

Braxton Cook’s composition delves into the juxtaposition between light and dark as he wonders where we find ourselves as a society dealing with the collective trauma of the pandemic and police brutality while trying to adjust our perspective to focus on what we have instead of what we have lost.

Terri Lyne Carrington’s composition explores the shared struggles, inherent truths and sheer resilience of black women, born into a world of injustice and tasked with managing the overt and subliminal burdens placed upon them while claiming the right to be. free and whole. Carrington’s play reflects the legacy of creativity and invention of enslaved Africans and their descendants and aims to find a path to abolition, self-determination and justice.

Mickalene Thomas will VJ a visual composition in collaboration with Terri Lyne Carrington, using stock photo footage to present an original live montage in response to Carrington’s musical score.

Sean Jones’ composition explores the concept of Pangea (an ancient supercontinent) as a vehicle for Afrofuturism, questioning whether a more geographically linked world would still cause such deep divisions and misunderstandings about who we are. as human beings?

About It must be now!

Created and directed by Frederick Harris Jr., co-director of the MIT Sounding series, It Must Be Now! (IMBN!), brings together three leading musicians (Terri Lyne Carrington, Braxton Cook, and Sean Jones) to compose large-scale works for MIT musicians on the broad theme of racial justice. In collaboration with multimedia artists, MIT students and community members, and others beyond MIT, this two-year project aims to address racial and social injustices and their intersections. IMBN! explores institutional racism; environmental, economic and health injustices; police brutality; and abolitionism.

The genesis of the project began to take shape in March 2019, during trumpeter-composer-educator Sean Jones’ successful residency with the MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble. A year later, as a massive racial tally swept the country in response to the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and other black Americans, music director and project manager Fred Harris felt that a artistic response was needed, and that a collaboration he envisioned with Jones could be expanded into a larger multidisciplinary effort that reflects the scale and urgency of the situation.

Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, Max Roach, Nina Simone, Abbey Lincoln and many other jazz artists have long addressed racial issues through their music and lyrics. New generations of musicians (including Carrington, Cook and Jones) continued on this path. They are more than ready to respond to the urgency of the current racial toll.

About the MIT Center for Art, Science and Technology:
A major cross-school initiative, the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST) creates new opportunities for art, science, and technology to thrive as interdependent and mutually-dependent modes of exploration, knowledge, and discovery. informative. MIT CAST’s multidisciplinary platform presents performing and visual arts programs, supports research projects for artists working with science and engineering laboratories, and sponsors symposia, courses, workshops, design studios, conferences and publications. The Visiting Artist Program is the cornerstone of CAST’s activities, which encourages cross-fertilization across disciplines and intensive interaction with MIT faculty, students, and researchers. CAST presents the MIT Sounding concert series and is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

About MIT Music and Theater Arts

MIT Music and Theater Arts invites students to explore these disciplines as artistic practices and as cultural, intellectual, and personal avenues of inquiry and discovery. Students can pursue concentrations, minors, or majors in music or theater, as well as joint majors with engineering or science. Classes are tailored to the prior experiences of the students taking them, from introductory classes with no prior training to advanced seminars, private lessons, and performance opportunities for musicians ready to work at near-professional levels. The program integrates and deepens the connections between music and technology, science, society, and other humanities disciplines, creating an intensely rich experience unique to MIT. Music and the Theater Arts serves nearly half of MIT’s undergraduate population with some 2,000 students enrolled each semester.

Event details:

MIT Presents It Must Be Now! — Advance social justice actions through music and media

With Terri Lyne Carrington, Braxton Cook, Sean Jones, Mickalene Thomas and

125 performers of world premiere compositions

It must be now!

Saturday, May 7, 2022 / 8:00 p.m. (EST)

Kresge Auditorium, MIT Building W16

48 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA

Live streaming available by registering


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