“Being at MIT consistently reminds me of how wonderful it is when people think beyond the surface level — up and down to other realms of things,” Jacob Collier said from the Kresge Auditorium stage on December 10, 2016.
The occasion was a three-hour concert and culmination of the multi-Grammy-winning musician’s residency with the MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble. It was produced by the MIT Center for Art, Science, and Technology (CAST) and with MIT Music and Theater Arts. The project began in the early fall of 2016 and grew to include a feature-length documentary.
“It was a kind of ‘perfect storm’ of circumstances and creative collaborations,” says Dr. Frederick Harris, MIT’s Director of Wind and Jazz Ensembles. “What happens when an extremely gifted musician connects with a brilliant music technology graduate student? They begin to build a unique instrument never before heard and tour the world with an innovative performance platform. And what happens when they collaborate with MIT musicians?”
A second home at MIT
Ben Bloomberg, a PhD student in the MIT Media Lab, met Collier in 2015. The two became fast friends and artistic collaborators. In addition to building Collier’s Vocal Harmoniser at MIT and creating his one-man-band performance vehicle, Bloomberg served as the balance engineer for "In My Room," Collier’s Grammy-winning 2016 debut recording.
Over the course of their collaboration, Collier’s appreciation for the Institute grew. “MIT feels like a second home to me now,” he says.