Celebrating 20 Years of the MIT Summer Philharmonic Orchestra

Bhaskar Pant, Executive Director of MIT Professional Education, presents MITSPO conductor and music director George Ogata with an award of excellence for his years of service. Photo: Andy Shao.

On the evening of July 15, 2016, MIT alum George Ogata ‘92 led the 98-piece MIT Summer Philharmonic Orchestra (MITSPO) through Hector Berlioz’s “Symphonie Fantastique, Op. 14” to a full house at Kresge Auditorium. This year marked the 20th anniversary of the annual free-admission performance sponsored by MIT Professional Education and offered to the MIT and greater Cambridge community.

While pursuing his biology degree at MIT, Ogata began serving as the concertmaster of the MIT Symphony Orchestra, a position he held for seven years. In 1995, Ogata founded MITSPO as a way to provide local musicians from MIT and the greater Boston community an opportunity to rehearse and perform orchestral music during the off-season summer months.

“Our 20th anniversary concert was a capstone performance building on previous successful seasons. As director and conductor, I was proud of — and stunned by — the hard work and energy displayed by the musicians,” said Ogata, who also serves as music director and conductor of the Reading Symphony Orchestra based in Reading, Massachusetts. “Not only was this a singular performance, it was a celebration of the fine collaboration with MIT Professional Education, whose dedicated support over all of the past 20 years made that very evening even possible. We are truly grateful.”

The evening opened with Ogata being honored with an award of excellence from MIT Professional Education and endorsed by the MIT Music and Theater Arts section for Ogata’s decades of service to the community. Bhaskar Pant, Executive Director of MIT Professional Education, presented Ogata with the award after his opening remarks.

“George had minored in music while studying at MIT; little did anyone, including George, know at the time he graduated how he would turn that background into a major annual contribution to the MIT and Cambridge music-loving communities,” said Bhaskar Pant after the performance.

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