Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo

 

Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

{ action.text }

From a very young age, Mary Farbood’s passion has been music.

“I still remember begging my parents to let me take piano lessons when I was five years old,” she says. Happily, they acquiesced when she was seven, and today she’s a visiting assistant professor of music and music professions at New York University.

Although the piano first whetted Farbood’s appetite for music, a bad case of tendinitis forced her to give up the instrument at 17. Instead of pursuing a conservatory education after precollege studies at Juilliard, she attended Harvard University, where she studied music and computer science while playing both the keyboard and the French horn in two different orchestras.

For one concert, Farbood was asked to play the harpsichord solo, an experience she calls eye-­opening. “At that point I became very interested in learning how to play the instrument properly,” she says. “Harpsichord technique is quite different from piano technique and requires a very different approach to expressive playing.”

As an Emerson Fellow pursuing PhD studies at the Media Lab, Farbood resumed private music lessons. In 2005 she won first prize at the Prague International Harpsichord Competition; the next year she won the Pro Musicis International Award.

Besides performing, Farbood studied music theory and cognition, computational modeling of music, and computer-assisted and algorithmic composition systems. As part of her PhD work, she authored Hyperscore, software that uses computer graphics instead of musical notation to teach the essentials of music composition. “MIT was essential in shaping my interests and focusing them,” Farbood says. “While I had studied both music and computer science at Harvard, they were separate endeavors. MIT provided me with just the right environment to combine these two interests.”

Farbood now commutes between New York and Boston, where her husband lives.

0 comments about this story. Start the discussion »

Credit: Susan Wilson

Tagged: MIT

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives

Close

Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me