Professor Timothy Carter is never shy in front of an audience, whether he is delivering a lecture on cellular communication or playing the cello.
His actions give off a sense of practiced elegance, perhaps because he has done both many times before.
Carter, who by day is a professor in the biology department, played in the first of three faculty-student concerts to be held this year by the Honors Program.
Roman Markowicz, world class pianist and friend of Carter, accompanied him during the performance held in St. John’s Hall last Monday.
Carter explained the difficulty with organizing cultural events like this on campus.
“We benefit from being in New York City and we also suffer from it,” he laughed. “Because, if you want to go hear a concert, just go to Carnegie Hall. Why do you have to have an arts and lecture series on campus? And the answer is, well, it’s campus community.”
He admitted that some of his colleagues attempt to organize similar events, and “struggle mightily” in doing so.
It was “long overdue at St John’s” in Carter’s opinion, but he had always hoped to see a student-faculty concert at the University.
“I’ve always thought it would be really nice if St. John’s would have an even more broad and vibrant cultural community to go with its diversity,” he said.
He finally got his wish last spring when he was featured in the first student-faculty concert.
Carter decided that he would play chamber music, a variation of classical music which was played as entertainment centuries ago.As Carter explains, it is “designed to be played in living rooms.”
Traditional chamber music was played using any instruments available, Carter added. With this in mind, he decided to go with an unorthodox instrument.
“Traditionally, when these things were written, they were played in people’s living rooms for fun,” he began.
“And on anything that was around. So I said, let’s do it on kazoos.”
The event last spring was praised by many and it has returned this semester for three days. Monday was the first; the remaining two have not been set. Professor Robert Forman, head of the Honors Program, is in charge of organizing all of the concerts, which are open to the entire University community, as well as the public.
“The person who was mainly responsible for putting these things together was Professor Forman,” Carter said.
He sent letters to all the deans, who forwarded them to the faculty. There were certainly people there who were not associated with the Honors Program.”
Carter maintained that the concerts are more than just a way for professors and students to show off.
“It gets faculty, staff and students together around some common interest,” he said.
And there will always be at least one person to play.
“As long as I’m at St. John’s, and maybe even after I leave, I’ll certainly be available to play once during the year.”