Caltech Chamber Music in the Press

(From Caltech News, vol. 35, no. 1, 2001)

For most of his life, Donald Hudson '38, PhD '42, who died in 1999, studied earthquakes at Caltech as a professor of mechanical engineering and applied mechanics. but he also had a special love of chamber music, and, in honor of that interest, his brother, Richard '44, gave $100,000 to Caltech in February to create the Donald E. Hudson Chamber Music Fund.

"It is the largest gift ever made to Caltech's student chamber music program and is surely one of the largest gifts ever given to any college chamber music program," said Delores Bing, director of the Caltech Student Chamber Music Program and lecturer in chamber music at the Institute.

"this is just an extraordinary gift," said Bing. "In the world of chamber music, it is a very large gift, made especially meaningful because it was given to a scientific institution."

Bing said that the Institute should be able to start using money from the gift in the fall, but that the specific projects that the endowment will fund are still being discussed. "This will make a tremendous difference in the chamber music experience for caltech students for generations to come," she said.

Donald Hudson spent nearly his entire career at Caltech, becoming an assistant professor in 1943 and a full professor in 1955. Elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1973, Hudson was a pioneer in the field of earthquake engineering. He helped develop instruments that record ground motions during earthquakes and that have provided information vital in designing quake-resistant buildings, bridges, and dams. After retiring from Caltech in 1981, Hudson went to USC that same year, where he chaired the School of Civil Engineering and held the Fred Champion Professorship in Civil Engineering. He retired again in 1985.

After leaving Caltech, Richard Hudson studied music, got a PhD in musicology from UCLA, and became a professor of music at UCLA, retiring in 1991. But Hudson says that his brother's interest in music was equally strong. "He did not play an instrument, but he was one of the world's best listeners. For me, just bringing chamber music, my brother, and Caltech together seemed like a logical thing to do. I hope this fund will encourage more Caltech students to appreciate and perform chamber music."

(From Pasadena Star News, 1/20/1998)

By Jack Chang

Pasadena -- For many people, Sunday's Super Bowl game meant lots of chips, dip, beer and cheering in bars and homes across the city. For a few, however, the game was a noisy, obnoxious thing to hide from at all costs. Such was Martin Woodard's plight as he took a break outside the Super Bowl Alternative chamber music concert at Caltech Sunday afternoon.

"I call it the Stupor Bowl," said Woodard, who works at an obersvatory at Big Bear lake formerly operated by Caltech. "A lot of people get into a stupor and drink a lot of beer. I'd just as soon ignore it all, but you can't, so you have to adopt an attitude. Mine is to see it as all sort of insane."

His solution was to hear Caltech students perform a roster of classical works for about 75 people in the university's echoing Dabney Lounge. As the wavering strains of Haydn and Beethoven floated through the room, all the pompoms and fireworks in San Diego seemed a million miles away.

OK, maybe a few people at the concert such as Pasadena resident Todd Barber were still thinking about the game.

"I'm still taping it," Barber said. "I want to get the best of both worlds. And you know, the game's four hours long. On tape, I can fast forward through it and narror it down to about an hour and a half...."


Copyright © 2001, Caltech Music Program. Design and database work by Manuscript XXVII Design.