Forrest Larson

Access Services and Oral History Project Associate
Lewis Music Library, MIT Libraries
Award presented by
Lincoln Laboratory Director, Eric Evans

2017 MIT Excellence Awards + Collier Medal ceremony

Forrest Larson is a musician and composer whose day job is Access Services & Oral History Project Associate in the Lewis Music Library. Anyone who has watched the video about the oral history project on the Libraries’ website knows why he is being honored today.

Forrest has been conducting and recording lively, historic, thought-provoking interviews with members of MIT’s musical community—49 videos in all, including one featuring 106-year-old Charles Yardley Chittick, Class of 1922.

These interviews have become a landmark oral history project—one that is admired by music historians around the world. Music at MIT Oral History conversations document the lives of individuals whose contributions to MIT and beyond would otherwise be unknown, lost, or forgotten beyond their lifetime.

In addition to compiling interviews, Forrest took extraordinary care in the research and how each interview was conducted. As one nominator noted, “Forrest accessed MIT yearbooks, MIT theses, the Institute Archives; collections, and beyond.  In interview sessions. Forrest gave each individual much latitude to broaden the value and scope of the finished work.” His colleagues say that “MIT’s rich music history has grown exceedingly richer because of Forrest’s dedication to this project—a project that reveals how MIT graduates have changed the world…often in ways that no one suspected.”

Forrest…we’re pleased to present you with the Excellence Award for Outstanding Contributor.