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Music & The Cosmos

Friday, October 21, 2022 at 7:30 pm

For centuries, composers have found inspiration in the vastness of the universe. The intersection of music with the cosmos challenges our conventional thinking of what music can be, where it can occur, how it is constructed, and how it can connect us to nature.

Concord Conservatory presents Music & the Cosmos

Purchase Tickets in advance or payable at the door for this event. ($25 General Admission and free for students 18 and under)

Our special guest speakers, Observational Astrophysicist Erin Kara of MIT, and Brad Wells of the Grammy Award-winning Roomful of Teeth will present on the topics of the sonification of black holes and understanding the concept of space and its relationship to sound. 

The concert will feature chamber music works of Mozart, John Luther Adams, and Urmas Sisask performed by Concord Conservatory faculty, flutist Anthea Kechley, violinist Nicole Parks, cellist Stephen Marotto, and pianist Keun Young Sun.

Guest speaker Erin Kara

MIT Assistant Professor of Physics Erin Kara is an observational astrophysicist, working to understand the physics Erin Kara behind how black holes grow and affect their environments. She has advanced a new technique called X-ray reverberation mapping, which allows astronomers to map the gas falling on to black holes and measure the effects of strongly curved spacetime close to the event horizon. She also works on variety of transient phenomena, such as tidal disruption events and Galactic black hole outbursts. She is a NASA Participating Scientist for XRISM Observatory, a joint JAXA / NASA X-ray spectroscopy mission, and co-chairs the supermassive black hole working group.

Erin also works to develop new and future space missions. She co-chairs the supermassive black hole working group of the XRISM Observatory, a joint JAXA / NASA X-ray spectroscopy mission to launch in 2023, and is the Deputy Principle Investigator of the AXIS Probe Mission Concept.

Originally from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Erin attended Barnard College of Columbia University, where she obtained a B.A. in physics with a minor in art history. After graduating in 2011, she moved to the United Kingdom on a Gates Cambridge Scholarship to study for a Masters and a PhD from the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge.

In 2015, she was awarded a NASA Hubble Postdoctoral Fellow, which she took to the University of Maryland and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. In 2018, she became the Neil Gehrels Prize Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Maryland, and joined the faculty of MIT as an Assistant Professor of Physics in July 2019. Recently, the American Astronomical Society awarded her the 2022 Newton Lacy Pierce Prize for ‘outstanding achievement, over the past five years, in observational astronomical research’.

Guest speaker Brad Wells Brad Wells

Brad Wells is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Grammy Award-winning new music vocal group Roomful of Teeth.

Wells has led the ensemble in premieres of works by many of today’s leading composers including Judd Greenstein, Caroline Shaw, Rinde Eckert, Bryce Dessner, William Brittelle, Sarah Kirkland Snider, Missy Mazzoli, Michael Harrison, Glenn Kotche, Ambrose Akinmusire, Anna Clyne, Terry Riley, Ted Hearne, Julia Wolfe and Tigran Hamasyan, among others.

This new music “vocal band,” praised by WQXR as “the future of vocal music,” performs regularly in festivals, on concert stages and in educational residencies around the world.

He has composed and arranged vocal and instrumental works that have been performed throughout the U.S. and Europe. At Hancock Shaker Village his sound installation Silo Songs, featuring the earliest vocal music of the Shakers, opened in 2018 and his soundwalk Fountain of the Elements was featured in the 2021 exhibition Climbing the Holy Hill.

Since 1999 Wells has been Artist in Residence in Vocal Music at Williams College, where he directed the choral program and leads courses in conducting, voice science and style, and sound art. Wells has held conducting and teaching positions at Yale University, Trinity College, University of California at Berkeley and California State University, Chico.

His ensembles have performed throughout North and South America, South Africa and Europe. He has lectured and published articles on the physiology and acoustics of non-classical vocal styles and the role of singing in film.  As a singer he has performed and recorded with such ensembles as Theatre of Voices and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra (under Nicholas McGegan and Philip Brett). Wells holds music degrees from Yale University, the University of Texas at Austin and Principia College.