“Why do we so often agree on what is beautiful? Why do we even care about beauty? Can we turn ugliness into beauty?”
Those are the questions asked by Daniel Grabois, assistant professor of horn at the UW-Madison School of Music, whose highly successful “SoundWaves” music & science lectures begin a new season on September 26 at 4:30 pm. The events take place in the DeLuca Forum in the WID building (330 N. Orchard Street, at the corner of University Avenue – the Forum is the round area right in the middle of the ground floor). SoundWaves is free and open to the public.
The first event is titled “The Eye and Ear of the Beholder,” and features several guests who will explore these ideas from different perspectives. Visiting assistant professor of voice Elizabeth Hagedorn will demonstrate beauty in a performance of Gustav Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder, a five-part song cycle written in 1901 based on poems written by Friedrich Rückert. She will be accompanied by UW pianist Martha Fischer.
The event will be part of the Wisconsin Science Festival, and will also feature chemist, Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner Roald Hoffmann from Cornell University, who will discuss beauty in science.
SoundWaves combines scientific lectures about the world with live classical music performances. Each event revolves around a theme, exploring it first from many scientific angles and then through the lens of music. The program concludes with a live performance of music related to the evening’s theme.
The science lectures are delivered using language that the curious layman can understand, with a minimum of jargon and formulas. The music lectures, while demanding careful listening, are likewise designed for the layman and not the specialist.
Every SoundWaves event brings UW–Madison scientists from several departments together with UW–Madison School of Music faculty performers to explore a topic that is relevant to our world and our lives.
Says Dan Grabois: “I always like to speak at the events, and I will give a brief talk about dissonance. Many of our audience members are there to learn some science, and they know very little about music but are open to learning more. Probably a lot of these people think they hate dissonance, so I aim to show them how important dissonance is in harmonic motion and in creating character in music.”
NOTE: The second SoundWaves event will be held October 25, 7:30 pm, in the same place; the topic concerns the notion of group behavior, in life and in music. Stay tuned….
SoundWaves curator Daniel Grabois, assistant professor of horn at the UW-Madison School of Music, introduces the May 2013 SoundWaves discussion on “humans and the tools we use.”.