PRESENTING PARTNER: Carnegie Observatories

An Evening of Pasadena-Inspired Astronomy and Music represents a first-ever programmatic partnership between the Carnegie Observatories and the Pasadena Conservatory of Music.

The evening will open with a talk by Juna Kollmeier and Andrew Benson, two of the Observatories’ most highly regarded young scientists, on the 100-year-plus history of Pasadena as an internationally renowned center for “curiosity” and discovery in astronomy — beginning with George Ellery Hale, whose pivotal role in founding the Observatories and building the world’s then-largest telescopes vastly increased our understanding of the universe. Touching on more recent achievements, Kollmeier and Benson will also highlight the latest developments with the Giant Magellan Telescope — to be the most powerful telescope ever built — now being assembled by the Carnegie-led international consortium.

The evening will conclude with the world premiere of Hand in Hand at the Edge of the Sky, a new work inspired by a recent visit to Mt. Wilson by composer/Pasadena Conservatory of Music faculty member Matthew Brown.

Hand in Hand at the Edge of the Sky is inspired by Brown’s personal experiences during a trip to the Mount Wilson Observatory in 2013 and more universal, symbolic themes educed from the place itself, its historical significance, and its natural surroundings. Composed for a chamber ensemble of 8-10 musicians, this new piece, like the work of the Observatories, is a vibrant example of the unique artistic and scientific creativity/synergy is a hallmark of Pasadena.

Admission is Free. This event will be held outside on the grass! Bring a blanket to sit on, and a light sweater or jacket.

Juna Kollmeier

Juna Kollmeier’s research is focused on the emergence of structure in the universe:   how the tiny fluctuations in density that were present when the universe was only 300 thousand years old became the galaxies and black holes that we see after 14 billion years of cosmic evolution.  Kollmeier is considered an observationally-oriented theorist who makes predictions that can be explicitly compared to current and future optical observations.

Andrew Benson

Andrew Benson is the George Ellery Hale Distinguished Scholar in Theoretical Astrophysics at the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science. His research focuses on modelling the formation and evolution of galaxies, with the aim of developing a detailed, quantitative model of galaxy formation based upon known physical laws rather than empirical rules.

Matthew Brown

A native of Southern California, Matthew Brown completed his doctoral studies in music composition at the USC Thornton School of Music.  His works have been performed throughout the United States and internationally, by groups such as VocalEssence, the Antioch Chamber Ensemble, the Young New Yorker’s Chorus, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, the USC Chamber Choir, the De Angelis Vocal Ensemble, the USC Thornton Symphony, and C4.  He remains active in Los Angeles as a composer, copyist, arranger, performer, and teacher, and sings with many professional choral ensembles, including the L.A. Master Chorale, the L.A. Chamber Singers & Cappella, the De Angelis Vocal Ensemble, and Horizon Music Group.


Photograph by Yuri Beletsky, Las Campanas Observatories, Carnegie Institution

Learn more about Hand in Hand at the Edge of the Sky and the Carnegie Observatories.