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[Access Contemporary Music] Science, Music and Cocktails this Monday

- Integrating musical creativity into everyday life
Tickets are nearly half sold for this concert!  People really love science.  Or is it the cocktails from the Drifter?  We don’t know but we hope you’ll join us for Specific Gravity on Monday night!
From deep in the earth to the furthest reaches of outer space, Specific Gravity features music inspired by our physical universe.
The event will pair informal conversation with Ashley Hamer, host of the popular podcast Curiosity Daily, with performances of music inspired by the formation of gemstones, the life cycle of stars, astronomical phenomena and our perception of the horizon.
Specialty cocktails created by the Drifter and inspired by the theme will be available at the adjoining Carbon Arc bar.


Monday, February 10, 7:30 PM
Davis Theater
4614 N. Lincoln Ave.
$20/$12 for students




Q and A with Ashley Hamer

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.

A: I’m the managing editor of Curiosity, where we publish science and tech stories and explainers in a fun, approachable way. I also co-host the daily podcast. I’ve only been writing about science full time for a couple of years, so I’m doing everything I can to hone my skills and learn as much as possible right now.

Q: How did you get interested in science writing?

A: I took a strange path here, though I get the feeling I’m not alone in that! I started getting intensely interested in science when I was in music school, when I obsessively consumed as many books and podcasts about science as I could. After I got my master’s in jazz saxophone and set out to be a musician, I started blogging about the intersection of music and science, then landed a staff writing job, and then found Curiosity. Now it’s my job to find and explain the coolest concepts in science in a way that will make even non-science fans fascinated. I love science writing because I feel like I’m an ambassador between scientists and the general public — and we need those ambassadors more and more every day.

Q: What do you love most about your job?

A: I love the fact that it allows me to learn something new every single day. I can take a deep dive into the things that interest me and more fully understand the things that I don’t quite get. Along the way, I inevitably find something that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up and expands my understanding of our place in the universe.

Q: What’s your favorite social media account that you follow?

A: As a Chicagoan, I don’t think I can answer this question with anything other than @SUEtheTrex! (For those of you who don’t know, @SUEtheTrex is managed by The Field Museum in Chicago and is written from the perspective of SUE, the nickname of the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever found.) Museum Twitter in general has been killing it at the social media game lately.

Q: If you could write about any scientific topic (past, present, or future) what would it be and why?

A: I’m a diehard generalist who writes about everything from fitness to physics, but my favorite thing to write is explainers on the everyday phenomena we take for granted: why shoelaces come untied, why your cat can’t see a treat in front of its face, why adding cream to your coffee immediately is the best way to keep it hot. That’s the stuff that touches people in their everyday lives, and it’s what gets me most excited.

Stars in Dead Reflection by Christopher Stark
As a child I would listen to the King Crimson song Starless and Bible Black from their landmark album Red and be inspired not only by the music but by thoughts of our cosmos that the song engendered. 
Stars in Dead Reflection seeks to provide that same sense of wonder in the listener.  The universe is so much bigger than we can possibly imagine, so much stranger and who would have it any other way?

Red Shift by Lois V. Vierk
The title of this piece refers to the way in which astronomers and physicists measure movement and distances of distant celestial bodies.
Briefly, characteristic lines and patterns made by different elements found in the star, etc., as observed through a spectrometer, are shifted in one direction or the other, towards the red or towards the blue end of the spectrum, depending on whether the body is moving away from us or towards us. This shift is called the « red shift ».
When I wrote this work, I had the feeling of sornething of great mass and motion, far away, accelerating like toward a comet. us, faster It first and seemed faster, to until move finally slowly, at then great gradually speed it began I felt it sweeping down upon us, through us, and back out into the heavens.
Specific Gravity by Lansing McLoskey
When the newEar Ensemble commissioned me to write a piece for their 20th Anniversary Season,
I wanted to make it a true anniversary gift celebrating their two decades dedicated to music as a living art form.
The term “Specific Gravity” refers to the ratio of the density of a substance to the density of a reference substance.
The substance with a Specific Gravity of 2.72 is emerald; the gem traditionally given on the 20th anniversary
Quasare/Pulsare by Olga Neuwirth
Austrian composer Olga Neuwirth (b. 1968) blends everyday noises with both electronic and unusually-produced acoustic sounds. Neuwirth, who grew up as a trumpeter with an intense interest in punk rock, is now well known for her multimedia and music-theatre works, such as her opera Lost Highway (based on the David Lynch film of the same name).
She’s also notable as a staunchly feminist composer in a predominately male field.
In Quasare/Pulsare, Neuwirth takes the standard violin-piano duo and deconstructs it with prepared piano, detuning, and other disintegrations of sound. She elicits form through a series of ruptures and sudden shifts that are at once unpredictable and organic, alternating between dense, rhythmically striated material and contemplative, static material, evoking the astronomical bodies to which the title refers.
Horizons by Paul Lansky
Horizons opens as a tick-tocking metronomic trio of piano, cello and percussion. It’s a place in the piece where Lansky’s background in electronic music surfaces: matrices of woodblock and vibraphone wall in piano figures that bubble like the product of a hyperactive trigger.
The second movement is beautifully contemplative and the third opens in a flurry of exciting rhythmic figures and never lets up.



But What Does the Music Sound Like?
Check Out These Videos
Horizons by Paul Lansky, Movement I
Red Shift by Lois Vierk
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