Mount Wilson Observatory, the scientific marvel above Pasadena (atop Mount Wilson) opens the third season of its Sunday Afternoon Concerts in the Dome this Sunday, May 5, at 3 pm. The concerts will then continue through October on the first Sunday of each month, inside the iconic vaulted dome of the 100-inch Hooker telescope. A wide range of musical adventures, thoughtfully curated by Artistic Director Cécilia Tsan, will be presented in this acoustically remarkable venue during the six-month run.
“The inaugural concert of the season […] is inspired by the Hot Club de France,” notes Tsan. The afternoon concert will feature music by and in the style of the great guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stéphane Grappelli. Violinist Ben Powell and guitarist Roch Lockyer will be joined by Brian Netzley on bass for hot gypsy jazz on a cool spring afternoon.
In addition, concert-goers will be treated to an exhibition featuring rare scientific artifacts, drawings, and illustrations from the Observatory’s collection. The program will be offered in two performances, one at 3:00 pm and one at 5:00 pm. There will be a reception with the artists at 4:00 pm. Seating inside the historic dome is limited. Tickets cost $50 each and must be purchased in advance. For more information on the concert series, visit https://www.mtwilson.edu/concerts.
The 100-inch Hooker telescope is the instrument with which astronomer Edwin Hubble discovered our place in an expanding universe and so expanded our comprehension. The dome for the telescope—designed by famed Chicago architect D.H. Burnham—is a 20th century temple to science which acoustics rival the great cathedrals of Europe and that provides a unique setting for this ambitious music series.
All proceeds from the concerts will go to support the Mt. Wilson Institute in its mission to preserve, protect, and promote the Observatory and the science accomplished there.
Access to the dome performances is via a 53-step staircase. There is no ADA-compliant access.
The Sunday Afternoon Concerts series in the Dome will continue as follows:
Sunday, June 2
Leslie Reed, oboe, Roger Wilkie, violin, Alma Fernandez, viola and Cécilia Tsan, cello, in a program of oboe quartets by Mozart and Britten and a Beethoven string trio.
Sunday, July 7
Voices in the Dome with Hila Plitmann, soprano, Sangeeta Kaur, soprano, Sara Andon, flute, Reina Inui, violin, Jacqueline Marshall, harp and Shea Welsh, guitar. On the program are compositions by Danaë Vlasse, Todd Mason, Bruce Babcock, Mark McEncroe and Anthony Constantino.
Sunday, August 4
Schubert’s String Quintet in C major performed by the Lyris Quartet featuring Alyssa Park, Shalini Vijayan, violins, Luke Maurer, viola, Timothy Loo, cello and Cécilia Tsan, cello.
Sunday, September 1
Cello duets performed by Eric Byers and Cécilia Tsan featuring works by Bach, Barriere and Offenbach.
Sunday, October 6
The concert series wraps up the summer season with Mozart and Brahms Quintets for clarinet and strings. The artists include Pierre Génisson, clarinet, Ambroise Aubrun and Henry Gronnier, violins, Virginie d’Avezac, viola and Cécilia Tsan, cello.
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Poised for rediscovery, the grounds of the legendary observatory, founded in 1904 by astrophysical pioneer George Ellery Hale, are open for free to the public year round. For visitor information, click here