CU Scientists Star at the Academy

2-Darin-TooheyOne of the most exciting developments in the Academy’s last ten years has been the series CU Science: At the Cutting Edge. Researchers from the science faculty at CU-Boulder, Colorado’s flagship university, have shared their latest discoveries and expertise in areas as diverse as–

  • climate-changing rocket experiments
  • galaxy formation
  • major advances in infertility options
  • fracking’s environmental footprint
  • the millions of bacterial communities thriving inside every human (there IS good news . . . )

CU physicists, chemists, biologists, geologists and other scientists (including Prof. Darin Toohey, pictured here) translate their extensive knowledge into polished multi-media presentations guaranteed to mesmerize and enlighten any eager learner, regardless of his or her educational background.

These veteran professors also clearly relish the mind-stretching Q&A sessions the Academy is known for, often lingering long after each class is over to accommodate every participant’s special inquiries. (To learn more: see the special blog on Prof. Darin Toohey’s thanks for Academy-triggered improvements in his worldwide webcast.)

Collaborating with CU staff, Academy board member Donna Barrow designs and coordinates these series, ensuring a fascinating array of topics each time they are offered. Stay tuned for details on the next series, planned for as early as spring 2014.

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Kehn Plays Around with the Playground

2-Playground-DenverAn award-winning performer, composer, and founding Director of The Playground Ensemble, Conrad Kehn teaches music theory, composition, and music technology at DU’s Lamont School of Music.  He also taught one of the Academy’s most innovative courses, a composing workshop.

Many of Conrad’s Academy classes have featured musicians from and concerts by The Playground, adding to the rich musical experience Conrad brings to all of his courses.

Comprised of Lamont faculty, alumni and area professionals, The Playground performers are dedicated to presenting classical music as a living art form–vibrant, adventurous and relevant to the world we all live in. Their goal is to provide stimulating performances, expand common perceptions of both contemporary music and the chamber ensemble, and nurture a supportive community for this music.

In addition to an annual concert season showcasing recognized composers, they cultivate a thriving local music-composition community and conduct dynamic educational programs for people of all ages.

Now in its sixth year, The Playground’s Colorado Composers Concert series has featured 49 works by 39 different Colorado-based composers including a number of K-12 composers. The ensemble has also performed at many notable venues and festivals, including the Arvada Center, the Denver Art Museum, the International Society of Improvised Music Annual Conference, the National Performing Arts Convention, the Mile High Voltage Festival, and the Denver Music Summit.

In spring 2011 The Playground released its debut CD, Dreams Go Through Me. Key to the project were a number of Colorado-based composers and supporting organizations, such as the Newman Center and Colorado Public Radio.

To alert any composers you know to the opportunity to participate in the Colorado Composers Concert series, or to get involved in other ways, write to The Playground at playground@playgroundensemble.org.

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