Chamber music on high — in sync with science & nature 1

Zelter String Quartet

It was so fantastic. I had never made the climb up Mt. Wilson, but rectified that mid-day Sunday urging my 2003 Honda Civic through the ricocheting twists and turns of Angeles Crest Highway toward my destination. The draw? Impresario Cécilia Tsan’s “Sunday Afternoon Concerts in the Dome,” a six-year running classical chamber music series that intricately bundles art with technology and nature. And don’t forget the post-concert buffet snacks and wine bar to boot.

A wise woman wrote that these events “marry mother nature, the best of science, the best of art, and even a bit of human effort to climb an internal staircase to savor the celestial concerts.” Okay, that was me!

That all turned out to be true. A nicely designed afternoon program, quite compact, featured the Zelter String Quartet, a youthful offshoot of the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra. Opening the intermission-less program was Todd Mason’s “String Quartet No 3” (the composer was in the house), a sonically lovely 14-minute work of great forward motion; a rare snippet of chamber music by Puccini, and then the work of the afternoon, Mendelssohn’s String Quartet 2 in A minor, an equally youthful composition that sounds like this.

The “house.” Well, wow. The white-domed structure is home to an awesome 100-inch Telescope that peers into space, at the crack of the ceiling that gives out to the heavens. So utterly inspiring is this venue, that, at every turn, one thinks of the pioneering scientists who erected it in the early 20th century.

view from the honda

Ms. Tsan, a gifted connoisseur who takes clear joy in her unusual offering, spoke to a very nicely filled auditorium in her charming French accent. This set the stage wonderfully. There’s more to her season. Link below.

Sunday Afternoon Concerts in the Dome | Mount Wilson Observatory | September, October dates

One comment on “Chamber music on high — in sync with science & nature

  1. Dan Kohne Aug 15,2023 4:56 pm

    Wonderful review! But one thing, the 100-inch telescope dome was started in 1911, completed in 1917, not 1906.

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