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An Evening of Pasadena-Inspired Astronomy and Music

AxS ("axis") was a 2-week city-wide festival produced by the Pasadena Arts Council, exploring the nexus of artistic and scientific inquiry and promoting cross-fertilization between these disciplines. The theme of the 2014 Festival was "Curiosity" - the interplay between human curiosity, scientific investigation and artistic endeavor that also illuminates the diversity and innovation of human achievement in the 21st century. The September 29 AxS event represents a first-ever partnership between the Carnegie Observatories and the Pasadena Conservatory of Music. The evening opened with Carnegie scientists Juna Kollmeier and Andrew Benson discussing the 100-year+ history of Pasadena as an internationally renowned center for major discoveries in astronomy -- beginning with George Ellery Hale, whose role in founding the Observatories and building the world's then-largest telescopes vastly increased our understanding of the universe. Kollmeier and Benson presented recent achievements at the Observatories, including the latest developments with the Giant Magellan Telescope now being assembled by the Carnegie-led international consortium. The evening concluded with the world premiere of "Hand in Hand at the Edge of the Sky," a new piece for chamber music ensemble by composer and Pasadena Conservatory of Music faculty member Matthew Brown. Inspired by a recent visit to Mt. Wilson, this new work, like that of the Observatories, will be further evidence of the wide-ranging creativity that is a hallmark of Pasadena.