The acclaimed 2018 Season of Science Meets Music Concludes with Thematic Grand Finale

Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience showcased the science of songbird singing complimented by classical compositions inspired by the sonorous songsters.

Early evening on Wednesday, April 18, science and song took flight in Benjamin Hall, as members of the local community, brimming with excitement, gathered for a night of virtuosic music and scientific discovery. Closing out the fifth season of Science Meets Music, the Max Planck Institute for Neuroscience (MPFI) prepared a uniquely themed program centered around the beautiful and resonant melodies sung by birds.

Providing the scientific portion of the evening, was special guest lecturer Dr. Manfred Gahr, Ph.D., Director of the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, and expert in all things songbird. Dr. Gahr’s lecture titled “Seasonal Singing of Birds: From Gonads to the Brain” provided an interesting insight as to why singing is unique to male songbirds and why patterns of singing vary, depending on the current season. Additionally, Dr. Gahr touched on the mechanisms involved in the development of song producing neural circuits as well as areas of the brain in songbirds that are critical for learning different patterns of sound.

Perfectly accompanying Dr. Gahr’s captivating lecture, were superlative performances by musical guest, the Palm Beach Symphony Chamber Ensemble. In their bookending recitals, the masterful string quartet played movements from the well-known Vivaldi concerto “Spring”, part of the larger work “The Four Seasons” as well as Haydn’s String Quartet in D major, Op. 64, No. 5 appropriately nicknamed “Lark.” Palm Beach Symphony principal cello, Claudio Jaffé provided enlightening commentary about the composers and their music before each piece. Guests in attendance were awed by the quartet’s musicianship, precision and uncanny ability to mimic the light, airy and vibrant nature of a songbird.

Introducing the chamber ensemble, Executive Director of the Palm Beach Symphony, David McClymont, spoke of the commonalities between MPFI’s and Palm Beach Symphony’s mission statements, commenting that “A big part of Palm Beach Symphony’s mission is to educate, entertain and engage. We feel that tonight is a perfect opportunity to combine all three of those pillars, collaborating with such a brilliant community partner as Max Planck Florida, who holds very similar ideals to ours.”

Though the curtain has been drawn on the current season of Science Meets Music, music enthusiasts and science seekers fret not. Due to overwhelmingly popular demand, Science Meets Music will return in 2019 for its sixth season. Be sure to keep a look out this coming fall, as more information will be released detailing event scheduling as well as the 2019 speaker and musical performance lineup.

About – Palm Beach Symphony

The mission of Palm Beach Symphony is to engage, educate and entertain the greater community of the Palm Beaches through live performances of inspiring orchestral music. The Symphony was founded in 1974 in recognition of the need for a professional orchestra in Palm Beach. Today, the Palm Beach Symphony has grown into a world-class orchestra with an expanded mission that includes carefully crafted education and community outreach programs that bring live classical music and concerts into schools, community centers, and public venues in and around the Palm Beaches. The orchestra is celebrated for delivering spirited and exacting performances led by Artistic & Music Director Ramón Tebar, while the organization continues to expand its music education and community outreach programs with children’s concerts, student coaching sessions and masterclasses, instrument donations and free public concerts. For more information, visit