David Kung, St. Mary's College of Maryland
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Abstract: Mathematics and music seem to come from different spheres (arts and sciences), yet they share an amazing array of commonalities. We will explore these connections by examining the musical experience from a mathematical perspective. The mathematical study of a single vibrating string unlocks a world of musical overtones and harmonics-and even explains why a clarinet plays so much lower than its similar-sized cousin the flute. Calculus, and the related field of differential equations, shows us how our ears hear differences between two instruments-what musicians call timbre-even when they play the same note at the same loudness. Finally, abstract algebra gives modern language to the structures beneath the surface of Bach's magnificent canons and fugues. Throughout the talk, mathematical concepts will come to life with musical examples played by members of the National Symphony Orchestra and the speaker, an amateur violinist.
Biographies: Dave Kung fell in love with both mathematics and music at a very early age. More successful with one than the other, he completed three degrees from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, none in music, before joining the faculty at St. Mary's College of Maryland. Recently promoted to Professor of Mathematics, he still enjoys playing violin with students and in the local community orchestra. He has authored a variety of articles on topics in harmonic analysis and mathematics education, and is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2006 Teaching Award from the MD/VA/DC section of the MAA. His 12-lecture DVD course on mathematics and music will be released by The Teaching Company early in 2013.
Cellist Yvonne Caruthers is the creator and producer of a series of Connections programs: “Science and Music”, “Language and Music”, “Math and Music,” and “History and Music”. These programs have been performed at the Kennedy Center and throughout the US during the National Symphony Orchestra’s American Residencies. They have also been taped for distribution on satellite television programs. In September 2012, Caruthers undertook a week-long residency in the Tidewater region of Virginia, performing Connections programs for students in four counties. In January 2013, she presented six performances of Science and Music at the Kennedy Center. In March she will be featured with the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra in an orchestral performance of “Math and Music.”
In addition to performing and touring with the National Symphony Orchestra, Caruthers appears in recitals throughout the Washington metropolitan area. In November, pianist Jeffery Watson joined Caruthers in a program of cello music by Frank Bridge and Benjamin Britten at Ingleside in Washington, D.C; the duo also performs in March at Church of the Redeemer, in Bethesda, Maryland.
Caruthers lectures several times a year on musical topics for both the Kennedy Center and the Smithsonian, and regularly collaborates with noted videographer Thom Wolf on films about music.
Aaron Goldman joined the National Symphony Orchestra as Assistant Principal Flutist in September 2006. Prior to the NSO, he was Principal Flutist of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and the Greater Lansing Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed with several other orchestras, including the Baltimore Symphony, the Florida Orchestra, and the Chautauqua Symphony.
As soloist, Goldman has appeared on numerous occasions with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and has been twice featured with the Chamber Orchestra of Florida. He has also performed with various chamber music ensembles, both classical and jazz, and is a member of the Halil Duo with pianist Rose Grace.
A native of Needham, Massachusetts, Goldman received his Bachelor of Music degree at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, where he studied flute with Bonita Boyd and piccolo with Anne Harrow.
Read more about David Kung's talk