STEMArts Archive: Tristan Perich and Math
Connections between music and higher math were explored and celebrated the week of May 16-20, 2016 with a residency by composer Tristan Perich and American Contemporary Music Ensemble, culminating in ACME’s performance of a Hop-commissioned work by Perich that was inspired by mathematical concepts. The project was funded in part by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts’ Art Works, and the Frank L. Harrington 1924 Fund No. 3.
The week was built around dynamic encounters between Perich and ACME and students and faculty, both in and out of the Math Department, along with time to rehearse the complex and exacting musical work. Perich and ACME members spent time with students from the Math Society and Association for Women in Mathematics, the student society Casque & Gauntlet and the East Wheelock Residence Hall cluster. They also visited two sections of Prof. Andrea Kremer’s “Hazardous Data” course, a freshman seminar exploring how to be skeptical consumers of quantitative information; and Prof. Peter Winkler’s “Math Beyond Calculus.” Among other topics, the conversations explored what mathematical concepts most inspire Perich and how they come through in his compositions.
Both Perich and American Contemporary Music Ensemble were return visitors to the Hop, Perich having enthralled the community in 2013 with a residency and exhibit of his “sound art,” and ACME performing, also that year, in a workshop version of an opera about cult tech genius Nikola Tesla.