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STEMArts Archive: Fay Wang and Biology

Contemporary composer and performer Fay Wang led a musical ensemble in the premiere of the Hopkins Center-commissioned work STEMArts: Music and Biology. The new piece, created in collaboration with Dartmouth College’s Department of Biological Sciences, explored the intersections between biology and music. Based on a proposal from Professor Olga Zhaxybayeva—with additional support from Elizabeth Smith, Dean of Arts and Sciences Faculty, Professor Mary Lou Guerinot, and others—Wang’s composition took inspiration from research on microbes, microbial evolution, and the human microbiome. Fay visited Biological Sciences classes, observed students at work in labs, spoke with researchers at the Geisel School of Medicine and saw the practical applications at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center.

Fay integrated the research from her five Dartmouth residencies to create a piece that would present a way of understanding the natural world through the eyes and ears of composers and musicians. Developed with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, this project was part of the Hopkins Center’s initiative to engage students in contemporary classical music.

Over 100 people from the Dartmouth community attended the premiere of STEMArts: Music and Biology on April 30, 2014 in the Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center's Oopik Auditorium. The performance featured seven musicians, with Fay Wang herself singing and conducting, and included a video projection of abstract images inspired by microscopic views of microbes.

Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

See more on Flickr: Images from the lab and Images from the concert