BSO Appoints Drs. Charles Limb and Mario Livio to First-ever Science Advisory Team


Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) announces the establishment of a Science Advisory Team to serve as a resource to BSO Music Director Marin Alsop and Vice President of Education and Community Engagement Carol Bogash in the development of educational science-themed music programs. The team consists of two eminent scientists: Dr. Charles Limb of the Johns Hopkins University and Dr. Mario Livio of the Space Telescope Science Institute.

Dr. Charles Limb holds a unique dual appointment as the Associate Professor of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery at Johns Hopkins and Faculty at Peabody Conservatory of Music. He combines his two passions to study the way the brain creates and perceives music. He serves as a hearing specialist and surgeon at Johns Hopkins who performs cochlear implantations on patients who have lost their hearing, with the goal of helping them eventually hear music. His research on creativity and the brain was examined in the recent PBS documentary, "Arts & the Mind," which also profiled the BSO's music education initiative, OrchKids. In this documentary, Dr. Limb emphasizes the importance of stimulating creativity: "When you teach creative thinking through music and the arts, it's really a way to engage the whole brain. If this kind of thinking is ignored, it will be very detrimental not only to that individual, but to society as a whole."
Dr. Mario Livio is an astrophysicist at the Hubble Space Telescope Science Institute and an adjunct professor of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University. His research interests cover a broad range of topics in astrophysics, from cosmology and black holes to extrasolar planets and the emergence of life in the universe. Dr. Livio is a self-proclaimed "art fanatic," a passion that has resulted in the collection of many hundreds of art books. He has combined his love for science, mathematics and art in four popular science books that won him international prizes and much critical acclaim. His upcoming book is Brilliant Blunders (to be released May 2013), which profiles legendary scientists whose colossal mistakes led to some of their greatest scientific achievements.
Dr. Livio explains the intersection of his dual passions for art and science: "It is not an accident that a masterwork by the great astronomer Johannes Kepler was called ‘Harmony of the World.' In fact, music represented to the Greek mathematician Pythagoras the first evidence that cosmic phenomena could be described by mathematics. I am delighted to be given the opportunity to work with the BSO and to combine science and music into the tapestry we call human culture."

Both Dr. Limb and Dr. Livio have participated in past BSO events. Dr. Limb offered his expertise as a hearing specialist in the popular symphonic play performed in 2008, CSI: Beethoven, which explored Beethoven's life and the deterioration of his hearing. Dr. Livio narrated a performance in 2006 that paired galactic imagery from the Hubble Telescope choreographed to the stirring melodies of Christopher Theofanidis' dramatic Rainbow Body.

Drs. Limb and Livio will periodically meet with Music Director Marin Alsop, Vice President of Education and Community Engagement Carol Bogash, and Annemarie Guzy, Director of Education to create concerts for school age children that build on natural synergies between music and science and math, strengthening student learning in STEAM subject areas: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math.

"I believe that music can be used as a powerful tool to enhance learning in all other disciplines," says Music Director Marin Alsop. "I have immense respect for Mario [Livio] and Charles [Limb]. Their passion for music coupled with expertise in their respective fields adds new perspective to the BSO's existing music programs for youth in our region. I'm excited to collaborate with them and add a new facet to the BSO's broad and dynamic music education initiatives."

"Throughout its nearly 100 year history, the BSO has offered many programs that explore the intersection of science and music," said BSO Vice President of Education Carol Bogash. "Establishing the Science Advisory Team creates a formal partnership with two eminent, local scientists whose support of past BSO initiatives has already proven invaluable."

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