SE to open 4th season with “Celestial Soundtrack”

Les Délices’ award-winning webseries and podcast SalonEra kicks off its landmark fourth season of episodes on October 9th with Celestial Soundtrack. Guest-curated by SalonEra Associate Producer Shelby Yamin, this unique episode shoots for the stars with guests Assistant Professor of Earth & Planetary Sciences Dr. Juan Lora of Yale University, lutenist Charles Weaver, and cellist Léonie Adams of The Dionysus Ensemble. Aligning with October’s 2023’s lunar eclipse, this episode revels in humanity’s eternal quest to make sense of the universe through science and art.

Celestial Soundtrack will premiere on October 9th on the Les Délices YouTube Channel, at salonera.org, and on all major podcast platforms. Each episode of SalonEra streams free with a suggested donation of $15/episode. Video episodes are available from their premiere date through June 30, 2024, with podcast versions of the same episodes available at salonera.org and wherever podcasts are heard.

Though students today are unlikely to find much overlap between their music lessons and science coursework, from ancient times through the 18th century, theories of cosmology and music were fundamentally connected through the metaphysical philosophy of “the music of the spheres.” This influential doctrine originated in ancient Greece with the musings and experimentation of Pythagoras. Both music and the nascent field of astronomy were thought of as mathematical pursuits governed by mysterious but knowable patterns of proportions.

Though students today are unlikely to find much overlap between their music lessons and science coursework, from ancient times through the 18th century, theories of cosmology and music were fundamentally connected through the metaphysical philosophy of “the music of the spheres.” This influential doctrine originated in ancient Greece with the musings and experimentation of Pythagoras. Both music and the nascent field of astronomy were thought of as mathematical pursuits governed by mysterious but knowable patterns of proportions. 

In Celestial Soundtrack, we explore this dominant philosophy of mathematics and music through the musical worlds of Galileo Galilei and his father, composer Vincenzo Galilei and the fascinating life and music of 18th-century astronomer and composer William Herschel. Lutenist Charles Weaver, professor at The Juilliard School, will perform and discuss solo lute works by Michelangelo Galilei and cellist Léonie Adams shares new recordings of Herschel’s violin sonatas recently produced by The Dionysus Ensemble. The program closes with solo violin music by J.S. Bach that was included on the Voyager mission as part of the Golden Record.

Says Curator Shelby Yamin, “While Galilei, Bach and Herschel may  represent musical traditions that are seemingly distinct from one another, this SalonEra episode gives us the opportunity to explore their music through various connections with astronomy. With unique insights from “all-star” special guests Léonie, Charlie and Juan, this episode really has something for everyone, whether you’re tuning in to brush up on your ancient Greek philosophy, hear newly discovered 18th century chamber music or simply contemplate the existence of intelligent life in the universe (and what they might think if they heard Bach!)”

ABOUT SALONERA
SalonEra (SE) was launched as a webseries in 2020  to share a world of early music with a dedicated global audience at home. Since the beginning, SalonEra’s winning formula has combined high-quality recordings with insights from an inspiring slate of guest artists. Over 35 episodes later, the award-winning series is increasingly featuring in-person performances and interviews, expanded to include podcast versions of episodes and – new this season – they’ll introduce SalonEra Sessions, a free live-taping experience accessible to Cleveland fans of SE. SalonEra’s 4th season will include seven new video episodes highlighting a diverse range of repertoire. In addition, The SalonEra podcast will also release exclusive episodes about select programming from Les Délices’ 2023-24 15th Anniversary Season, featuring musical insights, historical context, and audio highlights.

ABOUT THIS EPISODE’S GUESTS

Violinist Shelby Yamin brings signature vivacity to performances across the globe, from the historic state rooms of George Washington’s Mount Vernon to the storied chapel at Versailles. Shelby has appeared as a soloist with Philharmonia Baroque Chamber Players, Voices of Music, New York Baroque Incorporated and The Oregon Bach Festival orchestra. Dedicated to diversifying the canon, Shelby regularly researches, performs, and records lesser known works, including 18th-century repertoire from the music library of Nelly Custis and, more recently, the violin duets of Maddalena Lombardini Sirmen (1745-1818). Shelby is the Associate Producer of SalonEra.

Léonie Adams studied in Moscow, the Royal College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music in London. She has been Principal with Scottish Opera, Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria, Northern Ballet, Orchestra of the Swan and the British Philharmonic Orchestra, No.2 with the Royal Opera House, English National Opera, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Opera North and the Philharmonia and No.3 with Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. She has also played as a soloist for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace, recorded at Abbey Road and played with artists including Jason Donovan, Shirley Bassey and Jeff Beck as well as live on BBC Radio 3 and as a soloist on Radio New Zealand.

Juan Lora is an Assistant Professor of Earth & Planetary Sciences at Yale University. His research group investigates planetary climates, with a focus on hydrologic cycles such as those of Earth and Titan. This research encompasses atmospheric dynamics, paleoclimate studies, radiative transfer, atmosphere-surface interactions, some atmospheric chemistry, and many other interdisciplinary topics.

Charles Weaver teaches historical plucked instruments, Baroque music theory, and improvisation at Juilliard. He is also a visiting artist at Case Western Reserve University and has served as adjunct faculty at the CUNY Graduate Center, Baruch College, Brooklyn College, Queens College, and St. Joseph’s Seminary and College. He has been assistant conductor for Juilliard Opera and has participated in opera productions at the University of Maryland, the Cleveland Institute of Music, Princeton University, Yale University, and the Boston Early Music Festival. As a continuo player, he has performed with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Virginia Symphony. In addition to being a regular member of the ensemble Quicksilver, his chamber-music projects have included engagements with Piffaro, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Folger Consort, Apollo’s Fire, Blue Heron, the Newberry Consort, and Musica Pacifica. He is organist and choirmaster at St. Mary’s Church in Norwalk, Connecticut, where he specializes in the liturgical performance of medieval and renaissance music. He holds a BM in Lute Performance from Queens College, City University of New York (CUNY) and an MA in Music Theory and Analysis from the CUNY Graduate Center. He is currently pursuing a PhD in music theory at CUNY, with a research focus on the rhythmic interpretation of plainchant.