Colliding Galaxies Inspire Music

Collaboration between UC Riverside music and physics and astronomy departments leads to musical composition that will be performed May 20

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — A musical composition that represents the merging of the Milky Way, the Andromeda, and Triangulum Galaxies, which is predicted to occur in four billion years, will be performed Friday, May 20 at the University of California, Riverside.

The piece, “Galaxias: MW M31 M33,” is the product of the thesis project pursued by Ryan Straka, a music major who graduated from UC Riverside in 2015.

It is based on super computer simulations of the collision between the galaxies, which were performed and reported in 2012 by astronomer Roeland van der Marel. The first movement of the 10-minute piece is the pure mathematical translation of the data. The second and third movements are takes by Straka on the astronomical phenomena.

Creators of piece around a piano.

A musical composition based on the collision of three galaxies will be performed May 20 at UC Riverside.

The piece will be performed by a quartet comprised of musicians playing a cello, piano, violin and clarinet as part of the UCR Choral Society and UCR Chamber Music Ensembles concert from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday, May 20 at the Arts Building Performance Lab (ARTS 166).

The concert is free and open to the public. Although admission is free, a ticket is required. One ticket per person will be distributed at the venue one hour before the performance. Seating is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis. Complimentary parking permits are available at campus parking kiosks.

Straka was advised by Tim Labor, an associate professor of music, Mario De Leo Winkler, a postdoctoral researcher in astrophysics who specializes in public outreach and education of science at the physics and astronomy department UC Riverside; and Gabriela Canalizo, a professor of in the physics and astronomy department at UC Riverside.

The project is funded through the public outreach component of a National Science Foundation grant awarded to Gillian Wilson, a professor of in the physics and astronomy department at UC Riverside, and supported by the FIELDS Program, which is led by Bahram Mobasher, also a professor in the physics and astronomy department.

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