'Crossroads Project' merges science, art while discussing sustainability issues

'Crossroads Project' merges science, art while discussing sustainability issues

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April 8 event part of Fry Street Quartet residency
Fry Street QuartetThe Fry Street Quartet will present The Crossroads Project as part of its residency at the University of Iowa. The program uses a blend of science, music performance, and original art to explore issues related to climate change and sustainability. Photo courtesy of the Fry Street Quartet.

The Fry Street Quartet, the next participant in the University of Iowa String Quartet Residency Program (UISQRP), will join physicist Robert Davies and composer Laura Kaminsky in presenting The Crossroads Project, an interdisciplinary program using a blend of science, music performance, and original art to explores issues related to climate change and sustainability, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 8, in Callaghan Auditorium in the UI College of Public Health Building.

The Crossroads Project explores the impacts of society’s unsustainable systems, Earth’s rapidly changing climate, and humanity’s opportunity for a new direction. Merging the intellectual with the visceral, understanding with belief, the performance weaves together a chorus of artistic and scientific voices responding to one of society’s greatest challenges. Read a review of the program at ConcertoNet.com.

The Fry Street Quartet’s residency, which will run April 5-12, will feature master classes, public presentations on the entrepreneurial side of a chamber music career, and numerous opportunities for UI School of Music students to work one-on-one with the guests. These events, free and open to the public, are also part of the Division of Performing Arts’ Series on Arts and Rights.

Other public events during the residency:

  • Master class, 3:30-5:15 p.m. Sunday, April 6, Walder Hall, Preucil School of Music, North Campus (2916 Northgate Drive, Iowa City). The Fry Street Quartet (including Fry violist Bradley Ottesen, who is a Preucil School of Music alumnus) will work with advanced chamber groups from the Preucil School of Music.
  • “Studio Backstage | Under the Hood,” 12:30-1:20 p.m. Wednesday, April 9, University Capitol Centre Recital Hall. Join the members of the Fry Street Quartet, Kaminsky, and Davies for a behind-the-scenes discussion as to how they developed their innovative Crossroads Project. Explore the rewards and challenges of developing, marketing, and presenting meaningful and effective interdisciplinary programming.
  • Fry Street Quartet chamber music master class, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday, April 10, UCC Recital Hall. Join the Fry Street Quartet as they work with University of Iowa chamber music students.
  • Fry Street Quartet concert, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 10, Riverside Recital Hall. The program will feature Haydn’s String Quartet in C, Op. 76, No. 3 (“Emperor”), Janacek’s String Quartet No. 1 (“Kreutzer Sonata”), and Beethoven’s String Quartet in F Major, Op. 59, No. 1.
  • Laura Kaminsky lecture, 3:30 p.m. Friday, April 11, Electronic Music Studio 221, Becker Communication Studies Building. Kaminsky will talk about her music and her compositional process.
  • WorldCanvass, 5 p.m. Friday, April 11, Old Capitol Museum Senate Chamber. The Fry Street Quartet, Davies and Kaminsky join WorldCanvass host Joan Kjaer will explore issues related to climate change and sustainability. Other guests will include UI Provost P. Barry Butler, Bob Libra (Iowa Geological and Water Survey), Dave Osterberg (UI College of Public Health), Chuck Connerly (UI School of Urban and Regional Planning), Liz Christiansen (UI Office of Sustainability), and Elizabeth Oakes (University of Iowa String Quartet Residency Program).

Hailed as “a triumph of ensemble playing” (The New York Times), the Fry Street Quartet has perfected a “blend of technical precision and scorching spontaneity” (The Strad). Since securing the Millennium Grand Prize at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, Fry Street Quartet has reached audiences from Carnegie Hall to Sarajevo and Jerusalem, exploring the medium of the string quartet and its life, affirming potential with “profound understanding, depth of expression, and stunning technical astuteness” (Deseret Morning News).

Laura Kaminsky portrait
Laura Kaminsky

Kaminsky is a composer with “an ear for the new and interesting” whose works are “colorful and harmonically sharp-edged” (The New York Times), and whose “musical language is compounded of hymns, blues, and gestures not unlike those of Shostakovich” (inTune). Social and political themes are common in her work, as is an abiding respect for and connection to the natural world.

She is artistic director of Symphony Space in New York City. From 2004 to 2008, she served as dean of the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College/SUNY, where she is currently professor of music.

robert davies portrait
Robert Davies

A physicist and educator, Davies has served as an officer and meteorologist in the U.S. Air Force, worked for NASA on the International Space Station project, and taught on the faculty of three universities. His scientific research has included interactions of spacecraft with the space environment, the fundamental nature of light and information, and Earth’s changing climate. For the past six years, Rob’s work has focused on communicating the science of climate change, energy, and sustainability.

The Crossroads Project is presented in collaboration with the UI Office of Sustainability and the UI College of Public Health.

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to attend the concert, contact the School of Music in advance at 319-335-1603.

For a UI arts calendar and details about upcoming events visit the Arts Iowa website.


Elizabeth Oakes, UI String Quartet Residency Program, 319-335-1647
Christopher Clair, University Communication and Marketing, 319-384-0900


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