At the Academy: Popular musicians, lecturers on tap

2013-11-07T00:00:00Z At the Academy: Popular musicians, lecturers on tapSubmitted by Mike Maharry Academy Village Volunteer Arizona Daily Star

Nov. 12

Violin-piano duo

to play Shostakovich

The partnership of pianist Paula Fan and violinist Steven Moeckel has been delighting audiences since the two met in Tucson in 2002. On Tuesday they’ll perform the Shostakovich Violin Concerto at 11:30 a.m. at the Arizona Senior Academy.

As duo amabile (as a musical notation, “amabile” means “tender, gentle”), Fan and Moeckel have received rave reviews for their performances in Europe and the Americas and for the joy of their musical performances. They have recorded three CDs together.

Fan is pianist with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra and a Regent’s Professor of Music at the University of Arizona, where she has been on the faculty since 1976. She has performed as soloist and chamber musician on five continents and has broadcast for the BBC, NPR, Australia’s ABC, and Radio Television China.

Fan is a founding member of the Solar Storytellers, a solar-powered piano trio sponsored by the Arizona Research Institute for Solar Energy. She has recorded more than 15 CDs.

Moeckel has enthralled audiences with his musicianship, rich sound and technical competence in performances here in the U.S, as well as throughout Europe and South America. Born in Germany, Moeckel at age 19 graduated with honors from the Mozarteum in Salzburg and immediately assumed the position of co-concertmaster of Germany’s Ulm Philharmonic, where he remained for three seasons.

After returning to America for further study, he first became concertmaster of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, then assumed the same position with the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra.

Priscilla Moore

Nov. 13

Learn about Comet ISON – and past comets, too

In the distant past, the appearance of comets in the sky was taken as an omen (usually bad) of events to come. The ancient Chinese believed that if there was an eclipse of the sun they could scare it away if they beat their drums at it. But drum beating did not scare away comets; some remained in the sky for weeks or months.

There’s a new comet coming. Its name is ISON. Discovered in September 2012, when it was near Saturn’s orbit, ISON has been tracked by astronomers around the world.

Some predicted it would be the “comet of the century,” but so far it hasn’t lived up to those hopes. It should, however, brighten enough to be seen without a telescope as it gets closer to the sun. If it survives its passage through the sun’s corona on Nov. 28, it could be quite spectacular in early December.

At 3:30 p.m. Wednesday Michael Chriss will present a lecture at the Arizona Senior Academy about “Comets in History.” He will trace the history of cometary appearances, including that of Halley’s Comet, from the ancient Chinese to modern times, when, thanks to Edmund Halley, we now know how to calculate the orbits of comets about the sun and predict their returns.

Chriss is a resident of Academy Village and an associate of the Steward Observatory. This spring he will teach a course, the Philosophy and History of Astronomy, at the UA. As an undergraduate, he was one of the first UA students to major in astronomy.

Before retiring, Chriss was an adjunct professor of astronomy at San Francisco State and professor of astronomy and humanities at the College of San Mateo. He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in astronomy from the UA with graduate studies in the history of art and science at UC-Berkeley, Stanford and Oxford.

Marcia Neugebauer

Nov. 14

Lecture: Do we have education reform wrong?

Americans have been reforming their public schools since the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1635. Until a half-century ago, these reform efforts were mostly local. With the Soviets’ launch of Sputnik and the Supreme Court decision on school desegregation, educational reform became a national issue.

More recently, as developed nations are routinely being compared with each other, it has become an international issue.

Want to explore what’s involved in getting educational reform right, in truly improving the quality and character of student outcomes? Gary Fenstermacher, former UA dean of education, emeritus professor of education and philosophy at the University of Michigan and past president of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, will address this subject at 3:30 p.m. next Thursday.

Many feel that little progress is being made despite huge government investments. We’re often told that the U.S. is far behind many other nations in fields such as math, science and language proficiency.

Yet despite the discouraging news, Americans continue to win the majority of Nobel prizes, lead the world in technical innovation, populate the world’s largest and most robust economy, and win accolades in a vast array of international competitions.

Why do we think our schools are doing so poorly when the country continues to excel? Might it be an argument concocted to keep teacher pay low and school funding in check? Or is the reform agenda pointing to serious deficiencies, though perhaps not necessarily ones the media and legislatures like to talk about?

Fenstermacher, a resident of Academy Village and a member of the Arizona Senior Academy, holds bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from Cornell University. His last ASA appearance, a four-part series on Western philosophy in January, drew capacity crowds, so reservations are encouraged.

Stan Davis

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