Concert to feature young cellist Nead

Tuesday at the Arizona Senior Academy, the spotlight is on music for cello and on the talents of the next generation when a young, upcoming Tucson cellist, 17-year-old Ben Nead, plays a concert of music by Bach, Popper, Piazzolla and Saint-Saens.

The concert takes place from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Arizona Senior Academy Building at Academy Village.

Nead has been studying cello since age 4 with Tucson Symphony Orchestra assistant principal cellist Mary Beth Tyndall (who will accompany him Tuesday on piano), and the accolades he's received are just about as numerous as the number of years he's been refining his skills on his chosen instrument.

The latest of his achievements is his inclusion, as one of 120 musicians nationwide (and just two from Arizona), in the inaugural season of the Carnegie Hall National Youth Orchestra. Under the direction of famed conductor Valery Gergiev, the group will play concerts this summer at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and in Moscow, St. Petersburg and London.

Nead has participated in Southwest String Quartet summer workshops, Chamber Music in the Mountains, and the Rocky Ridge music camp in Estes Park, Colo. Last summer he attended Interlochen music camp in Michigan, where he was an Emerson scholarship winner.

A junior at University High School, Nead is a member of Tucson Junior Strings and the Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra. He's won gold and bronze medals in the Tucson Philharmonia Orchestra Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition; first and second places in the Tucson Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition; and first and second places in the Tucson Civic Orchestra Competition.

Nead also studies composition with Ilona Vukovic Gay and is a member of TSO's Young Composers Project.


Scientist offers look at Curiosity mission

Curiosity, the first robotic rover sent to another planet capable of scooping up and analyzing rock and dust samples, has been hard at work on the surface of Mars since last August. On Wednesday, a scientist involved in the NASA project will tell about his most recent interpretation of the data and discuss future plans.

As a "primary data downlink leader" designated by NASA, Robert Downs of the University of Arizona is part of a team of scientists tasked with identifying rocks that Curiosity will encounter during its mission. Downs is a co-investigator for the science team in charge of the CheMin instrument. CheMin, short for chemistry and mineralogy, is the first X-ray diffractometer ever sent to space.

"It works by shooting X-rays at a rock sample, which interact with the electrons in the rock and send back signals that are like fingerprints," Downs said. "It's the standard for identifying minerals, just as you would do in a lab here on Earth."

The six-wheeled car-sized Curiosity rover weighs almost a ton and carries 10 advanced scientific instruments.

"The Curiosity rover is the next best thing to sending a geologist to Mars," said Downs. "It carries all the necessary equipment that we would use here on Earth when we study rocks and minerals."

April 25

Art series to focus on 'Pop, Minimalism'

Paul Eli Ivey, art historian at the University of Arizona, continues his lecture series on Contemporary American Art at the Arizona Senior Academy next Thursday. The topic of his second lecture is "Pop, Minimalism and Earth Art," covering the rise of consumer culture and reactions to it through these new movements.

It will be followed on May 16 with a final lecture, "The Dematerialization of the Art Object."

Ivey holds a doctoral degree from the State University of New York-Binghamton, and his specialty is modern and contemporary art, theory and criticism.

In early May, Ivey will be participating in signings of his just-released book, "Radiance From Halcyon: A Utopian Experiment in Religion and Science," published by the University of Minnesota Press.

About Academy Village

• Events are held in the Great Room of the Arizona Senior Academy Building adjacent to the Academy Village Community Center, 13715 E. Langtry Lane.

• Nonresidents who want to ensure priority seating can make reservations by emailing info@arizonasenioracademy.org or calling 647-0980.

• To learn more about the academy, go to www.asa-tucson.org online.

• Visitors can buy lunch at the Academy Cafe across the courtyard from the Arizona Senior Academy Building. The cafe is open 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday. Prices range from $4.50 to $9.50. For more information, call the cafe at 647-0903.

- Susan Isaacs Nisbett - Drew Potter - Janet Kerans