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Event looks at seasonal changes in music and stars

Three Ohio State students are counting on the stars, with a classical twist.

“Seasonal Variations” will be an hour-long classical music performance with a visual display featuring an entire year’s worth of stars drifting through space. It will be set to recordings of Antonio Vivaldi’s series of violin concertos, “The Four Seasons.” The show is being organized by The Vinyl Frontier, a student-led organization that aims to raise interest for astronomy and classical music.

“This is the only opportunity to see a planetarium show in Columbus open to the general public,” said Courtney Epstein, a third-year graduate student in astronomy and an organizer of the event.

“I’m trying to make awareness for classical music for the younger generations. I feel it’s something that’s been lost in the past 50 or 60 years,” said Alex Hardesty, a fourth-year in strategic communication. “So I came up with the idea that, ‘What is a good way to listen to this?’ Well, a planetarium — it’s perfect.”

Calen Henderson, a second-year graduate student in astronomy, said the show will bring something unique to the city and OSU.

“In Columbus, where the symphony has had trouble getting funding, and people aren’t aware that we have a planetarium, it was just like, ‘S—, let’s tell people about both at the same time,'” Henderson said.

Composed in 1723, “The Four Seasons” consists of four concertos, each meant to represent one of the four seasons.

“‘The Four Seasons’ is really a beautiful piece, musically, and also, it fits really well. It’s made up of four concertos,” Epstein said. “It fits really well with astronomy because you can see how the sky changes over the course of a year.”

Henderson said there has always been a link between astronomy and classical music. Gustav Holst composed his work “The Planets” based on the heavenly bodies.

“‘The Four Seasons’ wasn’t specifically inspired by astronomy necessarily but certainly by the seasons. During the winter (concerto), you can actually feel the cold, crisp Columbus air,” Henderson said.

If the show gets positive feedback, the organizers said they hope to put on a whole series of classical music planetarium shows and might consider branching out into other genres of music.

“Classical music and astronomy both really do have an emotional and transporting effect,” Henderson said.

The show is free and begins at 8 p.m. Friday on the fifth floor of Smith Laboratory.

“We think this show has something for everyone, whether you’re interested in music or whether you’re interested in astronomy,” Epstein said. “We just think this will be a really stellar performance.”

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