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Press Releases

Mount Wilson Observatory Presents: Sunday Afternoon Concerts in the Dome featuring Eclipse Quartet

July 1, 2024 | By Green Galactic

For Immediate Release:

Mount Wilson Observatory Presents
Third Offering in its 7th Season of
Sunday Afternoon Concerts in the Dome
Featuring Eclipse Quartet w/
Sara Parkins, Sarah Thornblade, Alma Fernandez and Maggie Parkins
Held Inside the Historic Dome of the 100-Inch Telescope
Sunday, July 14, 2024
Performances at 3:00 PM and 5:00 PM

PASADENA, CA – 7/1/2024 – Mount Wilson Observatory—the place where humankind discovered its place in the universe—is pleased to announce the third date in its Sunday Afternoon Concerts in the Dome six-month series, to take place on Sunday, July 14, 2024. The concert will feature performances by Eclipse Quartet featuring Sara Parkins and Sarah Thornblade, on violins, Alma Fernandez on viola, and Maggie Parkins on cello, playing in the remarkable acoustics of the dome of the 100” telescope at the Observatory. The July concert will feature compositions by Philip Glass and Osvaldo Golijov. The same concert will be offered twice: first at 3:00pm and again at 5:00pm.

Each year, the six-month series, featuring classical or jazz programs, is thoughtfully curated by Artistic Director Cécilia Tsan (Principal Cellist, Long Beach Symphony). An artist reception with light fare and refreshments is offered between the performances. Tickets cost $60 each and are available for purchase online in advance (highly recommended) or at the door, given availability. For more information on the concert series, please visit https://www.mtwilson.edu/concerts, where tickets for this and future concerts are available.

About the Program

Philip Glass - String Quartet No. 5
Gramophone had this to say about String Quartet No. 5, “Glass has stated that his intention in the Fifth Quartet was to free the work from the burden of the medium’s tradition by placing musicality rather than seriousness at its center. He throws off the shackles of minimalism here, too. The opening theme’s effusive lyrical tone may come as a surprise to some. The Fifth Quartet’s clear formal outline and sense of organic growth also make it Glass’s most classical (and arguably finest) quartet. Most impressive is the way in which the quartet manages to project its overall shape, imparting unity and coherence to the whole, and tying together the loose ends of the previous four movements in a very effective closing section.”

Osvaldo Golijov - Tenebrae
As taken from BBC Magazine's Classical Music site, quoting Robert Maycock, "In contrast, Tenebrae for quartet and the Three Songs are slow, reflective and wrapped in quiet major-key despair. The first song, a too easily affecting lullaby, turns first into a kind of klezmer and then thoroughly East European, and the final Emily Dickinson setting culminates memorably in bold, arching phrases."

About Eclipse Quartet
The Eclipse Quartet, comprised of Sara Parkins, Sarah Thornblade, Alma Fernandez, and Maggie Parkins, is an ensemble dedicated to the music of the twentieth century and present day composers. The scope of their repertoire spans works from John Cage and Morton Subotnick to collaborations with the singers Beck and Caetano Veloso. Eclipse has the versatility to cross genres from works that include electronics and computer processing to the jazz compositions of Grammy award winning pianist Billy Childs. The Quartet has performed frequently on both coasts and has participated in festivals such as the Look and Listen Festival in NYC, the Festival for New American Music in Sacramento, the Scarlatti Festival in Naples, Italy, the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Festival, the Angel City Jazz Festival and the Hear and Now Festival in Los Angeles.

The repertoire of Eclipse contains works by such dynamic composers as Roger Reynolds, Julia Wolfe, Ben Johnston, Ruth Crawford Seeger, Annie Gosfield, John Zorn, Fred Frith, Philip Glass, John King and Lois V. Vierk. They have premiered new works by Sarah Gibson, Zeena Parkins, Carla Kihlstedt, Justin Haynes, Gernot Wolfgang, Alisson Krussmma and David Jaffe and Fred Frith.

Eclipse has recorded the string quartets of Zeena Parkins for the Tzadik label and Morton Feldman’s epic Piano And String Quartet piece with pianist Vicki Ray on Bridge Records. In 2013 Eclipse released a disc of three works for percussion and string quartet with percussionist William Winant on New World Records as recipients of the Aaron Copland Fund for Music Recording Grant. In 2014 the MicroFest label released Ruminations featuring Eclipse’s recording of Ben Johnston’s Revised Standards. In 2019 Cold Blue released Separations Songs a concert length piece by Matt Sargent for double quartet.

The Eclipse Quartet have been Artists in Residence at Mills College in Oakland California and at the historic artists’ retreat Villa Aurora in Los Angeles and University of California, Davis.

Cécilia Tsan, Artistic Director
Praised by the Los Angeles Times for her “...uncompromising musical character and towering technique, French born cellist Cécilia Tsan graduated from the Paris Conservatory summa cum laude and is a prizewinner at the Barcelona, Florence, and Paris International Competitions. An international soloist and chamber musician, she has recorded several CDs and hundreds of movie soundtracks in Hollywood. She serves as Principal Cello with Long Beach Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles Master Chorale Orchestra.

In August 2024, Warner Classics will release a 2-CD set dedicated to the music of John Williams entitled John Williams Reimagined with Sara Andon, flute, Cécilia Tsan, cello and Simone Pedroni, piano. A vast array of his featured scores are arranged for flute, cello, and piano by Pedroni. The release will be preceded and followed by international concert tours featuring the trio.

As the Artistic Director of the Mount Wilson Observatory music series Sunday Afternoon Concerts in the Dome, Ms. Tsan produces chamber music and jazz concerts every summer.


August 11 - https://www.mtwilson.edu/events/concert081124
Rogue Lemon Collective: A rotating cast of Los Angeles string players bringing multi-genre covers and collaborations.

September 8 - https://www.mtwilson.edu/events/concert090824
String Trios and Quartet: Ambroise Aubrun (violin), Kate Hamilton (viola), Cécilia Tsan (cello) and Allan Hon (cello) playing works by Schubert, Mason, and Arensky.

October 6 - https://www.mtwilson.edu/events/concert100624
Trio Dinicu (Cabaret Tzigane): Luanne Homzy (violin), Tommy Davy (guitar), and Felix Kochendörfer (double bass).

Since its founding in 1904 by astronomer and visionary George Ellery Hale, Mount Wilson Observatory has played host to some of the most important discoveries in modern astronomy. Located on Mount Wilson, a 5,710-foot (1,740-meter) peak in the San Gabriel Mountains of the Angeles National Forest, MWO features the Snow Solar Telescope (largest in the world from 1905-1908 and the mountain’s first installation), the 60-inch telescope (the world’s largest operational telescope from 1908-1917), and the 100-inch Hooker telescope (which featured the world’s largest aperture from 1917-1949). Mount Wilson Institute has independently operated and maintained the Observatory since 1989 under a  long-term agreement with the Carnegie Institution of Washington.

The 100-inch telescope is the instrument with which astronomer Edwin Hubble discovered our place in an expanding universe and deeply expanded human knowledge. The dome for the telescope—designed by seminal Chicago architect Daniel Burnham—is a 20th century temple to science whose acoustics rival the great cathedrals of Europe, a truly unique setting for this ambitious music series.

All proceeds from ticketed events go to support Mount Wilson Institute in its mission to preserve, protect, and promote the Observatory and its scientific accomplishments.

Mount Wilson Observatory
100 Mt Wilson Circle Rd
Mount Wilson, CA 91023

On MWO’s website the “Map” page shows various SoCal routes to the 2 and 210 Freeways which feed into Angeles Crest Highway which goes to Red Box Road which then leads to Mount Wilson Circle Road.

The gates to Mount Wilson’s campus open at 10:00am daily and close at 5:00pm in the spring and summer, and 4:00pm in the fall. Entrance to the grounds is free. Visitors can hike, gaze at the telescope domes and towers that dot the landscape, and take a look at historic Mount Wilson photos and letters in the Museum.

The Cosmic Café, located above the parking lot at the Observatory entrance, is open on weekends in the spring, summer, and fall, weather permitting. In addition to traditional menu items such as hot dogs, drinks, and snacks, the Café is offering various lunch and sweet treats from Little Flower Café.

A U.S. Forest Service Adventure Pass is required to park at the Observatory, as it is located on U.S. Forest Service land. A day pass may be purchased at the Cosmic Cafe. The $5 day pass or a $30 dollar annual pass may be purchased at other locations around Los Angeles before heading up. Click here to go to the U.S. Forest Service website for more information about the $5 Adventure Pass and where to buy them. The Shell station in La Canada at the bottom of the Angeles Crest Highway should be selling them as well.

Please be advised that access to the dome performances is via a 53-step staircase. There is no ADA-compliant access.

• Mount Wilson Observatory - https://www.mtwilson.edu
Sunday Afternoon Concerts in the Dome - https://www.mtwilson.edu/concerts

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To request more information, photos, or to schedule an interview or request press passes, please contact Green Galactic’s Lynn Tejada at lynn@greengalactic.com or 213-840-1201.



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