Galaxies and music collide this summer as the Lick Observatory hosts its 32nd Music of the Spheres summer concert and lecture series, starting June 16 atop Mt. Hamilton.

The evening programs occur over six Saturdays with concerts, lectures and a chance for attendees to observe the night sky through telescopes.

“They can expect a one-of-a-kind experience,” said John Wareham, deputy director at the observatory. “The process of driving up Mt. Hamilton takes about 45 minutes from San Jose. It’s a unique drive that sets the stage.”

If the weather allows, audience members can view through the observatory’s historic 36-inch Lick Telescope or the Nickel 40-inch telescope. Volunteers will be on hand with their own telescopes and knowledge in this field. The observatory has a new digital display gallery with eleven monitors displaying the research done at Lick and other UC facilities.

Proceeds of the concert series support UC Observatories, a multi-campus research unit through the University of California system headquartered at UC Santa Cruz. The Lick Observatory has grown to assist 10 campuses, three national laboratories and more than 180,000 students.

Concert Series Schedule:

June 16: Singing Strings Trio and a talk from Richard Kron

Singing Strings Trio features soprano singer Mary Rawcliffe, cellist Virginia Kron, and Jennifer Sayre performing on harp. The Trio will perform music inspired by the travels of James Lick the observatory’s namesake. Richard Kron, of the University of Chicago, will discuss “The Plurality of Inhabited Worlds: Astronomy and Popular Imagination, 1800 – 1917.”  Doors open at 7:30pm, event starts at 8:30pm

June 30: Ramon Romero, Strings of Fire and a talk from Raja Guha Thakurta
Ramon Romero, a native of South America, will perform music of South America accompanied by the Strings of Fire. The night will feature music from a variety of countries, including Argentina, Venezuela, Chile, Bolivia, and Paraguay and Cuba. Raja Guha Thakurta, a professor in the department of Astronomy & Astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz, will discuss “Mergers and Acquisitions: The Lives and Times of Galaxies.” Doors open at 7:30pm, event starts at 8:30pm

July 14: Tingstad & Rumbel and a talk from Chris Fassnacht
Eric Tingstad (guitar) and Nancy Rumbel (oboe, English horn and ocarina) are Grammy award-winning musicians who produce music inspired from America, the British Isles, Asia and Spain. Chris Fassnacht , of UC Davis, will discuss “Measuring the Dark Side of the Galaxies.” Doors open at 7:30 pm, event starts at 8:30 pm

July 28: Highland Way Duo and a talk from Peter Jenniskens
Highland Way Duo play the music of Scotland and Ireland with Brian Caldwell on vocals and guitar and Paul Graham Castellanos on the fiddle. Peter Jenniskens is a senior research scientist with the SETI Institute. He will discuss meteor shower surveillance at Lick Observatory. Doors open at 7:30 pm, event starts at 8:30 pm

August 11: Kurt Ribak Trio and a talk from Aaron Barth
Bassist Kurt Ribak will perform original jazz compositions accompanied by keyboards and drums. Aaron Barth, an associate professor at UC Irvine will speak about the “Census of Supermassive Black Holes in the Universe.” Doors open at 7pm, event starts at 8pm.

August 25: Daniel Roest & Alex de Grassi and a talk from Mariska Kriek
Daniel Roest and Alex de Grassi make for a guitar duo that incorporates performances and presentations along with and fingerstyle guitar. Kriek, an assistant professor in the astronomy department at UC Berkeley, discusses “A Deep View on the Early Universe: Extreme Makeovers and Overweight Galaxies.” Doors open at 7pm, event starts at 8pm.

Ticket information and additional details for each night can be found online at: Tickets can also be purchased at the UCSC Ticket Office or the Santa Cruz Civic Box Office.