String Theory meets music theory at Artown on the Quad

As temperatures soared into the 90s on the evening of July 12, four musicians with ties to the College arrived alongside one another to emulate how physicists imagined the forces of the universe to come together. The String Theory Quartet, accomplishing as a aspect of Artown, Reno’s monthlong celebration of the arts, is made up of two alumni who are also siblings, a previous alumna-turned-professor and a latest teacher.

The quartet’s cellist is Johnny Lenz. Johnny’s father is John Lenz, a renowned former audio professor who performed cello and horn and performed in the University’s Argenta Trio. As the display commenced, Johnny fiddled with the tuning of his cello. The quartet had tuned their instruments and rehearsed indoors. He figured the warmth could possibly affect the instruments, but the same heat had the quartet retreating to the air conditioned indoors before the live performance.

“Every one material on Earth has a amount of thermal expansion and contraction, like our strings. As they get longer, the pressure decreases in the strings, and they go flat. In the situation of my cello, it goes way flat,” Lenz explained. Throughout his time at the University, he researched the resonance of fantastic wires. “I was quite good at new music, but I was also genuinely superior at science and physics.”

The former physics scholar impressed one particular of the violinists to name the quartet “String Theory” a reference to the concept of how the forces in the universe affect anything in it. Johnny Lenz was a Westfall Scholar when he graduated in Fall 2006, meaning he experienced the top GPA of all the physics pupils that semester. He’s been a musician for 33 years.

“The concept at the rear of string theory, and it’s been a long time since I’ve long gone to school listed here,” Johnny explained, gesturing all over, “but it is unification. You are making an attempt to unify the different quantum mechanics, classical mechanics, relativity, you are striving to unify all that so that it makes feeling. And which is a person of the motives we assumed it’d be fantastic for a quartet, is we’re attempting to unify and mix the various forces of the musical spouse and children and the string instrument household.” Ironically, Johnny has always been a string idea skeptic, nevertheless his scientific studies targeted on experimental physics relatively than theoretical.

There aren’t several positions in experimental physics in Reno, but Johnny didn’t want to depart the region, so he obtained a career with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Workplace in legislation enforcement. The sergeant was shot even though on responsibility in December 2020. In honor of Johnny’s restoration and return to the phase, the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra provided no cost virtual entry to initially responders for a digital live performance in February of 2021 and introduced 30 of Johnny’s buddies, colleagues and family customers to the Pioneer Center for an in-person concert.

Johnny’s sister, Ruth Lenz, is the concertmaster of the Reno Philharmonic and the Reno Chamber Orchestra and is also a member of the Classical Tahoe Orchestra. Ruth performs the violin and has a doctorate in music functionality. She attended the College to get her degree in new music. Jessica Escobar, a different violinist, taught anthropology and French at the University and is an alum. Escobar came up with the title for the quartet. Dustin Budish, the group’s viola participant, teaches viola at the College. The group performed a various blend of songs, from the Rolling Stones’ “Paint It, Black” to “We Do not Communicate About Bruno” from the Disney film Encanto to “Promentory,” the Scottish-inspired major topic from the film “The Last of the Mohicans.”

A crowd of people are seated on the University Quad in the shade of the large trees. The brick buildings surrounding the Quad are visible in the background.&#13
The Artown on the Quad functionality drew a significant group of folks.

“It was really exciting, and it was superior to be below,” Johnny explained. Regardless of the thermal growth impacting the strings of his cello, the general performance acquired a standing ovation at the close. The celebration, sponsored by the University and the Edna B. and Bruno Benna Foundation, was the second in a collection of totally free community Artown functions identified as Artown on the Quad.

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