2020 Viola Award Finalist for Excellence in STEAM

Since arriving at NAU, Dr. Meyer has been an inspiring force to our students and community. He is exceptionally creative with regards toconcert programming, attempting to connect our students and university with the greater Flagstaff community, the local schools, and the Southwest region.

The “Out of This World” concert revealed the important intersection of space and music. Like Dr. Stephen Meyer’s other concerts, he seeks to collaborate with other areas of the university and with the Flagstaff community to show students how to creatively curate a concert series while still adhering to an educational curriculum. In collaborating with Lowell Observatory, Dr. Meyer is also establishing an important connection and bridging the gap between Northern Arizona University and the greater Flagstaff community. As a result, our students are including non-music collaborations, visual media, dance, and other art forms in their own performances.

The collaboration with Lowell Observatory bridged the gap between music and science, showing the Flagstaff community how composers are inspired by advancements in science. A former astronaut, Gregory Johnson, introduced the concert and revealed his connection with space and music by telling a story of the first rock band in space between Japanese, Russian, and American astronauts. Professor Nadine Barlow, chair of Astronomy and Planetary Science at NAU, introduced Gustav Holst’s “Mars “ from his masterwork The Planets and provided images and movies from her research on the Red Planet that were projected as the work was performed. Lowell Observatory contributed similar images and movies while the NAU Wind Symphony performed Roger Zare’s Mare Tranquillitatis about the “Sea of Tranquility” where Apollo 11 landed and Gustav Holst’s Jupiter from The Planets. Audience members were able to connect visual aspects of each celestial body with the composer’s aural interpretation. Following the concert, Lowell Observatory set up experiments in the Ardrey Auditorium lobby for adults and students to further understand the mysteries and science of our solar system.