Arts Briefs

Career Exploration Seminar with Brian Balmages,

Brian Balmages, director of instrumental publications for FJH Music Company Inc. will be speaking with students about his career at 3 p.m. on Feb. 29 in the Cook-DeWitt Center.

Balmages is an award-winning composer, conductor, producer and performer. His music for winds, brass and orchestra has been performed throughout the world. His active schedule of commissions and premieres has incorporated groups ranging from elementary schools to professional ensembles.

World premieres have included prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. His music was also performed as part of the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Prayer Service, which was attended by both President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

Balmages received his bachelor’s degree in music from James Madison University and his master’s degree from the University of Miami in Florida.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit

Gravity has a story to tell: LIGO’s first gravitational wave detection

Shane Larson will be giving a lecture about the recent gravitation wave detection at Grand Valley State University at 3 p.m. on March 2 in the Loutit Lecture Hall.

Larson is a research associate professor at Northwestern University in the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA) and an astronomer in the department of astronomy at the Adler Planetarium.

In 1916, Einstein used his description of gravity — general relativity — to make a prediction about the cosmos. He predicted that gravity should warp the fabric of the Universe, and that warpage should move from one place to another. This phenomenon was called gravitational waves.

For 40 years, physicists tried to understand this idea and decide whether it was possible to detect these waves. It took 60 years to build an experiment capable of detecting these faint ripples of gravity; this project is called Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO)

On Sept. 14, 2015 the LIGO observatories in Washington and Louisiana made good on Einstein’s century old predication. The thousands of scientists working on LIGO concluded they had detected the first gravitational waves from space. The source was the merger of two black holes, 1.3 billion lightyears away from Earth.

In the lecture, Larson will talk about this discovery — how it was found, what LIGO detected, what it taught us about the Universe, and where the research will take scientists in the future.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the physics department (616) 331-2274.

Symphonic Wind Ensemble with Student Concerto Competition Winner, Anna Petrenko

The Symphonic Wind Ensemble will perform at 7:30 p.m. on March 2 in the Louis Armstrong Theatre in the Performing Arts Center with student concerto competition winner Anna Petrenko. Petrenko will perform as a soloist on her soprano saxophone. Kevin Tutt will conduct the ensemble.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit