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CSO program opens world of symphonic music, science to youngest of patrons

The Field Museum and Chicago Symphony Orchestra joined forces Friday in a Symphony Center concert series performance aimed and young children. The latest entry in the CSO School Concerts: Let’s Explore programming seeks to teach kids about science and symphony.

Edwin Outwater, guest conductor for the CSO collaborated with Emily Graslie, the Chief Curiosity Correspondent for the Field Museum over a year ago to craft the program for school-aged children. On Friday, in between musical pieces such as Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 and Smetana’s The Moldau, Graslie gave small science lessons on different components of Illinois’ ecosystems. Similarly, Outwater explained different components of a musical composition, using Bethoven’s Symphony No. 5 to explain, for example, the nature of a motif.

Video by Eliza Davidson

“I don’t think you can be too young to be exposed to music and to scientific concepts,” Graslie said.

Outwater said that he knew that the kids were enthralled because the auditorium was relatively hushed throughout the event. Kids were able to focus on these long pieces of music, because music engaged their imaginations. “And I think all these kinds of surprises kept them with us,” Outwater said.

Kids from elementary school and up were invited for the concert. After the show, they were invited to see a replica of a Tyrannosaurus rex skull named Norma, brought from the Field Museum.

The concert will again be presented at 11 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. March 17 at Symphony Center. For tickets, visit cso.org.