6:58 PM

Ready to Blow: Tuba concerto inspired by
University of Washington wind tunnel


This is where art and science truly become one.

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer: James Crowder was a Boeing engineer whose primary work concerned flow visualization -- making it possible to see the movement of air over solid surfaces -- that required the use of the 1939 wind tunnel. For this, he achieved international recognition. He was also a tuba player and interested, not surprisingly, in the air flow inside the instrument. After his death in 2002, his widow, Sandra, an ardent connoisseur of music, wanted a vehicle to commemorate her husband.
The result is Samuel Jones' tuba concerto, which gets its world premiere tonight with the Seattle Symphony. The concerto’s third movement was specifically inspired by the F.K. Kirsten Wind Tunnel on the eastern edge of the University of Washington.

As Christopher Olka, principal tuba of the symphony, plays his F bass tuba, the music will replicate sounds in the tunnel as it ramps up to airspeeds of 250 miles an hour and then down -- "a huge, compelling sound," in Jones' words.

This story makes me want to propose a concerto of my own creation. I would call it “Fabulosity – Concerto in ! Minor for Radial Aircraft Engine. It would feature a solo in which a DC-3, and a Ford Trimotor achieve supreme syncronicity as they fire up simultaneously to explode with that sound we pilot types hold so dear.

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