When Francis Leger and Carole Lee presented their musical program at lunchtime on Thursday, a deeper meaning could be found in the selections they played.
The free “Cello and Piano” concert preview held in Bernie Beck Lecture Hall at Texas A&M University-Central Texas was sponsored by the campus’ Office of Research.
While it might seem unusual for research and music to collaborate for a concert, the type of research in which Leger is involved as part of the University Center for Applied Research and Engagement is directly linked to the instruments being played, according to Russell Porter, vice president for research and economic development at A&M-Central Texas.
The $1.5 million scanning electron microscope housed in Founders Hall will soon be used to research the components of musical instruments. As an example, Porter explained how the strings from various types of pianos could be compared using the electron microscope, to gauge how craftsmanship impacts the quality and tone of the instrument.
During Thursday’s concert, Leger performed on the cello, being also a conductor and artist in residence at A&M-Central Texas. Lee, who is a scholar, arts administrator and concert pianist, sat at the Boston grand piano provided by the Steinway Piano Gallery Austin/San Antonio.
Staff from A&M-Central Texas’ Recruitment of Undergraduate Admissions office came down for the concert. “I’m excited to hear the good music,” Espenosha Hughes said.
Stephanie Salinas brought her daughters, Felicity, 4, and Avalyn, 2, for the lunchtime concert. Stephanie likes to expose the girls to different experiences. “They’re young. I want to give them every opportunity to learn.”
The concert featured free pizza and soda and was meant as a way for the A&M-Central Texas community to gather for a meal and enjoy the holidays, Porter said. “It’s a gift to our faculty and staff for all the great work they do through the year.”
Leger and Lee will perform a full concert in early February, featuring a Steinway piano and a dinner, Porter said. The logistics are still being coordinated, and the date will be announced later.