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School of Science Colloquium: The Music of Insects

The Music of Insects

Friday, April 19, 2013
11:30 am – 12:20 pm
Mayo Concert Hall, Music Building


TCNJ Center for the Arts together with the School of Science are pleased to welcome guest lecturers Rosalind Erwin, Adjunct Professor of Music at the College, and Nathan Erwin, entomologist at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History and one-time French hornist on Friday, April 19, at 11:30AM in Mayo Concert Hall.  They will speak about how biology and music are intertwined in amazing and sometimes overlooked ways.  Ms. and Mr. Erwin will lead a discussion about how and why insects were and continue to be the most diverse group of animal sound producers in nature, a follow-up to the April 18 Concert Band performance “Scrape, Bang and Blow”, featuring the works of contemporary composers David Gillingham, Jared Spears, Samuel R. Hazo and Thom Ritter George. 

This brother-sister duo will discuss when and why animal sound production evolved about 240 million years ago and how humans employ the same techniques in developing instruments used in bands and orchestras.  They will also discuss how rhythm, pitch, and tonal quality are used by insects and humans alike to convey information. 

Mr. Erwin is an entomologist and informal science educator.  He  has worked as a forest pest entomologist with the state of Maryland, staff scientist with the Rachel Carson Council, Inc., and curator of the Smithsonian Institution’s Insect Zoo and Butterfly Pavilion.  He travels throughout Central and South America collecting insects, develops museum exhibits, leads teacher workshops on object-based and inquiry-based learning,and appeared on Discovery, NPR’s  All Things Considered , and the Late Show with David Letterman while sharing his interest and enthusiasm for insects. For more information, please visit and

A flexible, creative and highly accomplished conductor, Rosalind Erwin is welcome on podiums both in the United States and abroad. Her credentials include performances with the Sofia Philharmonic in Bulgaria, Calais Chamber Orchestra in Portugal, in concert under the auspices of NATO in Croatia, and at home where in six years she built a fledgling regional orchestra in suburban Philadelphia into one attracting international attention, record executives and European solo artists. At TCNJ, Maestro Erwin teaches Independent Study in Conducting and directs the Concert Band. For more information, please visit