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In partnership with The Institute of Physics

‘When we see images of the strange mathematical beasts lurking at the heart of the natural world – fractal landscapes, the Fibonacci series, the Strange attractors that beat at the heart of chaos – it is always the dizzying spirals of Bach that come to mind.’ Douglas Adams

They’ve been to the furthest reaches of the galaxy, and looked inside the smallest atom. But this year the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment are going on an even greater adventure – looking inside you.

Physics, biology, maths and philosophy all collide in a new edition of the Bach, the Universe and Everything series, exploring the big questions of human nature. With guest scientists exploring subjects such as the brain, cells, artificial intelligence, and quantum biology, it will be a thrilling ride into cutting edge thinking on what makes you, well, ‘you’.

These stimulating Sunday morning concerts mix science talks and activities with a different cantata every month by Bach, whose music, in a different way, helps you comprehend the wonders of nature.

With a fascinating readings, beautiful choral music and even a little bit of communal singing thrown into the mix, it’s a place where you can bond with music lovers. Feel invigorated, energised and inspired for the week ahead – there is no better way to start your Sunday.


What is a cantata?

Cantata literally means ‘sung’. Bach wrote more than 200 of these pieces, many for the Sunday services at the churches where he worked.

Each one lasts around 20 – 30 minutes, always sung and with a musical accompaniment (rather than being sung a cappella). They all tell a story. Some were written for particular dates in the church calendar. Others, such as the famous Coffee Cantata, told different stories, like short operas.

Watch the video explanation.

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SAVE 15% when you book 3+ BTUAE concerts
Discounts automatically applied when 3+ events have been added to your online basket. This offer is limited and subject to event availability. Saver Seats are excluded from the discount.
SAVE 25% when you book all 6 BTUAE concerts
Discounts automatically applied when all 6 events have been added to your online basket. This offer is limited and subject to event availability. Saver Seats are excluded from the discount.

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment – Mathematics and the Brain

Classical / Bach, the Universe & Everything

The science: Can mathematics explain the brain? Professor Alain Goriely definitely thinks it’s worth trying. The music: In this cantata, Bach imagines going to a wedding.

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Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment – Nature’s Hidden Nature

Classical / Bach, the Universe & Everything

The science: Learn about quantum biology – the role quantum mechanics plays in biological processes. The music: This cantata is one for horn fans, with a prominent natural horn complementing the soprano singer.

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Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment – The Creativity Code

Classical / Bach, the Universe & Everything

The science: Could computers put composers out of job? The music: To mark the start of Advent, the Orchestra plays one of Bach’s Christmas cantatas, full of anticipation for the big day.

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Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment – Cell Your Soul

Classical / Bach, the Universe & Everything

The science: Professor Buzz Baum works at the intersection of biology and physics. He is trying to understand how cells evolve. This cantata repurposes a famous tune from Bach’s St Matthew Passion.

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Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment – The Beauty of Mathematics

Classical / Bach, the Universe & Everything

The science: Dr Vicky Neale is here to convince you that mathematics as beautiful as Bach’s music. The music: This is one of Bach’s first cantatas, written when he was in his early twenties for a friend’s wedding.

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Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment – Can Bacterium Compute?

Classical / Bach, the Universe & Everything

The science: Professor Susan Stepney introduces us to different types of non-conventional computing. The music: This cantata marks Pentecost, and the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles.

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