For Columbia students, author Malcolm Gladwell, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman won’t be the only familiar faces at the 2013 Google Zeitgeist conference in Paradise Valley, Ariz. Columbia cello ensemble String Theory will also appear at the summit, which will be held from Sept. 15-17 under the theme “Here’s to the curious.”
The group, which includes Nathan Chan and Maddie Tucker, both CC-Juilliard ’15, Steven Bennett and Corinna Boylan, both CC ’15, and Justin Zhao, SEAS ’15, will contribute a repertoire that is “not only musically significant, but generationally significant to our era and our position in society,” Chan said.
String Theory is representing From The Top, an independent nonprofit organization on NPR that celebrates musical appreciation in young people, according to Chan.
Chan said he hopes String Theory’s appearance at Zeitgeist—Google’s annual conference for customers, partners, and advertisers—will extend the group’s musical reach to people who are “looking for something to be musically inspired by.”
Founded in 2011, String Theory performs jazz, classical, and pop music, including original arrangements of Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger” and Swedish House Mafia’s “Don’t You Worry Child.” The ensemble’s performance of “Viva La Vida” has garnered more than 130,000 hits on YouTube. Many of String Theory’s arrangements feature passing melodies among cellists and inventive percussion.
String Theory distinguishes itself through technical prowess and compositional creativity. The conference won’t be the group’s first time on stage—it has performed at various campus events, including Columbia’s Lowlapalooza concert last fall.
Chan said that he is proud of String Theory’s progress from its humble beginnings at “midnight sight-reading sessions in John Jay Lounge.” Now, he said, it’s “a force in the musical world in and out of Columbia’s campus.”
Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated that Jon Huntsman was the former governor of Massachusetts, not Utah. Spectator regrets the error.