By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Pasadena Weekly Executive Editor

Mount Wilson Observatory Artistic Director Cécilia Tsan said she now has hope for music, live entertainment and the future of the arts.

The robust ticket sales for two-concert Sunday Afternoon Concerts in the Dome — the second of which is Sunday, Sept. 5 — inspired her.

“It’s very promising and it gives me hope for the next season, which, hopefully, will be complete,” Tsan said.

“This season is only two shows, but next season will be much better. We’ll do an entire summer of great music.”

This Sunday, the Lounge Art Ensemble returns. Led by Weather Report drummer Peter Erskine, this jazz trio features saxophonist Bob Sheppard and bassist Darek Oles with another “carte blanche” program of jazz standards.

“He’s quite an iconic jazz musician,” Tsan said of Erskine. “He’s among the greatest jazz musicians on Earth. To have him wanting to come back is truly an honor and joy.”

Like the classical concert on Aug. 1, this performance will be held under the vaulted dome of Mount Wilson Observatory’s 100-inch telescope.

“It’s quite extraordinary,” Tsan said. “Once everybody’s seated, the trustee who’s in charge of the whole season and who invited me welcomes the audience. They rotate it, and then we arrive and play. It’s quite an experience.

“The acoustics are so incredible. It has one of the best acoustics in the world.”

The principal cellist for the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra, Tsan co-founded the Sunday Afternoon Concerts in the Dome series. Born in France, Tsan began playing the cello with the same teacher as her childhood friend, Yo-Yo Ma.

A philosophy and Chinese Major, she graduated from the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris under André Navarra.

She is a prizewinner at the Barcelona, Florence and Paris international competitions. Tsan tours throughout the world as a soloist and as a chamber musician with Rudolf Firkusny, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Michel Dalberto, Pascal Rogé, Simone Pedroni, Pierre Amoyal, Augustin Dumay and Martin Chalifour.

She has also recorded hundreds of movie soundtracks with John Williams, James Newton-Howard, James Horner, Randy Newman, Danny Elfman and Alexandre Desplat.

Tickets, $50, for seating inside the historic dome, are limited. Concert attendees must be fully vaccinated. Children younger than 12 are not permitted. Masks are required.

Access to the dome performances is via a 53-step staircase. Mount Wilson Observatory sits at a mile-high elevation, so the air is noticeably thinner. There is no ADA-compliant access.

All proceeds support the Mount Wilson Institute in its mission to preserve, protect and promote the observatory and its accomplishments.


Sunday Afternoon Concerts in the Dome
featuring the Lounge Art Ensemble, Jazz Trio

WHEN: 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 5; There will be a 4 p.m. reception with the musicians that the 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. attendees can join.

WHERE: Mount Wilson Observatory, 100 Mount Wilson Redbox Road, Mount Wilson

COST: $50

INFO: mtwilson.edu/concerts