Radiolab’s Jad Abumrad

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Radiolab’s Jad Abumrad with special guest Zoë Keating

By integrating his background as both journalist and composer, Jad Abumrad has experienced great success with his public radio program, “Radiolab.” He orchestrates dialogue, music, interviews and sound effects into compelling documentaries to create “a new aesthetic” in broadcast journalism.

Joined by renowned cellist Zoë Keating, “Gut Churn” is set to be a fascinating discussion complimented by an intriguing layer of sound.

This lecture thread begins with a simple question: What does it mean to “innovate?” How does it feel to make something new in the world? (These are questions Jad Abumrad was frequently asked after being awarded a MacArthur fellowship in 2011). This lecture, on one level, is the personal story of how Jad invented a new aesthetic. On another, it is a clinic in the art of storytelling.

On a third and more profound level, the lecture is the result of a three-year investigation into the science, philosophy and art of uncertainty, which all began with the two words that are the title of this talk. Gut churn. What use do negative feelings have during the creative process? Do those feelings get in the way, or do they propel us forward?

Jad Abumrad is the host and creator of Radiolab, which reaches roughly 2 million people per month. He’s been called a “master of the radio craft” for his unique ability to combine cutting edge sound-design, cinematic storytelling and a personal approach to explaining complex topics, from the stochasticity of tumor cells to the mathematics of morality.

Jad studied creative writing and music composition at Oberlin College in Ohio. He composes much of the music for Radiolab, and in the past has composed music for film, theater and dance. In 2011, Radiolab received a Peabody Award, the highest honor in broadcasting, and Jad received the prestigious MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship.

Cellist and composer Zoë Keating is a one-woman orchestra. She uses a cello and a foot-controlled laptop to record layer upon layer of cello, creating intricate, haunting and compelling music. Zoë is known for both her use of technology – which she uses to sample her cello onstage – and for her DIY approach, releasing her music online without the help of a record label.

Now, Zoë has a devoted, global audience. Her self-released albums have several times reached #1 on the iTunes classical chart, she has over 1 million followers on Twitter and her grassroots approach and artists’ advocacy has garnered her much public attention and press.