Maths & Music Talk: Exploring Bach’s Goldberg Variations

Bach’s student Mizler once described Bach’s music as the process of sounding mathematics. The Goldberg Variations are perhaps one of the most beautiful examples of Bach’s mathematical ideas at work. In this talk mathematician Marcus du Sautoy will explain how ideas of symmetry are at work throughout the variations. Like an audible Alhambra Bach plays with different symmetrical ideas to create the 30 variations that make up the piece. 

Marcus du Sautoy is the Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of the Royal Society. He is author of four popular science books including his most recent book What We Cannot Know (2016). He has presented numerous radio and TV series including a four part landmark TV series for the BBC called The Story of Maths. His own research is dedicated to exploring the mathematics of symmetry.

The talk will be interspersed with musical excerpts performed by pianist Sholto Kynoch.