Project LENS is a performance collaborative that seeks to reveal connections between music and a wide variety of topics in the world beyond. Our diverse studies and shared passion for classical music have inspired us to start a conversation about the ways in which music relates to topics as eclectic as evolution, 3D printing, humor, law, and birdsong. At each of our events, we illuminate a central topic by weaving together two threads: a TalkThread, a presentation of an idea, theory, or story; and a MusicThread spun of selections from the classical repertoire.
Analog Arts is pleased to support Project LENS as they establish their public programs. You can make a tax-deductible donation to Project LENS online by clicking the “DONATE” button. Checks can be sent by mail to
Analog Arts
241 West 135 Street, #3A
NY, NY 10030



February 13th @ 7:30pm

The Myth of Modern Violence

John Knowles Paine Hall, Harvard University

In his book “The Better Angels of our Nature,” Steven Pinker argues that physical violence has declined throughout human history. But in music, it seems that portrayals of violence are on the rise. How can we reconcile these two trends? Join renowned psychologist and writer Steven Pinker, the Grammy-winning Parker Quartet, and team LENS to explore violence in the world and in music.

March 17 @ 7pm
The Diller Quaile School of Music
24 E 95th St, New York, NY 10128

If you live in New York, here’s your opportunity to see Project LENS live! Stay tuned to find out more about this event. Featuring pianist Claudia Knafo.
PAST EVENTS October 9 at 7pm
Strung Together, Multicellularity & String Quartets
Fong Auditorium in Boylston Hall — Harvard University
Presented by the Harvard Museums of Science and Culture

Ever thought about how being a single cell is similar to performing solo Bach? Or how the formation of cellular colonies relates to the advent of the string quartet? Harvard Evolutionary Biologist Andrew Berry’s TalkThread begins 3.5 billion years ago with the origin of life and journeys through the emergence of multicellular organisms. Musicians Ariel Mitnick, Alan Toda-Ambaras, Rainer Crosett, Luke Hsu, Marthe Husum, and Robert Bekkers simultaneously illustrate the evolution of the string quartet through a MusicThread of Bach, Haydn, Beethoven, and Reich. Join us to explore what happens when we look at these processes side-by-side!

November 13
Backstory in Art and Music: Samuel Bak and Shostakovich
The Pucker Gallery — 171 Newbury Street

How much do we need to know about a work of art to understand it? What’s lost if we don’t know anything about the history of a piece? Join Project LENS and renowned artist and Holocaust survivor Samuel Bak to explore how backstory informs our experience of visual art and music

November 19 @ 7pm
Breaking Down the Beat: The Rhythm of Language
Le Laboratoire Cambridge — 650 East Kendall Street

You probably have some sense of what French music or British music sounds like. But what actually makes a piece sound as though it’s associated with a nationality? As it turns out, rhythms from composers’ native languages wind up in their music, and Tufts psychology professor Aniruddh Patel has quantified this relationship. Come join Dr. Patel and the Project LENS Team as we explore the rhythm of language and the rhythm of music!


Ariel Mitnick
Co-Founder, Violinist

Ariel Mitnick holds an A.B. in Neurobiology from Harvard College, from which she graduated magna cum laude, and an M.M. in violin performance from New England Conservatory where she studied with Donald Weilerstein and graduated with academic honors. At Harvard, Ariel was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa society and was a three-time Harvard College Scholar; at NEC, she was elected to Pi Kappa Lambda, a musical honors society. As a biologist, Ariel’s research includes work on dopamine receptors involved in schizophrenia and zebrafish brain mapping, as well as an honors thesis on a cerebellar algorithm. With a wide range of academic interests, Ariel has also enjoyed exploring electrical engineering, literature, computer science, economics, and philosophy; she currently works as a philosophy research assistant in the field of epistemology. Ariel’s violin career has led her to appear at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, as a soloist with the Westchester Philharmonic and other orchestras, and at music festivals such as Yellow Barn Music Festival, Music Academy of the West, The Perlman Music Program, and the Music Festival of the Hamptons. She has performed at venues such as Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall and Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory and has collaborated with renowned musicians such as Roger Tapping, Robert Levin, Natasha Brofsky, and Anthony Marwood. Ariel, 22, is originally from Yonkers, NY and now lives in Boston.

Rainer Crosett
Co-Founder, Cellist

Rainer Crosett is completing his M.M. in Cello Performance at New England Conservatory, where he studies with Paul Katz. He received his A.B. magna cum laude in Philosophy from Harvard, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and received an Artist Development Fellowship and the Lucy Allen Paton Prize for excellence in the humanities and fine arts. He has performed at the Yellow Barn, Aspen, and Kneisel Hall music festivals and served as principal cellist of the New York String Orchestra. His philosophical interests include the foundations of human rights and international justice, and he has been involved extensively in advocacy efforts on the issue of North Korean human rights. He is particularly excited about the ways that music can be a force for social change, and he has given several fundraising concerts for North Korean refugees in both the US and Seoul.

Alan Toda-Ambaras
Co-Founder, Cellist

Alan Toda-Ambaras is the recipient of the Prize for Most Promising Contestant at the 2005 Rostropovich International Cello Competition in Paris. Alan is active as both a soloist and a chamber musician. He has performed with Yo­Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, appeared at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and performed in the Taos Music Festival and the New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall. Alan has participated in masterclasses and taken lessons with many of the world’s foremost artists, including Luis Claret, Philippe Muller, Ralph Kirshbaum, Gary Hoffman, David Geringas (at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana, in Siena), Jens Peter Maintz, Frans Helmerson, Anner Bylsma (all three at the Kronberg Academy in Germany), Janos Starker, and Joel Krosnick. He received an Artist Development Fellowship from Harvard, where he enjoyed studying the evolving significance of human gesture and physicality in modern and postmodern painting. He has an A.B. in History of Art and Architecture from Harvard and an M.M. from the New England Conservatory, where he studied with Laurence Lesser. Alan is about to begin his second year as Music Scholar in ­Residence in Harvard’s Cabot House and as co-director of the Quad Chamber Program. He looks forward to engaging the student community through performances and discussions about the arts and humanities in modern society.