Music + Astronomy Project for Undergraduate Students

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UCR undergraduate music student Rogelio Cardoza has been awarded this funding opportunity.


The Department of Physics and Astronomy is offering a funding opportunity for an undergraduate student from the Department of Music. The project follows a previous successful project between both Departments.

The student will:

  • Compose a musical piece based on astronomical data
    • Use sonification methods
    • Use the 20 – 100 Hz range to create a movement or bi-product to include vibrations for the Deaf community
  • Produce program notes and a written report
  • Produce any multimedia material required for the public performance

The end-product is geared to create a multi-sensory musical experience aimed at the general public but sensitive to requirements for the Deaf. The student will be under the mentoring of Prof. Ian Dicke (Music), Prof. Gabriela Canalizo (Astronomy), Dr. Mario De Leo-Winkler (Education & Outreach).


  • Undergraduate student
    • 3rd or 4th year during the 2018 – 2019 academic year
      • if a 4th year, graduating in spring 2019
  • Experience in musical composition
  • Commit 8 hours per week to the project during the 2018 – 2019 academic year (3 quarters)
    • 6 hours for research and composition
    • 2 hours for mentoring and meetings
  • Not currently receiving payment from UCR’s payroll office (teaching/lab assistants, etc.)
    • Students receiving financial-aid may be eligible


  • The funding totals $3,800:
    • $3,000 stipend for the student; one-third paid at the end of each quarter
    • $800 for the public performance and/or recording of the piece (stipends for performers, or cost of venue or materials)

The student’s progress will be reviewed at the end of each quarter.


All interested students must present an email where they:

  • Describe any previous experience in composition and/or sonification
  • All interested students should submit two or three contrasting pieces of music (scores and audio recordings) that best represent your composition abilities.

The email should be sent to Dr. Mario De Leo ( with the subject “Music and Astronomy

Interviews will be held during the Spring 2018 quarter.


  • April 2, 2018: Application period opens
  • May 18: Application period closes
  • June 1: Awardee announced


The program notes, recording, mechanical performance rights, and written report will be held under the Creative Commons 4.0 License, making it freely available to interested parties.
The composer retains full rights to the score but allows a 2 year exclusivity period for use within UC Riverside, starting when the piece is performed publicly for the first time.


Prof. Gillian Wilson (Physics and Astronomy) is providing the stipend funds through the National Science Foundation grant AST-1517863.
Prof. Ian Dicke (Music) is providing a recording studio, performance venues and rehearsal sessions.
Prof. Mario De Leo-Winkler (Physics and Astronomy) is providing personal funds for the performance/recording of the piece.
Prof. Bahram Mobasher (Physics and Astronomy) is providing funding for Dr. Mario De Leo-Winkler through the NASA MUREP MIRO FIELDS Program grant NNX15AP99A.

Image credit: Oxford Music