Jad Abumrad, composer, journalist, and creator and host of the popular public radio program “Radiolab,” will lead a multimedia exploration of innovation, making, and the creative process — called “Gut Churn”— at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 26.

Presented by the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech,  Abumrad’s presentation will be held in the Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, located within the Moss Arts Center’s Street and Davis Performance Hall at 190 Alumni Mall. 

With the ultimate goal of examining the impact uncertainty, fear, and other negative feelings have on the creative process, Abumrad will discuss what it means to make something new in the world. Telling his personal story of inventing a new aesthetic — how he created compelling documentaries using dialogue, music, interviews, and sound effects — Abumrad explores the art of storytelling.

The title of the talk, “Gut Churn,” was inspired by this process and how it has influenced Abumrad as he has tackled intimidating topics in his documentaries, including the nature of numbers, the evolution of altruism, or the legal foundation for the war on terror.  His lecture is a result of a three-year investigation into the science, philosophy, and art of uncertainty.

During his visit, Abumrad will lead a class combining a lecture, question-and-answer session, and demonstration for undergraduate students in journalism.

“Radiolab” is broadcast on 524 stations across the nation and downloaded more than 9 million times a month as a podcast. Abumrad hosts the program with Robert Krulwich and also serves as its lead producer, composer, and managing editor.

After studying creative writing and music composition at Oberlin College in Ohio, Abumrad composed music for films and produced documentaries for a variety of local and national public radio programs. In 2002, he began tinkering with the idea of a new kind of radio program — an open-ended radio “laboratory.” Since then, “Radiolab” has evolved into one of public radio’s most popular programs.

In 2010, “Radiolab” was awarded the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award, and in 2011 Abumrad was selected as a MacArthur Fellow. The program’s episode “60 Words” was recently awarded a George Foster Peabody Award.


Tickets are $25 for general admission and $10 for students and youth 18 years old and under. Tickets can be purchased online; at the Moss Arts Center's box office, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday; or by calling 540-231-5300.

Parking is available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street. Virginia Tech faculty and staff possessing a valid Virginia Tech parking permit can enter and exit the garage free of charge. Limited street parking is also available. Parking on Alumni Mall is free on weekdays after 5 p.m. and on weekends.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Kacy McAllister at 540-231-5300 or email kmcallis@vt.edu during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to the event.

The Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech presents renowned artists from around the globe and from close to home, with a special focus on experiences that expand cultural awareness and deepen understanding. The Center for the Arts and the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology, with which the Center for the Arts is uniquely partnered, are housed in the Moss Arts Center. The Moss Arts Center is a 147,000-square-foot facility that includes the Street and Davis Performance Hall and its 1,274-seat Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre; visual art galleries; the four-story, experimental venue the Cube; and research studios.

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