One of the most spectacular things that can happen in astronomy is when two things collide. This Friday, June 7 at 7:30pm, the monthly All Space Considered will discuss an artistic collision: how composer Eric Whitacre received profound inspiration from the Hubble Space Telescope’s jaw-dropping “Deep Field” image. The image is an epic ten-day exposure of one small portion of the sky that previously appeared to have nothing in it…but with this intense observation, has proven chock-full of not just stars and other object, but thousands of galaxies, offering astonishing new perspective on our place in the universe. Read more about the Deep Field images here.
The event is moderated by Dr. Laura Danly, the observatory’s curator, who is herself a singer, and passionate about new classical works. I had the pleasure of attending an LA Phil performance with her last year, and she is an ideal presenter for a discussion of this type.
Whitacre, more specifically, will discuss how his how composition, Deep Field: The Impossible Magnitude of Our Universe, was inspired by these images, what they reveal, and how the project was put together. The event takes place in the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater, and admission is free.
Thinking of attending? Do go if you can, but plan ahead: be there plenty early, as seating is “first come, first served”, and parking and getting into the observatory can take some time. This webpage can help you plot your course.
As for Whitacre’s composition, which premiered in May 2015 in Minnesota, the “unique film and musical experience” is available online via this website, and features the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra an a Virtual Choir compiled from more than 8000 voices. The website also includes details about how the awe-inspiring work was put together. In addition to live presentations such as the one at Griffith this week (which are preferable, of course), the half-hour film can be found on YouTube:
It leaves one big, burning question: how will space inspire you? You might start exploring that by query with a visit to the observatory, by joining Friends of the Observatory (which does much to make sure programs like this continue), or by signing up for FOTO’s newsletters.
Be sure to let us know what you come up with…