College of Music

University of Colorado Boulder

CU Symphony's 'Planets' to feature planetary video, astronaut Joe Tanner

April 11, 2014

CU Symphony's 'Planets' to feature video and astronaut narration, April 29

A montage of animated images from NASA.

Live, multi-media symphonic performance at Macky Auditorium April 29

BOULDER, Colo. — When the CU Symphony launches into a performance of Gustav Holst’s Romantic suite, The Planets, on April 29, audiences will experience not just music, but also video featuring the latest high-resolution images taken by the Mars Curiosity rover, the Hubble space telescope and other unmanned NASA spacecraft. 

To top it off, they’ll have an experienced space traveler to guide them from Mercury to Neptune. Joseph Tanner, four-time space shuttle veteran and senior instructor in Aerospace Engineering Sciences at CU-Boulder, will introduce each piece with the latest scientific information about each of the planets.   

 “I love the orchestra and I’m looking forward to the performance,” Tanner says.

When the symphony decided to perform The Planets last year, the possibility of collaboration was immediately apparent. 

“We like to reach out across disciplines and there was a natural connection with the scientists in CU’s prestigious aerospace engineering program,” says Gary Lewis, director of orchestral studies. 

Videographer Mark Hatch premiered his film based on The Planets in 1996 to accompany the Buffalo Symphony Orchestra. Since then, it has been played more than 180 times with orchestras in North and South America, Europe and Asia. Hatch has refreshed and re-edited the program four times as new and better photos have become available since then. 

The film, which features both photos and animated sequences, is anything but static. Rather, Hatch choreographs the projection, adding “an astronomical dimension to Holst’s journey.” 

“What makes this film unique is that the conductor does not follow the film. Rather, we follow the conductor … through various techniques executed on-the-fly,” he says. 

The video and Tanner’s lyrical introductions will add texture and depth to an audience favorite Lewis describes as “a true tour de force.”

“It’s monumental in scope, featuring a large orchestra plus chorus,” he says. “It’s a wonderful way to end the year.”

  

Gustav Holst’s “The Planets”

Performed by the CU Symphony

With video taken by NASA spacecraft (Click to see a recent version of the video)

Narrated by former NASA astronaut Joe Tanner

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 29

WHERE: Macky Auditorium, University of Colorado Boulder campus

TICKETS: $10 and up

INFO: Click here for tickets and information or call 303-492-8008

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