“Songs of a Distant Star” is an orchestral/visual work of unparalleled power and beauty, combining sound and image. Looking beyond the solar system in which we live, this work is written for the full magnitude of the symphony orchestra and combined with the extraordinary images of the distant universe, projected onto a screen, suspended above the orchestra, as an integral part of the experience.
The storyboard takes us on a journey from the edge of our solar system, where Gustav Holst finished his voyage, to the edge of the known universe. Here we will restart time, as it were, from the big bang through coalescence to the emergence of the first stars and galaxies. We are drawn to the edge of a spiral galaxy and finally back into the super massive black hole at it's centre. All that remains at the end of this is the hopes and dreams of humanity in on final piece of music without any images.
From nebulae to black holes and from spiral galaxies to solar wind, the universe creates an awe inspiring collection of might and beauty. In it's musical form it takes the audience on a journey beyond the realms of the everyday and into the possibilities beyond our mortal boundaries.
During the coming few years we will be witnessing the dawn of another era of images from space as an array of new telescopes are put into commission, both on the earth and in space itself. The Hubble telescope, which brought us such awe inspiring images over the past 20 years, will be surpassed by it's replacement, the James Webb telescope. The "SKA" system of radio telescopes will be the most powerful ever built on earth. The Giant Magellan telescope, being built in the mountains of Chile, will open new doors to our past in vivid clarity. We will be able to see the formation of the first stars and galaxies, and within a relatively short period from the big bang. It is these images that will be part of "Songs of a Distant Star".
At a time when we are to bare witness to images from the earliest part of the formation of the universe this project will portray the magnificence of the past in an evocative, emotional and truly humanistic way, …. via music and image.
Support been has sought from astrophysics communities in Australia and overseas, to date lending their voice to the image collection, science and education possibilities. Oxford University Hertfod College Astrophysics Dept. , The Centre for Astrophysics & Supercomputing at Swinburne Institute of Technology in Australia, the CSIRO's "SKA" team and the European Space Agency have all extended their hands in welcome to the development of the project, with various components.
With these scientific, image collection and musical connections within Australia and worldwide, this project is set to become a unique experience. Music and science combine to produce a spectical that will touch the soul of every person, young and old.
At a period in our own history that the planet earth is in such dire circumstances it is time, once again, to look towards the heavens and believe in a vision of such magnitude that we can set a spark to the imagination of human endeavour.