“Each piece fizzes with textural detail, the musical analogue of the sulphuric swamps, ice storms and metallic hydrogen clouds that characterise our solar system” **** The Guardian
Following the sell out and critically acclaimed success of its recent live tour of planetariums, The Planets 2018 live concert is now available to enjoy as an audio stream for one year via the soundcloud link below left or here.
Written out of a fascination with astrology, Holst’s The Planets was first performed 100 years ago. But what would it sound like if created today?
Inspired by modern astronomy and music, listen to the adventurous Ligeti Quartet perform 8 new planetary works, created especially for planetariums, by 8 composers spanning contemporary classical, electronica to jazz. Exploring the live venue's unique design, The Planets 2018 takes you on an astronomical journey into new music.
Music and science collide as composers Ayanna Witter-Johnson, Deborah Pritchard, Laurence Crane, Mira Calix, Richard Bullen, Shiva Feshareki, Samuel Bordoli and Yazz Ahmed connected with astronomers to explore the modern science of our solar system. Taking inspiration from the latest explorations of Mars, Earth, Mercury, Saturn, Venus, Uranus, Jupiter and Neptune, sit back, look up and discover The Planets 2018.
Each new piece of music is introduced by the recorded voice of comedian Jon Culshaw (Dead Ringers, Newzoids and Spitting Image), a lifelong astronomy enthusiast and part of The Sky at Night team.
A Live Music Sculpture event produced by Sound UK. Funded by Arts Council England National Lottery and RVW Trust.
At the forefront of contemporary music since their formation in 2010, the Ligeti Quartet have established a reputation as one of the UK’s leading ensembles, breaking new ground through innovative programming and championing of today’s most exciting composers and artists. They have commissioned many new works and have collaborated with artists such as Anna Meredith, Kerry Andrew and Shabaka Hutchings. They have played at landmark venues around the world and also regularly escape the stage to play museums, pubs, galleries, and on iceberg sculptures as part of a Greenpeace campaign. The Quartet are Ensemble in Residence at Sheffield and Cambridge Universities. ligetiquartet.com
Samuel Bordoli is establishing a reputation as one of the foremost composers of his generation. His varied output continues to explore relationships between music, architecture, literature and theatre. He was appointed Composer-in-Residence at Scottish Opera in 2017. He has written chamber operas, instrumental and choral music as well as site-specific works for some the UK's most iconic landmarks including The Monument, Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral and City Hall, where he collaborated with Foster + Partners. He studied composition at the Royal Academy of Music, where he held the Mendelssohn Scholarship, and the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Samuel Bordoli founded Live Music Sculpture in 2011 with the intention of producing site-specific work for live musicians in unusual spaces. bordoli.co.uk
Mira Calix is an award-winning artist, composer and performer. Music and sound have always been at the centre of her practice, which she continues to integrate with visual media and technological innovation to create multi-disciplinary installations and performance works. Mira has been commissioned by many leading international cultural institutions, festivals and ensembles including the London Sinfonietta, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Aldeburgh Festival, the Melbourne Recital Centre, Performa, Institute of Contemporary Art, Garage MCA, National Portrait Gallery, the Manchester International Festival and The Mayor Of London among others. Mira Calix is signed to Warp Records and published by Mute Song/ Music Sales. miracalix.com
British composer Richard Bullen studied at the Royal Academy of Music with David Sawer, graduating with a PhD in 2015. His works, which have been described as 'audacious' and 'astounding', often make creative use of the performance space to heighten perception of sound and thrill the senses. He has worked with several leading new music ensembles and orchestras including LSO, London Sinfonietta, BCMG, Orkest de Ereprijs and Psappha. His music has been performed across three continents from New York to Tokyo, and broadcast on BBC radio. He is a visiting lecturer in composition at the junior departments of Trinity Laban and the Royal College of Music. His awards include a 2011 BASCA British Composer Award. composersedition.com
Yazz Ahmed is a British Bahraini trumpet and flugelhorn player. Her music, through which she seeks to blur the lines between jazz, electronic sound design and the music of her mixed heritage, has been described as ‘psychedelic Arabic jazz, intoxicating and compelling’. In recent years she has led her ensembles in concerts in the UK and internationally. Yazz has also recorded and performed with Radiohead, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, amongst others. Her 2017 critically acclaimed album, La Saboteuse (Naim), has brought her to the attention of a global audience. Yazz is supported by PRS For Music Foundation. yazzahmed.com
Singer, songwriter, cellist Ayanna Witter-Johnson is a rare exception to the rule that classical and alternative r&b music cannot successfully coexist. Since graduating with a first from both Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and the Manhattan School of Music, Ayanna participated in the London Symphony Orchestra’s Panufnik Young Composers Scheme and became an Emerging Artist in Residence at London’s Southbank Centre. She was a featured artist with Courtney Pine’s Afropeans: Jazz Warriors and became the only non-American to win Amateur Night Live at the legendary Apollo Theatre in Harlem, NYC. Since releasing her EP’s Ayanna has toured extensively in the UK and in Europe, gained a MOBO award nomination, and has been played on BBC Radio 1 & BBC 1Xtra. ayannamusic.com
Laurence Crane studied composition with Peter Nelson and Nigel Osborne at Nottingham University. His music is mainly written for the concert hall, although his output includes pieces initially composed for film, radio, theatre, dance and installation. His list of works predominantly consists of instrumental chamber and ensemble music. He has worked with many ensembles in the UK and abroad, including Apartment House (UK), Plus-Minus Ensemble (UK / Belgium), Ixion (UK), Noszferatu (UK), London Contemporary Orchestra (UK), London Sinfonietta (UK), Ives Ensemble (Netherlands), Orkest de Volharding (Netherlands), Cikada Ensemble (Norway), asamisimasa (Norway), Ensemble Kore (Canada), Quatuor Bozzini (Canada) and 175 East (New Zealand). Festivals that have presented or commissioned his work include Huddersfield (UK), Tectonics Glasgow (UK), Angelica (Bologna, Italy), Borealis (Bergen, Norway), Only Connect (Oslo, Norway), Klang (Copenhagen, Denmark) and Maerzmusik (Berlin, Germany). britishmusiccollection.org.uk
Deborah Pritchard received a British Composer Award in 2017. Her work has been broadcast by BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4, commercially released by NMC, Signum and Nimbus and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, London Sinfonietta and Philharmonia Orchestra. She is a synaesthetic composer and her violin concerto 'Wall of Water', after the paintings by Maggi Hambling, was held to critical acclaim by Gramophone as a 'work that will take ones breath away'. She studied composition with Simon Bainbridge for her MMus Degree at the Royal Academy of Music and was awarded her DPhil from Worcester College, Oxford where she studied with Robert Saxton. She teaches composition tutorials at the University of Oxford. Her work currently features in the 'Hitting the right note: Amazing Women of the Royal Academy of Music' exhibition on display at the Royal Academy of Music. nmcrec.co.uk
Shiva Feshareki is an internationally acclaimed experimental composer, NTS radio DJ and turntablist. Her diverse output explores acoustics, perspective and the sound of electricity through wide ranging practises that incorporate classical methodology. In 2017, she was honoured with the British Composer Award for Innovation from BASCA. Upcoming major works include a commission from the BBC Concert Orchestra: a brand new composition for solo turntables and orchestra to be premiered at the Queen Elizabeth Hall during The EFG London Jazz Festival (late 2018). She will also be the Featured Composer at London’s Spitalfields Festival in December 2018, where she will be showcasing another new score, revisions of ‘GABA-analogue’ and ‘O’ and a new interdisciplinary collaboration with artist Haroon Mirza. 2018 will also see the exciting release of her debut album on ‘RESIST’ as well as a special release on Ash Koosha’s new record label ‘Realms’. shivafeshareki.co.uk
ABOUT THE SCIENTISTS:
Professor Sanjeev Gupta (Mentoring: Ayanna Witter-Johnson / EARTH & Deborah Pritchard / MARS) Professor Sanjeev Gupta is a geologist at Imperial College in London. He is interested in the processes that shape landscapes and how we can reconstruct these from Deep Time records preserved in sedimentary rocks. Since 2012 he has been exploring the evolution of Mars' landscapes. Currently he works with NASA's Curiosity rover to discover if the Red Planet could ever have been habitable for life, and is excited about future explorations with the European ExoMars rover due for launch in 2020. https://www.imperial.ac.uk/people/s.gupta
Professor David Rothery (Mentoring: Mira Calix / MERCURY & Samuel Bordoli / URANUS). Professor of Planetary Geosciences, Open University. Runs planetary science course. Author of: Planets: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford Univ Press 2010), Teach Yourself Planets (Hodder, now out of print), Mercury: From Pale Pink Dot of Dynamic World (Springer, 2015). On the science team for the European Space Agency orbiter probe to Mercury (BepiColombo, launching Oct 2018,arrival Dec 2026). http://www.open.ac.uk/people/dar4
Professor Carl Murray (Yazz Ahmed / SATURN) Carl is a Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy at Queen Mary University of London. He is a planetary scientist interested in the motion of all objects in the solar system, from dust to planets, and has co-authored the standard textbook on the subject, “Solar System Dynamics”. In 1990 he was selected as a member of the camera team for the NASA/ESA Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and worked on the project until the demise of the spacecraft in September 2017. Carl is particularly interested in the dynamics of Saturn’s rings and their gravitational interaction with small moons. He is an Associate Scientist on the camera team for ESA’s forthcoming JUICE mission to Jupiter and Ganymede. In his career he has held a Royal Society University Research Fellowship, a SERC Advanced Fellowship and a PPARC Senior Research Fellowship. After obtaining his BSc and PhD from Queen Mary he worked as a postdoc at Cornell University between 1980 and 1982 before returning to a postdoc position at Queen Mary where he has remained ever since.
Dr. Philippa Mason (Shiva Feshareki / VENUS), is a field geologist who specialises in using satellite imagery to study rocks, minerals, geological structures and tectonics, on Earth and other planets. Her teaching and research at Imperial College London takes her all over the world and involves the translation of terrestrial techniques in Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) and multi-spectral imaging to assist in the understanding of geological features and processes on other Earth-like planets, such as Venus and Mars. She is currently on the Science Team of EnVision, an international UK-led mission, which will be heading to Venus in 2029, aimed at understanding why it is so different to Earth, establishing whether it is tectonically active, and if it was ever hospitable to life. http://www.imperial.ac.uk/people/p.j.mason
Dr Sheila Kanani, Education (mentor: Laurence Crane / NEPTUNE) is a planetary physicist, science presenter, secondary school physics teacher and space comedian, with a background in astrophysics and astronomy research from UK universities. Her experience includes acting as an ambassador of science, public speaking, events organisation, science journalism and school visits. Sheila is currently the Education, Outreach and Diversity officer for the Royal Astronomical Society in London. http://www.destinationspace.uk/meet-space-crew/sheila-kanani/
Dr. Leigh Fletcher (mentor: Richard Bullen / JUPITER) Royal Society University Research Fellow (URF) and Associate Professor in Planetary Sciences at the University of Leicester specialising in the exploration of planetary weather and climate using Earth-based observatories and visiting spacecraft. He earned a Natural Science degree from Cambridge, a PhD in Planetary Physics from Oxford, and has since worked as a NASA fellow at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and as a Research Fellow at Oxford. He was the recipient of the 2016 Harold C. Urey prize for outstanding achievements in planetary science by an early-career scientist, awarded by the Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society. He is a co-investigator on the Cassini mission to Saturn, the JUICE mission to Jupiter, and a passionate advocate for future exploration of the distance Ice Giants. He currently leads a planetary atmospheres team at the University of Leicester, funded by the Royal Society, STFC, and the European Research Council. You can follow his research on Twitter @LeighFletcher and his website planetaryweather.blogspot.co.uk .