COSMIC DUST FOR ORCHESTRA
We physicists explain the universe. What Russell did is to convey how we feel about the universe.
Dr. Mario Livio, Senior Astrophysicist, Space Telescope Science Institute
Cosmic Dust is a shimmering, powerful work filled with great beauty and energy. The orchestras I worked with and their audiences loved it, both with the visuals and without. The piece comes together quickly but at the same time is full of great ideas for the orchestra.
Jed Gaylin, Artistic Director, Bay Atlantic Symphony
Purchase Cosmic Dust Score $15 Rent Cosmic Dust Orchestra Parts $250 (3 performances)
COSMIC DUST—14 minutes, with optional projected slide show of images from the Hubble Space Telescope
Scored for picc, 2fl, 2ob, 2cl, 2bsn, 2hn, 2tpt, 3tbn, 1perc (wind chimes, glock, susp cym, triangle, tamb, wood block, snare drum), timpani, strings
Press for Cosmic Dust:
Celebrating 25 Years of the Hubble Space Telescope Science News Magazine
Star-struck: Hubble Telescope Inspires Symphony Hopkins Gazette
The Aural Astronaut Argonaut News
Composer makes new music to honor mentors, friends Jewish Journal
Consortium commission with the New West Symphony, Thousand Oaks, CA; the Hopkins Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore, MD; and the Bay Atlantic Symphony, New Jersey
Recent performances: Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, Rudolfinum Theater in Prague, and MuTh Hall in Vienna
For Slide Show Rental, email email@example.com or call 818-903-2022
People crowded into Shriver Hall at Johns Hopkins University to hear“Cosmic Dust,” an orchestral piece set to images of deep space.A trumpet fanfare conveyed the immense power of an exploding star; a cascade from the violins accompanied the flights of comets.
SCIENCE NEWS April 7, 2015
Whether you live in a major city or remote hamlet, at night you probably still look up at the sky in search of stars. We were all child stargazers, and that wonder we first experienced is what I was after in Cosmic Dust. Nowadays, the Hubble Space Telescope provides images and discoveries that stretch the limits of our imagination. Even when it points at what seems an empty patch of space, it catches the light of over 3,000 galaxies formed at the beginning of the universe! These revelations make the heavens seem even more impossibly beyond human scale and understanding.
But when I heard Rabbi Harold Schulweis talking about mortality, he added a new perspective to our fascination with astronomy. We lament that we are but dust (we say “ashes to ashes, dust to dust”), yet we must remember, he challenged, dust is not only the stuff of earth, but of stars as well. We ourselves come from stars—we are literally stardust, part of this eternal cosmic pageant. So we look up at night because we are drawn to our own origins. We gaze ultimately... at ourselves.
Cosmic Dust is a single movement in four continuous sections:
Magic Sky, Shooting Stars, Interstellar Dust, and Nova.
In Magic Sky, I ask the strings to play harmonics (“star music”). They create high bell-like tones by touching the fingers of their left hand very lightly on the instruments. In Shooting Stars, the strings use another effect called ricochet where they throw the bow against the string, almost like skipping rocks over water. This section also features the timpani in more dramatic music. Interstellar Dust takes its inspiration from those incredibly colorful nebulae revealed by telescopes. You’ll hear strings, woodwinds, and brass, each play different chords crossfading between each other. The calm inner part of this section features a violin solo. The final section—Nova—gathers the material from all the previous “star” music and bursts forth in a joyful final fanfare.