Music of the Stars


Friday, March 8th at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 9th at 3 p.m.

William Herschel

Ben Carlisle
It's NOT a laser show - it's not a planetarium star show - so what is it? On Friday evening March 8 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday afternoon March 9 at 3 p.m. Mueller planetarium presents a live classical music concert in the planetarium under a starry projected sky. The concert features music composed by astronomers. The ensemble of UNL students is conducted by UNL music graduate student Ben Carlisle.

The first composer featured is the famous English 18th century astronomer William Herschel. Herschel ranks as one of the greatest observational astronomers of all time. He is best known for being the discoverer of the planet Uranus, but he is more famous among astronomers as the father of stellar and galactic astronomy. Before becoming a full-time astronomer he was a professional musician. He composed 24 symphonies and many concerti. The ensemble will be performing two of Herschel's symphonies.

Ben Carlisle says: "The most exciting aspect of performing these works of William Herschel is the directness to them one feels. These works have, quite possibly, not been performed since the 18th century. "

The concert will also include two works composed by UNL astronomer Martin Gaskell, a "Romance" for string orchestra and "The Song of the Night", and an arrangement by him of the song 'Summer Rain' composed by Russian astronomer Valya Doroshenko to words by her husband, and fellow astronomer, Yuri Efimov.

Martin Gaskell

Valya Doroshenko
"I started composing the 'Romance' on a cloudy night when I was supposed to be using one of the world's largest telescopes," says Gaskell. He adds "the story of the composition of Valya's song was worse though. Because of the economic difficulties in the former Soviet Union her observatory in the Ukraine was without electricity. If you don't have electricity you can't run the telescopes so she composed 'Summer Rain' and some other songs at the observatory by candle light!"

Commenting on the program, Mueller Planetarium Coordinator Jack Dunn says, "The lighting and display capabilities of a planetarium offer many artistic possibilities . . . playing various types of music in the planetarium have always been popular, but this is the first time we've had a live chamber orchestra in the planetarium."

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