Thursday, March 7th, 2024 @ 6:00:pm
National Philharmonic resumes its 2021-22 season with two performances of Holst’s The Planets, an original multimedia program presented in collaboration with NASA Goddard Flight Center. Led by Music Director Piotr Gajewski, the concerts take place on February 6 at Strathmore and February 13 at Capital One Hall.
Holst’s The Planets features music that evokes the natural world and beyond, as well as celebrates the beauty of Earth and its surrounding planets. First in the program is Claude Debussy’s La Mer, a masterpiece comprised of three symphonic sketches inspired by the composer’s love of the sea. Considered a supreme achievement in orchestral literature, La Mer creates magical soundscapes through shimmering colors and impressionistic moods.
Next in the program is Gustav Holst’s The Planets, a seven-movement orchestral suite that resulted from the composer’s fascination with astrology and the cosmos. The music depicts our solar system, with each movement titled after a planet known at the time (1914-16) along with a description of that planet’s character.
Building on National Philharmonic’s previous collaborations with NASA Goddard (2018 and 2021), Holst’s The Planets combines art and science by pairing images from space, some new, with performances of La Mer and The Planets. The program also features narrations by NASA Scientists Dr. Gina DiBraccio and Dr. Geronimo L. Villanueva. All multimedia elements, including the narrations, will be projected onstage to complement the music.
In addition, National Philharmonic will enhance the presentations with audience-engagement activities in the lobbies of Strathmore and Capital One Hall. These activities include NOAA’s Science On a Sphere®, an exhibit featuring a giant globe that displays planetary data such as atmospheric storms, climate change, and ocean temperature; and a pre-performance lecture designed for kids and featuring a NASA astronaut.
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