[ASC-list] Musical tribute to Galileo - Canberra, 4 March

Helen Sim Helen.Sim at csiro.au
Sun Feb 22 03:30:37 UTC 2009

Media contact:
Sue Nelson, Quick Thinking Communications
0403 343 275
sue at qtcommunications.com

Time: 8pm, Wednesday 4 March 2009
Place:  National Press Club of Australia, 16 National Circuit,  
Barton, ACT.
Cost: FREE, but bookings are essential:  02 6249 1788 or  
assa.secretariat at anu.edu.au

Music, spoken word and images will blend in an homage to pioneering  
scientist Galileo Galilei on Wednesday 4 March at the National Press  
Club in Canberra to celebrate the International Year of Astronomy.

"Harmonious Revolutions: Galileo & the Music of the Spheres" will  
feature Renaissance and Baroque music performed on period instruments  
by the ensemble Consort Astræa, featuring some of Australia's finest  
exponents of this music.

The program of early baroque treasures will be interlaced with  
narrative selected from the writings of both Galileo and his father  
Vincenzo, accompanied by celestial images from astrophotographer  
David Malin.

Galileo and Vincenzo were both revolutionaries, radically shifting  
the ground in their respective fields of science and music. Galileo  
pioneered the use of the telescope in astronomy and his observations  
nailed in place the new, sun-centred view of the solar system while  
his father Vincenzo's ideas lead directly to the birth of opera and  
the creation of a more expressive style in music, which we now call  

The list of composers in the program is a who's who of the musical  
ferment of the day, including Galileo's brother Michelagnolo, their  
father Vincenzo and the radical circle of musical philosophers he  
helped to found: the Florentine Camerata (which included Peri,  
Caccini and Cavalieri). The program will include pieces from their  
1589 incarnation of the Music of the Spheres (intermezzo La  
Pellagrina), as well as other gems by Monteverdi, Kapsperger, Boesset  
and Gabrieli.

This is the debut event for Consort Astraea, featuring some of  
Australia's finest period musicians: Louisa Hunter-Bradley (soprano),  
Julia Freddersdorf (baroque violin), Miriam Morris (viola da gamba),  
Laura Vaughan (viola da gamba), Ruth Wilkinson (viola da gamba), and  
artistic director Andrew Byrne (lute, theorbo).

“The ancient blend of music and cosmology is echoed in the  
achievements of both Vincenzo Galilei and his son, Galileo,” says  
lutenist and artistic director Andrew Byrne. “Scholars now think that  
Vincenzo's distrust of authority and belief in original  
experimentation directly influenced Galileo, his eldest son.”

Dr John Beaton, Executive Director of the National Academies Forum,  
which is sponsoring the performance, says, “In Galileo's day,  
thinkers used musical concepts to describe and explain the world.  
Science and music were linked in a philosophical way which they  
aren't now. But this event brings them back together.”

"Harmonious Revolutions: Galileo & the Music of the Spheres" is  
sponsored by the National Academies Forum and forms part of  
Universities Australia's Inaugural Higher Education Conference.

The International Year of Astronomy 2009 is the 400th anniversary of  
Galileo turning a telescope to the heavens. It is a celebration of  
the science, history and cultural impact of astronomy, and of  
humanity's common heritage of the night sky. IYA is coordinated  
globally by the International Astronomical Union and endorsed by the  
United Nations.

For more details of IYA events, see www.astronomy2009.org.au .

Helen Sim
Public Relations and Media Liaison
CSIRO Australia Telescope National Facility (email: Helen.Sim at csiro.au)
Anglo-Australian Observatory (email: hsim at aao.gov.au)

Single Point of Contact (SPOC) in Australia for the 2009  
International Year of Astronomy

Tel: +61-2-9372-4251
Mob: +61-419-635-905

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