Ritter Planetarium Experts Consult on Planet-Inspired Orchestral Work

March 20, 2024 | News, UToday, Natural Sciences and Mathematics
By Nicki Gorny

The University of Toledo’s Department of Physics and Astronomy consulted with composers of a planet-inspired work that the Toledo Symphony will debut March 22-23.

The new work, “…of the spheres…,” will have its world premiere during “The Planets: The Orchestra’s Guide to the Galaxy,” a celebration of the total solar eclipse that will pass over Toledo on Monday, April 8.

The Toledo Symphony commissioned the ADJ•ective Composers’ Collective to create “…of the spheres…,” continuing a multiyear history of collaboration with ADJ•ective New Music. Nine collective composers each wrote a movement based on the nine planets in the solar system.

Dr. Michael Cushing and Heidi Westrick of UToledo’s Ritter Planetarium worked with the composers to provide feedback on scientific elements of the planets that helped inspire and shape each movement. Cushing is director of the planetarium and a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Westrick is the assistant director of the planetarium.

“We have really enjoyed working with the composers of ADJ•ective New Music as they have embarked to create nine new musical renderings of our home solar system,” Cushing said. “We can’t wait to see how the composers translate the planets’ unique characteristics into music.”

The Toledo Symphony also will perform Gustav Holst’s “The Planets” during “The Planets: The Orchestra’s Guide to the Galaxy,” alongside stunning visuals from KV 265, a nonprofit arts and science education organization whose mission is the communication of science through art to communities worldwide. The National Endowment for the Arts is supporting the performance with a Grants for Arts Projects award of $20,000.

Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday, March 22, and Saturday, March 23, at the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle. For tickets or more information, go to the Toledo Alliance for the Performing Arts website.




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