NASA Photos Featured in Orchestra Concert

POTSDAM - The Orchestra of Northern New York will combine music, science and original animation at its next concert when it performs Gustav Holst's The Planets to the accompaniment of visuals featuring NASA photography and images from roving spacecraft.

Concerts are 7:30 pm, Saturday, March 18 and 3:00 pm, Sunday, March 19 in SUNY Potsdam's Snell Theater. A pre-concert lecture will take place 45 minutes before each concert begins with music director Kenneth Andrews and Adrian Wyard, the Seattle-based visual artist, who created "The Planets Live," the visual accompaniment to Holst's The Planets.

The multi-media presentation features original animations and NASA images that are cued live to follow the conductor. The visuals faithfully reflect the spirit of each movement as they evolve bar by bar, making them true accompaniments. This approach allows the imagery to add a new dimension to the experience while Holst's music retains center stage.

Wyard is a former designer and program manager at Microsoft. He has over 20 years experience working in digital media, including computer graphics, photography, and videography as well as software design. He also has a Master's degree in the history of science from Oxford University, and has long appreciated classical music and been an enthusiastic supporter of space exploration.

While many of the visuals are original animations, everything shown has some basis in fact and has as its source data from telescopes, orbiting spacecraft, or rovers on the planets' surfaces. Source images, video and computer modeling are courtesy of NASA, JPL-Caltech, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Goddard Space Flight Center, The Space Telescope Science Institute, Lunar and Planetary Institute, Malin Space Science Systems, and The Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona, among others.

The concert opens with Strauss' Also Sprach Zaathustra, Op. 30 which was used as the introduction to 2001: A Space Odyssey followed by John Williams' The Imperial March from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.

Also featured on the first half of the program will be cellist Hannah Sohn, 15, the winner of the 2017 Young Artist Instrumentalist Competition sponsored by ONNY and held in January. From Clifton Park, NY, she will perform Saint-Saens' Cello Concerto No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 33 from memory.

The second half of the program highlights The Planets: Mars, the Bringer of War; Venus, the Bringer of Peace; Mercury, the Winged Messenger; Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity; Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age; Uranus, the Magician; and Neptune, the Mystic.

Tickets for the concert are $22 adults, $18 seniors and military personnel, $5 for students, ages 6-17, and college students with I.D.

For tickets or more information, call 315-267-2277 or visit