Houston Symphony gives 'The Cosmos' a voice

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- On Thursday night, The Houston Symphony will present the world premiere of "The Cosmos: An HD Odyssey." It is a wonderful collaboration of the symphony's live performance set to pictures of the most far away places in space taken by state-of- the-art cameras, including the Hubble Space Telescope.

This is the third part of a trilogy of space-related performances featuring the Houston Symphony and the very newest images of space and Earth. The first one was called "The Planets," the second one was called "Earth." Both later became top selling DVD's.

This idea was a sparked by NASA astronaut John Grunsfeld, who worked with both the Mars Rover and Hubble Telescope. It's a unique idea for our unique city.

Symphony CEO Mark Hanson said, "He suggested that the Houston Symphony needed to get its hands on cutting edge, high-definition imagery that John had never seen a symphony orchestra introduce and pair it with music."

Planetary geologist and documentary producer Duncan Copp, who is based in London, went to NASA to get the very best pictures taken by the Hubble space telescope and also to the Solar Dynamics Observatory in California for its satellite images of our sun.

"There's a synergy with the music," said Copp, "We always have a sort of golden rule that the pictures must not outshine the music and the music must not outshine the pictures. They have to work together."

But, it's not just images captured in space that make the production shine. "Cosmos" also features images taken by one lone photographer here on Earth. And Eyewitness News went to Australia to watch him work. Alex Cherney does a lot of research, and then waiting to nail the perfect image.

"I am by myself most of the times," said Cherney. "But, I'm never bored under the stars. It's impossible."

"It's like choreography," Copp adds, "you have to wait for consolations and stars to rise and set and planets and moons also, the moon also to rise and set. So there's this whole dance that's going on that Alex seems to encapsulate so well in his work."

The pictures are edited live to match the musicians performance at Jones Hall each night. Maestro Andres Orozco-Estrada says it's quite an amazing piece of art. The featured music is Dvoák's Symphony No. 9, From the New World, and Lutosawski's virtuosic Concerto for Orchestra.

Said Orozco-Estrada, "Every single second of music and you will discover a lot of supernovas and new planets, and every measure is full of, really a complete universe. It's like a great big cosmos."

The show begins Thursday night. Tickets start at $35 and are still on sale at Jones Hall. The performances go through Sunday May 29.

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