Look up: Ars Nova Singers present planetarium concerts this weekend

March 2, 2015
Photo: Fiske Planetarium for Ars Nova Singers concert
An image from inside the Fiske Planetarium on the University of Colorado-Boulder campus.

The 40-voice Ars Nova Singers look skyward this weekend as they present a choral concert in Boulder’s Fiske Planetarium.

"Out of This World: A Choral Odyssey" will feature cosmic visuals projected onto the planetarium dome accompanying music by composers like Arvo Part, Meredith Monk, Philip Glass and Gyorgy Ligeti.

Picking music to complement the massive visual elements proved to be an exciting challenge, Ars Nova Artistic Director Thomas Edward Morgan said.

“We had to give a fair amount of thought and consideration to foreground and background, finding some music that can be an atmospheric accompaniment to the sky show, and other pieces that can come forward and command the audience’s attention,” he said.

Photo: Ars Nova Singers looking up
Boulder's Ars Nova Singers

“So overall it’s more than just a concert and more than just a live soundtrack to this amazing sky show, really a combination of this visual feast of vast universe with the intimacy of the human voice.”

The Boulder-based choir also picked out some pieces directly inspired by astronomy, like Latvian composer Eriks Esenvald’s “Stars.” The score calls for several of the singers to also play tuned crystal water glasses, Morgan said.

“It’s quite a lovely and interesting effect,” he said.

Performances are set for 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday and 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Sunday at the Fiske Planetarium on the University of Colorado campus in Boulder.