In partnership with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, National Philharmonic (NatPhil) presents the world premiere of Cosmic Cycles, A Space Symphony by composer Henry Dehlinger of Oakton. Dehlinger’s space-themed music will reach audiences across the area with performances on Thursday, May 11 at 7:30 p.m. at Capital One Hall and Saturday, May 13 at 8:00 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore. Tickets are currently on sale at nationalphilharmonic.org.
“I am very excited for this program, which brings together two of our favorite collaborators: NASA Goddard and my dear friend Henry Dehlinger,” said NatPhil Music Director Piotr Gajewski, who will conduct both concerts. “We look forward to this third premiere, which we commissioned from him. The extraordinary visuals from NASA Goddard will make the experience even more magical and enveloping for those in attendance.”
Cosmic Cycles, A Space Symphony is a seven-movement symphonic suite that draws inspiration from images captured by NASA's Hubble and James Webb Space Telescopes and visualizations created by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Each movement carries a programmatic title, alluding to the images, illustrations, and videos which informed the composer’s writing process: 1. The Sun; 2. Earth, Our Home; 3. Earth as Art; 4. The Moon; 5. Planetary Fantasia; 6. The Travelers; and 7. Echoes of the Big Bang. In the performances, these symphonic poems will be paired with HD projections of the visuals.
“Cosmic Cycles is a dream project because it bridges the gap between art and science,” Dehlinger said. “Together with two of D.C.’s biggest stars—NASA and NatPhil—we’re taking the audience on an exploration of the universe through an immersive experience that combines symphonic music and visual storytelling.”
Like with Dehlinger, NatPhil’s partnership with NASA Goddard has developed over the past seasons. Their most recent collaboration, Holst’s The Planets in February 2022, was also presented at Capital One Hall and Strathmore. Other projects included Journey Through Space with NASA in 2021 and Cosmic Designs in 2018. These programs centered imagery around existing compositions; the upcoming program, however, flips that around as Dehlinger’s Cosmic Cycles, A Space Symphony was created to existing images from space.
On May 11 and 13, NatPhil and NASA Goddard will also host educational and engagement pre-concert activities in the lobbies of Capital One Hall and Strathmore. These offerings include a lecture from a real-life NASA astronaut, “ask as scientist” booths corresponding to movements in Dehlinger’s new symphonic suite, and a touchable lunar rock.
The world premiere of Cosmic Cycles is supported by World Premiere Feature Sponsor Northrop Grumman, with additional support from The Mather, Carole Taylor & George Roll, and TTR Sotheby’s International Realty.
About the Composer
San Francisco-born Henry Dehlinger is an American composer known for his choral and symphonic works. He is described as “a master of myriad styles” in a review by Gramophone and as “one of the most successful practitioners of polystylism, a distinctly 21st-century musical style” in a profile by musicologist James Melo.
This 2022-23 season, Dehlinger is collaborating with NASA on creative projects that bridge the gap between art and science. Notable among them is Cosmic Cycles, A Space Symphony, a suite of seven symphonic poems inspired by images of space, and Return to the Moon, A Fanfare to Artemis, a powerful anthem that marked the rollout of the main launch vehicle of NASA’s Artemis lunar program. Live performances are accompanied by an HD screening of stunning images captured by the Hubble and Webb Space Telescopes and groundbreaking new visualizations created by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
In addition to his choral and symphonic works, Dehlinger has a celebrated body of art songs, chamber works, and jazz arrangements.
NASA Astronaut Lecture and Q&A: 6:45 p.m. at Capital One Hall and 7 p.m. at Strathmore
Ask a Scientist Booths: pre-concert and intermission at both locations
Lunar Kiosk: pre-concert and intermission at both locations
NASA Merchandise Sales: pre-concert and intermission at Strathmore
Tickets ($19–$99) are available online at nationalphilharmonic.org. Kids 17 and under can attend National Philharmonic performances for free through the All Kids. All Free. All the Time. initiative.