An out-of-this-world collaboration of music, science and visual effects will fuse when the story creator and artists of the science fiction film Interstellar will present a star-studded event with UCF musicians April 9 at the UCF Celebrates the Arts festival.
The multimedia performance, The Warped Side of the Universe, will feature composer and multi-Grammy winner Hans Zimmer, theoretical physicist Kip Thorne, and visual-effects artist and multi-Academy Award winner Paul Franklin as they weave phenomena into their show from space and time, such as supernova explosions and recently discovered gravitational waves that reach Earth. The evening will be experienced through music, video simulations, poetry and prose.
Joining in the performance at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts will be the musicians now on tour with Zimmer in Europe and a UCF string quartet. This is the first time Zimmer, Thorne and Franklin have come together to present this production.
“Many artists are motivated by science,” said Costas Efthimiou, a UCF associate professor of physics who knows Thorne and was instrumental in asking him to be a part of the April 8-16 festival. “I tried to think of a topic that would allow us to create an event in which both sides – scientist and artists – could be part of.”
Thorne, science advisor for Interstellar, is a professor emeritus at California Institute of Technology, and is known for his contributions in gravitational physics and astrophysics. The UCF performance is built on his friendship with Zimmer and Franklin, and their collaboration on director Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster movie starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway and Michael Caine.
“I hope that the movie Interstellar inspires viewers to appreciate the beauty and power of science, and stimulates them to go learn more about this marvelous universe in which we live,” said Thorne, who hopes one day to view Earth from space.
Zimmer, who will conduct the music for The Warped Side of the Universe, is one of the most successful film composers of all time. He has also created the music for more than 150 films, including The Lion King, the Pirates of the Caribbean series, Gladiator, Rain Main, The Last Emperor, Inception, The Dark Knight Trilogy, and Driving Miss Daisy.
Zimmer, who used to visit the planetarium as a child to watch the stars and listen to music, has assembled a touring band that shares his love of science and discovery, such as songwriter and guitarist Michael Einziger of the band Incubus, who studied the history of science at Harvard, and violinist Ann Marie Simpson, who has taught college conceptual physics and chemistry and has performed with Mick Jagger, Pharrell Williams and Ringo Starr.
Franklin, who has created visual effects for more 30 films – including Inception and Interstellar, both of which brought him Academy Awards – will help bridge science and music at the UCF Celebrates the Arts performance.
Also on stage will be a quartet comprised of one UCF graduate student and three faculty members, including Chung Park, UCF director of orchestras.
Park said UCF is just the place to present this kind of exploratory performance combining STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and the arts.
“This is exactly the kind of place it could work well. If it’s going to work anywhere, it’s going to work here,” he said. “Everyone is so STEM, STEM, STEM these days, but at UCF we know we need to add some art to that.”
Park will play viola for the evening, along with faculty members Ayako Yonetani on violin and Laurel Stanton on cello, and graduate student Iryna Usova on second violin.
The Warped Side of the Universe will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 9, as one of the many events presented at UCF Celebrates the Arts, which is all free and open to the public. Tickets are required for all performances, but no more advance tickets are available for this show. Anyone hoping to obtain tickets for this performance should register for a hall pass and wait in line before the performance. Seats not claimed by ticketholders 10 minutes before the show may become available at the discretion of the floor manager.
More than 1,000 university students, 100 faculty members and some collaborative programs with outside partners will showcase theatre, dance, orchestra, choirs, big band, chamber music, cabaret, concert bands, opera, visual arts, studio art, gaming, animation, photography and film.
This is part of a series of stories about the April 8-16 events at UCF Celebrates the Arts 2016. All events are free, but tickets are required for performances and entrance into the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, 445 S. Magnolia Ave., Orlando. Ticketing and full schedule details are posted at https://arts.cah.ucf.edu/.