Celestial Dance for orchestra with video projection by Bill Alves

Through my interest in the famous seventeenth-century astronomer Johannes Kepler, I came across the remarkable work he had done with tiling patterns, that is, the mathematical ways in which regular shapes can fit together to completely cover a surface. These explorations were not at all divorced from his work with astronomy, for Kepler was a part of a dying tradition of unity of music, arts, and science which extended back to the classical Greeks. This tradition perceived the beauty of the natural world through graceful patterns of numbers and tones, of geometry and planets, all dancing to the same exquisite choreography. The video animation, which was composed in tandem with the music, includes some of Kepler's tiling patterns, just as the patterns of the music fit together in audible tessalations.

In the spirit of embracing the humanistic unity of arts, culture, and the natural sciences, this piece was dedicated to the people of Harvey Mudd College on the occasion of its fiftieth anniversary.

Duration: 11:10
Instrumentation: 2/2/2/2 4/2/2/1 4 perc. hp cel (or synth) strings

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Updated on February 28, 2006 by Bill Alves (alves @ hmc.edu ).