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.
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