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Heavenly concert on tap for Sinfonia da Camera at Krannert Center

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The next Sinfonia da Camera concert, titled "The Solar System," will offer ticketholders an opportunity to view the heavens from the Krannert Center amphitheatre through telescopes provided by the Champaign-Urbana Astronomical Society.

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1/30/2013 | Dusty Rhodes, Arts and Humanities Editor | 217-333-0568;

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Sinfonia da Camera’s next concert will feature some special guests – an assortment of telescopes aimed at the night sky, and the “meteorite that ate Detroit,” on loan from the Staerkel Planetarium. These attractions will help set the mood for a program that Sinfonia music director Ian Hobson has titled “The Solar System.”

The Feb. 16 concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts with Darius Milhaud’s “La Création du Monde,” written in 1923 after the French composer visited the United States to explore the jazz scene in Harlem. The suite of six movements, commissioned as a one-act ballet, incorporates jazz rhythms and harmonies to depict an African creation myth.

A trip from England to Spain with an astrologer friend motivated Gustav Holst to compose his 1918 masterwork “The Planets,” the second suite on the program. The seven movements, beginning with “Mars, the Bringer of War” and ending with “Neptune, the Mystic,” depict the astrological characteristics assigned to each planet.

By the time Pluto was discovered in 1930, Holst had grown to abhor the popularity of his suite and never considered adding a movement for the pint-sized Pluto. However, in 2000 (six years before Pluto was demoted to “dwarf planet” status by the International Astronomical Union), the Hallé Orchestra commissioned British composer Colin Matthews to create “Pluto, the Renewer” as an addendum to Holst’s suite. Sinfonia da Camera will conclude the evening with Matthews’ work.

Beginning at 6:40 p.m., concert ticketholders can go to the Krannert Center amphitheatre to gaze at the stars through telescopes provided by the Champaign-Urbana Astronomical Society. In the lobby, a 34-pound meteorite will be on display, and screens near Stage 5 will show video images of the solar system.

The concert in Foellinger Great Hall is the result of a collaboration with the Staerkel Planetarium, the U. of I. astronomy department, the Champaign-Urbana Astronomical Society, Bryan Dunne, Charles Gammie, Jim Kaler and David Leake. It is co-sponsored by Baymont Inn and Suites and Illini Studio.

Tickets are available through the Krannert Center ticket office, 217-333-6280.

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