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Houston Matters

Concert Celebrates Houston’s Space History Through Music

Cosmic Beginnings, the first concert of the 2018 Texas Music Festival, features music from The Planets, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and space-themed art cars.

The sunrise scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey, which is set to the iconic Richard Strauss piece, Also sprach Zarathustra. The composition is one of several space-themed selections being performed at the 2018 Texas Music Festival’s opening concert, Cosmic Beginnings.

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When you think of Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, you might think of a few things. Maybe it's the ominous, black monolith that intrigues a group of prehistoric primates.

Or maybe it’s the cold, chilling voice of the ship’s computer, HAL 9000, as he explains why he won't open the pod bay doors.

Or perhaps you remember the majestic fanfare that plays as we see the sunrise from space.

That fanfare is part of the iconic Richard Strauss composition Also sprach Zarathustra, one of the pieces that will be featured in Cosmic Beginnings, the first concert at this year’s Texas Music Festival at the University of Houston. The concert takes place Saturday, June 9, at 7:30 p.m. at the Moores School of Music.

The concert also features Gustav's Holst famous suite, The Planets, rounding out a celebration of Houston's designation as Space City.

Ahead of the performance, Houston Matters producer Joshua Zinn spoke with conductor Franz Anton Krager about the music, trumpeter Megan Wade about her family's NASA connections, director of the Rice Space Institute (and special concert VIP) David Alexander about intersections of space and art, and local art car owner Ruth Sosa Bailey, whose space-themed car Imagine will be on display outside the Moores Opera House before the concert.

  • The Immanuel and Helen Olshan Texas Music Festival was founded in 1990 to provide young professional musicians with a challenging musical environment in which to develop skills in orchestral, chamber music, and solo performance. (Photo Credit: Jeff Grass )
    The Immanuel and Helen Olshan Texas Music Festival was founded in 1990 to provide young professional musicians with a challenging musical environment in which to develop skills in orchestral, chamber music, and solo performance. (Photo Credit: Jeff Grass )
  • Donald Wade, an engineer at NASA's Johnson Space Center during the Apollo era. His granddaughter, trumpeter Megan Wade, will perform in the 2018 Texas Music Festival's space-themed concert, Cosmic Beginnings. (Photo Credit: Courtesy - Megan Wade)
    Donald Wade, an engineer at NASA's Johnson Space Center during the Apollo era. His granddaughter, trumpeter Megan Wade, will perform in the 2018 Texas Music Festival's space-themed concert, Cosmic Beginnings. (Photo Credit: Courtesy - Megan Wade)
  • A model of the Soyuz Space Capsule, worked on by Donald Wade, an engineer at NASA's Johnson Space Center during the Apollo era. His granddaughter, trumpeter Megan Wade, will perform in the 2018 Texas Music Festival's space-themed concert, Cosmic Beginnings. (Photo Credit: Courtesy - Megan Wade)
    A model of the Soyuz Space Capsule, worked on by Donald Wade, an engineer at NASA's Johnson Space Center during the Apollo era. His granddaughter, trumpeter Megan Wade, will perform in the 2018 Texas Music Festival's space-themed concert, Cosmic Beginnings. (Photo Credit: Courtesy - Megan Wade)
  • Randy Wade, an electrical engineer at NASA's Johnson Space Center. His daughter, trumpeter Megan Wade, will perform in the 2018 Texas Music Festival's space-themed concert, Cosmic Beginnings. (Photo Credit: Courtesy - Megan Wade)
    Randy Wade, an electrical engineer at NASA's Johnson Space Center. His daughter, trumpeter Megan Wade, will perform in the 2018 Texas Music Festival's space-themed concert, Cosmic Beginnings. (Photo Credit: Courtesy - Megan Wade)
  • The "Imagine" art car, created by Ruth Sosa Bailey, will be on display at Cosmic Beginnings, the first concert of the 2018 Texas Music Festival at the University of Houston. (Photo Credit: Courtesy - Ruth Sosa Bailey)
    The "Imagine" art car, created by Ruth Sosa Bailey, will be on display at Cosmic Beginnings, the first concert of the 2018 Texas Music Festival at the University of Houston. (Photo Credit: Courtesy - Ruth Sosa Bailey)