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Stanford New Ensemble: Vela 6911


Friday, March 6, 2015 7:30PM
Dinkelspiel Auditorium


 








New music with new instruments featuring:

STANFORD NEW ENSEMBLE
JINDONG CAI CONDUCTOR
VICTOR GAMA ACRUX, TOHA and DINO, COMPOSITION, VIDEO
DAVID GRUNZWEIG TOHA
CHRIS CHAFE CELETO
JOHN GRANDZOW DAXOPHONE
ALISON RUSH CETACANT

Vela 6911 is based on the diary of a South African Navy officer, lieutenant Lindsey Rooke, who took part in a secret nuclear weapons test conducted by the apartheid regime in 1979 off the coast of Antarctica. The test, detected by a US satellite called Vela, was the validation of a military power that engulfed the whole Southern African region in a 'cold-war' conflict in the late 70s and 80s. Her diary reveals someone in contradiction between her love for nature and the mission she was on, which left a trace of devastation, death and radioactive contamination in one of the most pristine and protected environments on earth.

The idea to compose Vela 6911 started at Stanford in 2010 when Gama was SICA Arts Visitor at the Humanities Centre. Valuable contributions towards its research phase were provided by Stanford University Libraries and the piece was subsequently commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and premiered at Harris Theatre in 2012. It was presented at the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon in 2013 and in Luanda in 2014. Vela 6911's video component was shot in Antarctica by Gama in January 2012 and all of his collection of video, photographs and various research documentation produced are now part of Stanford University Library's Archive of Recorded Sound.