Orchestras mark 50 years since Apollo 11 moon landing

Posted on: July 16, 2019

On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon, and many orchestras are celebrating the 50th anniversary of that day with space-themed concerts and events. The Houston Symphony’s annual patriotic program on July 4 saluted NASA and commemorated the anniversary of the Apollo moon landing with music including Johns Adams’s Short Ride in a Fast Machine and Bill Conti’s music from the film The Right Stuff; also appearing at the event was retired NASA employee Bill Davidson. Boston Landmarks Orchestra will present “A Symphonic Space Odyssey” at the Hatch Shell on July 17, featuring orchestral music inspired by space, paired with visuals from the planetarium at Boston’s Museum of Science. Other orchestras and organizations marking the Apollo 11 landing include the Colorado Symphony’s “Lunar Landing 50th Anniversary Celebration,” with music by John Williams (July 20); the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s “America in Space” program at the Hollywood Bowl (Aug. 15); Carnegie Hall’s music and multimedia presentation “We Chose To Go to the Moon” with Mark and Kali Armstrong, Neil Armstrong’s son and granddaughter (July 16); the Pacific Symphony’s world premiere of Michael Daugherty’s To the New World celebrating the anniversary of the moon landing (April 11); the National Symphony Orchestra’s collaborative presentation with NASA, “Apollo 11: A 50th Anniversary Celebration—One Small Step, One Giant Leap” at Kennedy Center Concert Hall with guests including singer/songwriter Pharrell Williams and a new commission by Michael Giacchino and new video featuring David Bowie (July 20); a Boston Pops program featuring U.S. Navy officer Sunita L. Williams narrating From the Earth to the Moon and Beyond composed by James Beckel to  commemorate the moon landing (May 8); and the San Francisco Symphony’s “Out of This World—A Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing,” featuring film music by John Williams and a “moon songs” medley with vocalist Tiffany Austin, hosted by retired NASA astronaut Leland D. Melvin (July 19).

Posted July 16, 2019