Amanda Lee Falkenberg's latest album is out of this world


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Amanda Lee Falkenberg with Marin Alsop/The London Symphony Orchestra & The London Voices — The Moons Symphony (Signum)

New Classical Tracks - Amanda Lee Falkenberg

Amanda Lee Falkenberg is an Australian-born composer and pianist who lives in Dubai. Five years ago she took a leap of faith that led to the creation of a choral symphony that merges science and art. After a random email to a NASA scientist, which opened an entire universe of possibilities, she started work on her latest album, The Moon Symphony, featuring Marin Alsop conducting the London Symphony Orchestra, and the London Voices.

Can you talk about the article that started this project?

“I instantly went, ‘Oh my goodness! These moons are not weird. They're absolutely wonderful and I need to change their course.’ I felt like after reading the article I just wanted to break them free and give them a voice. Knowing the power of music and being a film composer let me understand the persuasive and powerful qualities that music has more than any other art form. It can really manipulate the emotional landscape. It was so clear to me that that's what I wanted to do with these moons.”

Why is it important for you to merge science and art?

“I just couldn't ignore it. I felt like science was tapping me on the shoulder saying, ‘Hey, can we be part of this moon adventure with you?’ At that point, I wasn't planning on having a choir, but I thought if I did get the choir involved it would give more relevance and outreach and could really house the science better.”

Which of these moons or movements presented the greatest challenge for you?

“Titan. I had a field day choosing the science of that moon because of all the recent discoveries, and because of the legendary Cassini–Huygens space-research mission by NASA. One of the challenging moments was when I had been composing nonstop for seven days, and I remember just listening back to what I had come up with. I don't like it at all. I scrapped everything. I just literally deleted it.

“The moon Miranda of Uranus was a challenge for different reasons. I felt the most emotionally affected by her meaning. I just got so involved in her world. I remember feeling like I was living in a nightmare. I just wanted to beam myself out of it because it just was so dark, scary and violent.

“That's when I found the story of the seventh moon. I thought, ‘Oh, my goodness! This is what's missing from my symphony. The seventh story. Why don't we position Earth's moon, our moon, in this storytelling?’ It’s something to remind us that we actually do have a home in the solar system and it was the moon Miranda's story that brought me to that inspiration.”

To hear the rest of my conversation, click on the extended interview above, or download the extended podcast on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.

More on Amanda Lee Falkenberg


Amanda Lee Falkenberg with Marin Alsop/The London Symphony Orchestra & The London Voices — The Moons Symphony (Presto music)

Amanda Lee Falkenberg with Marin Alsop/The London Symphony Orchestra & The London Voices — The Moons Symphony (Amazon)

Amanda Lee Falkenberg (official site)

349 episodes