During GAM 2013, Matthew Whitehouse will be presenting a video version of  "Mauna Kea" featuring images to highlight the music. Join the live event on CosmoQuest 5 April at 18:00 - 18:30 UT

"Mauna Kea" is the final movement of Matthew Whitehouse's new organ work Pleiades Visions. Pleiades Visions takes inspiration from traditional music and mythology associated with the Pleiades (Seven Sisters) star cluster from Australian Aboriginal, Native American, and Native Hawaiian cultures.

Mauna Kea Matthew

Image: Night view from the summit of Mauna Kea, with the Pleiades visible up and to the right of the moon.


"Mauna Kea" creates a dramatic musical landscape reflecting the immensity of Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano on the Big Island of Hawai’i.  Mauna Kea is the site of a major astronomical observatory, and its summit is the highest point in the Pacific Ocean basin.  Mauna Kea is in fact a larger mountain than Mt. Everest, though much of the mountain is situated underneath the ocean’s surface.  “Mauna Kea” is also a narrative journey through sequence of images depicted by the opening lines of the Kumulipo, a Hawaiian creation chant.  The overall trajectory of “Mauna Kea” reflects the building cosmological drama, evoking the creation of the world, in the chant text.


Artist bio:
Matthew Whitehouse is an organist, composer, and educator fascinated in combining music and astronomy.  His organ piece Nebulae, a musical journey through the process of star formation, has been performed throughout the United States, and at Notre Dame Cathedral and St. Sulpice Church in Paris.  His latest work, Pleiades Visions, is based on traditional music and lore associated with the Pleiades from Australian Aboriginal, Native American, and Native Hawaiian cultures.  Matthew holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from The University of Arizona, and is involved in several astronomy outreach programs in the Tucson area.  His Astronomers Without Borders survey project on traditional music associated with the night sky and celestial objects is in final preparations for launch.

One of Matthew's passions is incorporating music in astronomy education. He has developed music/astronomy activities for children, and his article "Creative Teaching with Astronomically Inspired Music" appeared in the Spring 2012 issue of Mercury, the journal of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.  Other interests include interactive music/astronomy performances and connections between indigenous astronomy and traditional music.  More information on Matthew can be found at his website.


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