Jewish composer teams up with Tim Peake for stunning space-themed musical experience

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Jewish composer teams up with Tim Peake for stunning space-themed musical experience

Out-of-this-world show on beauty of Earth from space worked on by London-born Ilan Eshkeri and the British astronaut

A Jewish composer has teamed up with British astronaut Tim Peake to create a first-of-its-kind live musical experience at the Royal Albert Hall in May, set to the stunning backdrop of space.

London-born Ilan Eshkeri and his fan Peake have worked with the European Space Agency (ESA) to create ‘Space Station Earth’, described as a “multi-media experience that allows the audience to see through the eyes of astronauts”.

With no dialogue or narration, the audience will first get a chance to ask Peake questions, before being presented with a musical performance on-stage, set to a backdrop of stunning space visuals over three giant screens, showing galaxies, the Earth as seen from orbit, and life inside the International Space Station (ISS).

Eshkeri, who spent time in a zero-gravity environment to prepare, is best known for his work on movies, composing the scores to films such as ‘Stardust’, ‘Layer Cake’, ‘Still Alice’, ‘The Young Victoria’, and Rowan Atkinson’s ‘Johnny English Reborn’.

He also scored Ralph Fiennes’ Shakespearian directorial debut Coriolanus, and has worked with Annie Lennox, Sinead O’Connor, Coldplay, and Take That.

“My music has taken to me to many unexpected and extraordinary places, but when Tim Peake got in touch to say he was a fan a door was opened to one of the most amazing and inspiring journeys of my life,” said Eshkeri.

“There are so many facts and figures about travelling to the ISS, but no-one has ever told the emotional journey that astronauts go on, a journey that has startlingly similar experiences for astronauts from all corners of the world.”

With Space Station Earth due to tour Europe, Eshkeri said he was influenced and inspired to create the show after listening to music from Kraftwerk and Jean-Michel Jarre, as well as films such as ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ and Fantasia.

The Leeds graduate, who lives in north London, said that as well as creating the music, he decided to direct the film element as well, since he “had a sense of what I wanted to achieve”, adding that the ESA “provided unprecedented access” to both footage and the mechanics of space exploration.

“I got to see rocket launches, a zero-gravity flight, and a chance to get lost in their video archive as well as the opportunity to get advice from ESA scientists and astronauts,” he said.

“At the same time, I started creating the music with synthesisers.” He soon added strings, brass, and a choir to deliver what he hopes will be a “visceral and immersive experience of going to space and looking back at our home, a journey very few have undertaken, communicated to the audience thorough pure emotion”.

The ISS (credit ESA NASA an Thomas Pesquet)

The evening mixes film of ISS life from astronauts like Peake, who shot it with cutting-edge technology. “This mostly never-before-seen footage will be projected across three massive screens with a light show,” Eshkeri said.

Peake said: “There aren’t many words that can truly describe the beauty of seeing Earth from space. But Space Station Earth attempts to do this, using music and video, to capture the emotion of human spaceflight and exploration.”

The International Space Station was built by five partner space agencies in a programme that now involves scientists from more than 15 countries, making it the world’s largest international cooperative program in science and technology.

Live at Stockholm KulturFestival 2019

It has been permanently occupied by people from these countries for more than 20 years and has been described as “a pinnacle of human achievement and a beacon of hope that is a testament to what we can achieve when we work together”.

Organisers said that living on the space station “you realise that if you don’t look after the vessel you are travelling in and you don’t look after your fellow travellers, you won’t survive the journey,” adding: “When you look down upon Earth, you realise that the same is true.”

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