December 11, 2014
Senior Director, Communications
Andrés Orozco-Estrada Conducting The Earth—An HD Odyssey
THE EARTH—AN HD ODYSSEY, ANDRÉS OROZCO-ESTRADA’S FIRST RECORDING WITH THE HOUSTON SYMPHONY, IS RELEASED ON DVD AND BLU-RAY
The Houston Symphony and acclaimed Producer Duncan Copp’s second installment of the multimedia HD Odyssey film trilogy features music by John Adams and Richard Strauss paired with stunning HD NASA imagery
The Earth–An HD Odyssey is available for viewing between now through January 31, 2015, on select United Airlines flights as part of the in-flight entertainment lineup
HOUSTON (December 11, 2014)—From the home city of manned spaceflight, the Houston Symphony announced today that it has released The Earth—An HD Odyssey on DVD and Blu-ray. The Earth—An HD Odyssey is the highly anticipated second installment of the Symphony’s groundbreaking HD Odyssey film trilogy and Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada’s first recording release with the Houston Symphony. This DVD/Blu-ray release follows the world premiere live performance of The Earth—An HD Odyssey in February of 2012 at Jones Hall.
Developed in conjunction with Duncan Copp, celebrated documentary filmmaker of projects for BBC, PBS/Nova and National Geographic, The Earth—An HD Odyssey uses the timeless music of American composer John Adams’ Short Ride in a Fast Machine and Richard Strauss’ epic tone poem Also sprach Zarathustra (featured in 2001: A Space Odyssey) as a musical accompaniment for striking, high-definition video and images of Earth from NASA’s shuttle missions, the International Space Station and satellites orbiting Earth. In the live concert version, these incredible images are projected on a large screen over the stage as the orchestra performs the musical score live to tell an awe-inspiring story of our home planet’s land, sea and sky.
“In just 40 minutes, you can experience a whole plethora of emotions,” said film producer Duncan Copp. “You can sense the frenetic final seconds before a launch and the crackling thrust which punches you through a tentative atmosphere into unimaginable blackness. You can drift over cyan oceans of belittling immensity and mountain ranges of epic grandeur. You can witness the violent power of tropical storms and huge thunder clouds in tranquil silence. You can see more than most see in a lifetime. You can experience all these things in just 40 minutes; half the time it takes to revolve once around the Earth.”
The Earth—An HD Odyssey DVD and Blu-ray are available online at www.houstonsymphony.org and at the Houston Symphony store located in the lobby of Jones Hall. The Earth—An HD Odyssey is also available for viewing now through January 31, 2015, on select United Airlines long distance flights as part of the in-flight entertainment lineup offered to passengers.
“This project is wonderful for attracting a broad and diverse audience,” said Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada. “Richard Strauss’ Zarathustra is some of the most profound, philosophical and epic music ever written, and it fits very powerfully with the spectacular images from space. I look forward to conducting and recording The Cosmos—An HD Odyssey, the next and final installment in the three-part series, in the spring of 2016, which will feature Dvorák’s New World Symphony set to NASA images of galaxies in our universe.”
Executive Director/CEO of the Symphony, Mark Hanson, comments that “The HD Odyssey series is one of the Symphony’s innovative initiatives aimed at making music more relevant and accessible to music lovers in Houston and beyond, while collaborating with important and iconic Houston institutions such as NASA. Audiences have been drawn in to this powerful combination of music and imagery, and we are grateful to producer Duncan Copp, NASA, our exceptional musicians and all who have worked so hard to make this series a reality.”
The Earth—An HD Odyssey follows the success of the first installment of the hit series, The Planets—An HD Odyssey, a tour of our solar system that beautifully marries NASA’s high definition planetary imagery with performances of Holst’s ever-popular suite The Planets. This first installment of the HD Odyssey film series, commissioned and conducted by then Music Director and current Conductor Laureate Hans Graf, is the most successful production in the 100 year of the history of the Houston Symphony, having resulted in glowing reviews, sold-out concerts, a well-received UK tour and more than 5,000 DVD/Blu-ray discs sold.
Furthermore, the Houston Symphony’s The Planets has been licensed and performed by 26 orchestras around the world, including the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, the Sidney Symphony Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic, extending the orchestra’s reach nationally and internationally. The Planets remains available online at Amazon.com and www.houstonsymphony.org as well as via the Apple and Android app stores through a newly released content app featuring the full film product.
The Earth–An HD Odyssey is available on DVD and Blu-ray online for $25 and $35 respectively. An Earth and Planets media bundle is also available online at www.houstonsymphony.org for $35 (DVD) and $55 (Blue-ray).
Educational Resource Kit Available to Students
As part of the Houston Symphony’s mission to greater amplify the impact beyond Symphony and concert goers, the Houston Symphony will distribute the DVD of the film The Earth–An HD Odyssey along with an educational resource kit to hundreds of Greater Houston area schools.
Packaged on a USB drive, the educational resource kit includes lesson plans, videos, PowerPoint presentations and media that support educators by using the power of music to inspire students to deepen their knowledge and study of STEM. By combining the powerful scores of John Adams and Richard Strauss with stunning images from NASA, The Earth—An HD Odyssey will reinvigorate students’ interest in music, science, space and discovery. To learn more about The Earth—An HD Odyssey educational resource kit and to order, call (713) 224-4240.
About Andrés Orozco-Estrada
Andrés Orozco-Estrada, born in Colombia and trained in Vienna, is one of the most sought after conductors of his generation. He began his tenure as the Houston Symphony’s 15th Music Director in September 2014.
In addition to his appointment in Houston, Andrés will take up the position of chief conductor of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra during the 2014-15 season and will become principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra beginning in the 2015-16 season. Since the 2009-10 season, he has held the post of music director of the Tonkünstler Orchestra Niederösterreich, one of the most important institutions of traditional Austrian music culture, which holds subscription series at the Vienna Musikverein and is orchestra-in-residence at the Grafenegg Festival. He will conclude his tenure with the Tonkünstler Orchestra in summer 2015. From 2009 through 2013, Andrés was also principal conductor at the Basque National Orchestra in San Sebastián, Spain.
As a guest conductor, he regularly works with the world’s most prominent orchestras, including the Vienna, Munich, London, Rotterdam, Royal Stockholm and La Scala Philharmonic Orchestras; Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra; Mahler Chamber Orchestra; London, City of Birmingham and Gothenburg Symphony Orchestras; the Santa Cecilia Orchestra in Rome; Radio Symphony Orchestra of Hamburg; the Orchestre National de France; Verbier Festival Orchestra; and the St. Louis and Oregon Symphonies.
Following his debut with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in 2010, Andrés was hailed “a brilliant stand-in” for Esa-Pekka Salonen and celebrated as an “eminent talent” by Austria’s Wiener Zeitung and Die Presse. In November 2012, Andrés stepped in once again with just one rehearsal’s notice to conduct the Vienna Philharmonic in the Musikverein for Riccardo Muti and was praised as a “stand-in worth his weight in gold” and “an inspired master of communication” by the Viennese daily newspapers Kurier and Der Standard. In the 2015-16 season, he will make his official debut with the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra on its subscription season.
Born in 1977 in Medellín (Colombia), Andrés began his musical studies on the violin and had his first conducting lessons at age 15. In 1997, he moved to Vienna where he joined the conducting class of Uroš Lajovic, a pupil of the legendary Hans Swarowsky, at the renowned Vienna Music Academy and completed his degree with distinction by conducting the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra at the Vienna Musikverein. The emphasis of his artistic work lies in the Romantic repertoire and Viennese classics. At the same time, Andrés shows a keen interest in contemporary music and regularly performs premieres of Austrian composers as well as compositions of Spanish and South American origin. He currently lives in Vienna.
About The Earth—An HD Odyssey
The second film in the HD Odyssey series, The Earth—An HD Odyssey, focuses on our world as seen from space. American composer John Adams’ Short Ride in a Fast Machine and Richard Strauss’ epic tone poem Also sprach Zarathustra, whose dramatic opening was used to memorable effect in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, provide a musical backdrop for the high-definition images of Earth from NASA’s shuttle missions, the International Space Station and satellites orbiting Earth. These incredible images are projected on a large screen over the stage as the orchestra performs the musical score live to tell an awe-inspiring story of our home planet’s land, sea and sky.
“In just 40 minutes, you can experience a whole plethora of emotions,” stated the director of The Earth—An HD Odyssey, Duncan Copp. “You can sense the frenetic final seconds before a launch and the crackling thrust which punches you through a tentative atmosphere into unimaginable blackness. You can drift over cyan oceans of belittling immensity and mountain ranges of epic grandeur. You can witness the violent power of tropical storms and huge thunder clouds in tranquil silence. You can see more than most see in a lifetime. You can experience all these things in just 40 minutes; half the time it takes to revolve once around the Earth.”
The Earth—An HD Odyssey is a unique presentation that celebrates the combined achievement of hundreds of thousands of people around the globe who have made it possible for us to view our planet from a startling perspective. From the home city of manned spaceflight, the Houston Symphony produced the world premiere of The Earth—An HD Odyssey on February 17, 2012 at Jones Hall.
About Duncan Copp
Duncan Copp is a celebrated international film producer and director. His first commission in 2001, Rocket Men of Mission 105 (National Geographic), followed the training and flight of a space shuttle crew during their mission to the International Space Station.
Other credits include Hunt for the Death Star (Channel Four and National Geographic), which won a Gold Hugo at the Chicago International Film Festival, Magnetic Storm (Channel Four and PBS/NOVA) and Global Dimming (for the BBC and PBS/NOVA), both of which he directed and won prestigious WildScreen awards. Magnetic Storm was also a finalist at the 2004 Grierson Awards; Global Dimming received the international Earthwatch Award in 2007. He worked with PBS/NOVA again in 2005 directing Hitler’s Sunken Secret, which was awarded the gold plaque for Best History Documentary at the Chicago International Film Festival.
From 2005-07, Copp conceived and produced the much acclaimed feature documentary In the Shadow of the Moon (Channel Four/Discovery/Film 4/THINKFilm/Vertigo Films), the intimate story of the Apollo astronauts. Distributed worldwide as a theatric and television release, In the Shadow of the Moon received over 15 awards internationally, including the Audience Award for Best International Film at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.
In 2007-08 he produced and co-directed Moon Machines, a six-part series for Discovery’s Science Channel, recounting the trials and tribulations of the engineers who built the machines that took the Apollo astronauts to the Moon. The series was awarded a coveted Grand Remi. He directed and produced Inside the Milky Way, a two-hour showcase documentary for National Geographic in 2010, taking the viewer on a CGI rich grand tour of our Milky Way galaxy. The film was showcased at the 2011 Vedere la Scienza Festival in Milan, Italy. Copp’s latest film is a NOVA/National Geographic special Secrets of the Sun focusing on the exciting discoveries helping to unlock the secrets of our nearest star.
Duncan Copp was the recipient of the American Institute of Aeronautics’ Astronautics Distinguished Public Service Medal in Washington, DC, for stimulating public interest in science and technology, specifically in space exploration. Previous recipients include Walter Cronkite and Gene Roddenberry. Copp holds a master's degree in satellite remote sensing and a doctorate in astronomy, both from the University of London. He lives in Blackheath, London.
About Houston Symphony
During the 2014-15 season, the Houston Symphony enters its second century as one of America’s leading orchestras with a full complement of concert, community, education, touring and recording activities. This season also marks the inaugural year for new Music Director Andrés Orozco- Estrada. The Houston Symphony is one of the oldest performing arts organizations in Texas whose inaugural performance was held at The Majestic Theater in downtown Houston on June 21, 1913. Today, with an annual operating budget of $29 million, the full-time ensemble of 87 professional musicians is the largest performing arts organization in Houston, presenting more than 286 performances for 300,000 people, including 82,000 children, annually. For tickets and more information, please visit www.houstonsymphony.org or call (713) 224-7575.