AAVSO: American Association of Variable Star Observers

On the Construction of the Heav’ns: A Multi-media, Interdisciplinary Concert and Outreach Event (Abstract)

Volume 47 number 2 (2019)

James E. Hesser
RASC Victoria Centre
David Lee
RASC Victoria Centre
W. John McDonald
RASC Victoria Centre


(Abstract only) Polymath William Herschel (1733–1822) began life as a professional musician who, after immigrating to England at age 19, became in midlife, a renowned astronomer, eventually working in close partnership with his sister, Caroline (1750–1848). Sadly, his delightful music is very rarely heard today, a situation which a Victoria team aims to correct. Over the past two years, multi-media concerts of chamber and symphonic music based upon original research in the British Library by Michael Jarvis (harpsichord and continuo) and Paul Luchkow (violin) (The Luchkow-Jarvis Duo) have provided exceptional opportunities for engaging the public with images and sketches by Victoria Centre members accompanied by dialogue comprised of enlightening quotes from the Herschels’ writings. Pre-concert explanations put the science and the music in context. This presentation will include recordings and images from the 2018 concert. Inspired by the excellent public reception of the Victoria concerts, the team is preparing to take the program on tour starting in fall 2020, with the intent of involving local astrophotographers and astronomy clubs in each presentation. Expressions of interest in partnering with us are welcome!