Join us aboard the starship Cal Phil!

*Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill

*Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill


Join us aboard the starship Cal Phil and be transported to an otherworldly music experience! You’ll hear title tracks from “Apollo 13,” “Star Wars,” and “Star Trek,” as well as Mars and Jupiter from Holst’s “The Planets,” and Mahler’s “Titan.” As you listen to these masterworks, you’ll also see projected, newly-released images from NASA and the Jet Propulsion Lab.


James Horner’s music for “Apollo 13” was an immediate success, bringing him an Oscar nomination. Horner said his approach was the opposite of “going big” because “...a big score sets the audience up for just another sci-fi movie; this is a documentary - you know where it’s going to end. I was trying to get out of the story everything that was best about NASA ...idealism, in a very different way.” Horner died at the age of 61 in 2015, having won two Academy Awards, a Golden Globe, and four Grammys.

Everyone knows who composed “Star Wars:” film-music mega-star John Williams. Williams has won five Oscars (nominated 51 times), three Emmys, and 20 Grammys - and he’s not done yet. “When we did the initial recording [for “Star Wars”] in 1977,” he recalled, “I thought it would be a wonderful sort of Saturday afternoon show for the family, and then in a few weeks it would be gone.”


To give the Imperial Death March in “Star Wars” some extra punch, John Williams drew inspiration from Gustav Holst’s orchestral suite, “The Planets” (specifically, the “Mars” movement). It’s interesting to note that Pluto wasn’t included in this suite because it hadn’t been discovered. When it was found in 1930, Holst had no intention of writing a new movement for the new planet. “The Planets,” he felt, had gotten more than enough attention and it really annoyed him that this one, single work overshadowed (maybe we should say “eclipsed?”) everything else he ever wrote.


If any symphony ever had an identity crisis, it would have to be Mahler’s First Symphony (“Titan”). A disaster at its premiere in 1889, it took ten years of revision before it found success with audiences and critics alike. The tumultuous history of this symphony might have had something to do with a tempestuous affair Mahler was having with the wife of Baron Weber while he was writing it. He begged the lady to abandon her family and elope; while she dithered over her decision, he wrote what would become his first symphony (frequently dropping in at her home to play bits and pieces on her family piano). Madame Weber decided to stay put, but it’s possible that without her, there might have been no “Titan” symphony.

Philharmonia Association