MIC Seminar – Pleiades Visions: Cultural Astronomy, Music, and Creativity

Date/Time: Wed 24 Aug / 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Location: N802, 20 Chancellors Walk


Monash Indigenous Centre Seminar

Pleiades Visions: Cultural Astronomy, Music, and Creativity

Dr Matthew Whitehouse
South Carolina State Museum, Columbia, USA

Pleiades Visions is an original composition by the presenter for solo pipe organ inspired by indigenous music and mythology associated with the Pleiades star cluster. The composition is in three movements, representing Aboriginal, Native American, and Native Hawaiian cultures. Pleiades Visions uses the organ’s vast sonic resources to evoke the majesty of the night sky and expansive landscapes of the homelands of those three indigenous groups. The work also incorporates themes of place, origins, cosmology, and the creation of the world. This presentation will explore the research basis of Pleiades Visions and the ways in which it combines music and cultural astronomy. Participants will experience Pleiades Visions via a recording of a live performance of the work. 

Astronomy educator, organist, and composer Matthew Whitehouse holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in organ performance, with a minor in ethnomusicology, from The University of Arizona (Tucson). One of Whitehouse’s major creative interests is combining music and astronomy, an interest that features prominently in his work as a performer and composer. His organ compositions have been performed across the United States and in major venues in Paris, France. Whitehouse combines his creative activities with a parallel career in astronomy education, and currently serves as Observatory Manager at the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia, USA. http://www.matthewwhitehouse.com

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