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June 2000

Young Performers Remember Teacher Astronaut At Fourth Of July Barbican Concert

The Barbican Hall is the venue for an exciting and unusual Fourth of July concert at 1pm lunchtime.

The young and talented performers of the Brass Band and Chamber Choir of the junior department from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama join forces for an ambitious space-inspired work.

Film composer MICHAEL OMER has a long term obsession with space which gave rise to this piece. "To the Stars - a Requiem for the Space Shuttle Challenger", was first performed at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, in memory of the crew who perished during the launch of the Space Shuttle ‘Challenger’ in January 1986.

That accident was a defining moment in manned space exploration and for a while all seemed lost. The loss was made an even sadder one - if that were possible - due to the fact that Christa McAuliffe, an ordinary school teacher, who had been chosen from some 11,000 applicants to train as an astronaut - was also on that mission. This piece is full of hope for the future, and is in thanksgiving for the lives of schoolteacher Christa and her six fellow astronauts.

Michael has just finished working with the London Mozart Players on a composition project involving secondary schools, which enabled him to use his experience in composing for film and television in exciting and innovative ways.

Other recent major concert works by Michael Omer include a Violin Concerto - “Moving as the Restless Spheres” premiered at St John’s Smith Square last year and a Brass Quintet “Playing for Time”.

Michael also wrote the music for the Oscar Nominated movie It’s Good to Talk, and produced the chart-topping CD single Everlasting Love for BBCTV’s drama Casualty!

Click to listen to a sample

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