Emergent Universe Oratorio

The Emergent Universe Oratorio (EUO) by Vermont composer Sam Guarnaccia gives expression to the awe inspiring narrative of the universe from the big bang to the emergence of humanity’s global and universal consciousness. The Oratorio creatively integrates science with beauty from superb musical direction, choral singers, and orchestral players.

The Emergent Universe Oratorio is an hour and half long choral and orchestral composition which is often co-presented with a series of dynamic paintings created by the visual artist, Cameron Davis. It was conceived in response to the current scientific cosmology as presented in the Journey of the Universe. The EUO was deeply inspired by the work Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Thomas Berry, Brian Swimme, Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim from the Yale University, Forum on Religion and Ecology. These seminal thinkers have endeavored to lead us to a new understanding of the place of humans in the Universe. The film Journey of the Universe inspired this artistic musical expression built on the themes of the documentary—to provide a way to enter in and directly experience this new cosmology, deepening our evolving understanding of and response to the ‘new story.’

The EUO music and lyrics will express this new story, endeavoring to evoke reverence and responsibility. The Emergent Universe Oratorio is also a call to inspire humanity to participate in Earth’s transition toward a mutually enhancing Earth-human relationship.

The work will include lyrics and texts of visionary poets, scientists, writers — Thomas Berry, G.M. Hopkins, Rainer Maria Rilke, Wendell Berry, Brian Swimme, John Elder, and Mary Evelyn Tucker. The Oratorio’s intent is to provide a pathway through art and music to a “total commitment to (all) life” (Thomas Berry) which arises from the deep awareness, awe, and reverence for our absolute unity with the Universe.

Emergent Universe Oratorio Premiere
Shelburne, VT (September 15, 2013)

Breeding Barn at Shelburne Farms
Shelburne, VT
Composition by Sam Guarnaccia
Visual art by Cameron Davis
Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim will participate in the Premiere.
The Oratorio Premiere is co-hosted by collaborative partners Shelburne Farms and All Souls Interfaith Gathering. It is a project of 2020 Strategies, is supported by grants from the Argosy Foundation, the Puffin Foundation, and sponsored by the American Teilhard Association.
This event is free and open to the public.
For more information, call 802 734 0279.
Event website
Seven Days Article by Ethan De Seife
View photos by Robert Linder

Emergent Universe Oratorio
Cleveland, OH (June 30, 2017)

The Emergent Universe Oratorio will be performed on June 30, 2017 at 7:30pm
At the Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center
at The Temple—Tifereth Israel
1855 Ansel Rd, Cleveland, OH

Sam Guarnaccia’s Emergent Universe Oratorio will be performed by the Cleveland Chamber Choir and the BlueWater Chamber Orchestra under the baton of Scott MacPherson.

Inspired by Brian Swimme’s and Mary Evelyn Tucker’s epic, Emmy Award winning film, Journey of the Universe (2011), the Oratorio weaves together chorus, vocal soloists, and orchestra with an original libretto that tells the story of our planet’s 13.8 billion year evolution, from the “big bang” to the present day. At its heart the Oratorio pays homage to paleontologist and philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s belief that the fate of the Earth depends upon the evolution of a “global human consciousness” that recognizes the need to protect and nurture our planet.

Tickets may be purchased by visiting the Maltz Performing Arts Center website here.


Event website

View the program to see the poem/lyrics to the choral movements.

"Universe's unfolding story set to music in composer’s new oratorio"
By Sharon Abercrombie, National Catholic Reporter, June 30, 2017

Emergent Universe Oratorio
Villanova, PA (July 28, 2018)

Villanova University Church
Villanova, PA, USA

This performance is part of the 4th International Big History Association conference, "Big History, Big Future: A Cosmic Perspective" on July 26-29, 2018.

Event website
See more details in ORIGINS: The Bulletin of the International Big History Association.

The D&R Greenway Land Trust will sponsor a bus trip to the Emergent Universe Oratorio performance on Saturday, July 28, 5:30 - 11:00 pm. The bus will leave from the Johnson Education Center in Princeton, NJ traveling to the Mid-Atlantic concert premiere at Villanova University.

A reception will follow the concert with the composer, Sam Guarnacccia, and the Main Line Symphony Orchestra conductor, Don Liuzzi.