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Premiere of Emergent Universe Oratorio at Shelburne Farms

Press Release
July 25, 2013

Paula Guarnaccia
(802) 734-0279

The Emergent Universe Oratorio, composed by Vermont composer and classical guitarist, Sam Guarnaccia, will premiere on September 15th at 3:00pm at the historic Shelburne Farms in Shelburne, Vermont. The Oratorio is based on the Emmy Award winning documentary film, Journey of the Universe, written by evolutionary philosopher Brian Swimme and Yale University scholar, Mary Evelyn Tucker, and is co-directed by David Kennard of the Carl Sagan Cosmos series. The film expands upon the work of geologian Thomas Berry (Dream of the Earth, Sierra Club Books) and scientist and philosopher Teilhard deChardin, among others.

The Oratorio is a choral and chamber orchestra composition that tells the “New Story” of our emerging and expanding Universe through integrated recitatives woven amidst major choral works. It is co-presented with a dramatic stage set of paintings from the series, Endless Spring, by visual artist Cameron Davis, of the University of Vermont.  Several Vermont writers contributed to the recitatives, including Rebecca Kneale Gould and John Elder of Middlebury College. The Oratorio is presented in collaboration with Shelburne Farms, All Souls Interfaith Gathering, and the American Teilhard Association. 

At a time when so much of the world is driven by technology and industry, Bill McKibben asks us, “Where is the art and music to express our troubled times?”  Recognizing the need for an artistic expression of our human role in both the current crisis and the future flourishing of the planet, the Oratorio offers an opportunity for the gathered community to celebrate the magnificence of our home, planet Earth, through music and art and raise awareness of our responsibilities and the challenges ahead.

Yale University scholars and co-producers of the film Journey of the Universe, Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim, will participate in the Oratorio premiere. Journey of the Universe has appeared on Vermont Public Television and PBS stations around the country, and its themes and message are expanded upon in the book by the same name from Yale University Press and a 20-part educational DVD series, Journey of the Universe: Conversations

In addition to the Oratorio, there will also be a screening of Journey of the Universe on Saturday, September 14th at 7:00pm in the Main St. Landing Theatre on the Burlington waterfront.  A discussion will follow the film showing.  Both events are free and open to the public. 


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