Astronomy Live

Astronomy Live: Voyagers

November 28, 2017

The Golden Record album cover

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Voyager spacecraft, composer Gerald Cohen brings us Voyagers, a new musical piece for clarinet and string quartet. The program features the Cassatt Quartet and clarinetist Vasko Dukovski accompanied by visualizations designed by Director of Astrovisualization Carter Emmart. Timothy Ferris, producer of Voyager’s Golden Record, joins as a special guest.

Meet the Presenters

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Gerald Cohen's recently released CD, Sea of Reeds (Navona), “is filled with vibrant melody, rhythmic clarity, drive and compositional construction…a sheer delight to hear.” (Gapplegate Music Review). His opera, Steal a Pencil for Me will have its world premiere production by Opera Colorado in January 2018. Cohen is a noted synagogue cantor and baritone. He received the Yale University’s Sudler Prize for outstanding achievement in the creative arts, and has been awarded numerous commissioning grants. Throughout his career, he has been selected for residencies including those at The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and American Lyric Theater. Read more at

A group of 4 diverse young women dressed in white shirts

The Cassatt String Quartet was the first quartet in Juilliard’s Young Artists Quartet Program.  Performances include Queen Elizabeth II's Jubilee Celebration in London, New York’s Alice Tully Hall, and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood Music Theater, the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, Theatre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, and the Beijing Central Conservatory in China.  At the Library of Congress, the Cassatt performed on the library’s matched quartet of Stradivarius instruments. They has been heard on NPR’s Performance Today, Boston’s WGBH, and New York’s WQXR and WNYC. Cassatt String Quartet members include: Muneko Otani and Jennifer Leshnower, violins; Ah Ling Neu, viola; and Elizabeth Anderson, cello. Read more at

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Vasko Dukovski trained at the Juilliard School and is an avid performer and advocate of Avant-garde Contemporary music. He has performed with some of New York’s most respected new music ensembles, in addition of being a front man of his world music quartet Tavche Gravche. Dukovski began playing with sound at age five and started his musical education at the age of eight. His dedication to music and the clarinet earned him a Fine Arts Award from the Interlochen Arts Academy, which he attended before earning a Bachelors and a Masters Degree from The Juilliard Schools of Music as a student of Charles Neidich and Ayako Oshima. Read more at

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Carter Emmart is the Director of Astrovisualization at the American Museum of Natural History developing space shows and an interactive 3D atlas called The Digital Universe. He coordinates scientists, programmers and artists to produce scientifically accurate yet visually stunning and immersive space experiences in the AMNH’s Hayden Planetarium. Over the last decade, he has directed four shows: Passport to the Universe, The Search for Life: Are we Alone?, Cosmic Collisions and Journey to the Stars. Emmart’s interest in space began early, and at ten he was taking astronomy courses in the old Hayden. As a child born into a family of artists, he naturally combined his love of science with his tendency for visualization. His first work was in architectural modeling, soon moving on to do scientific visualization for NASA and the National Center for Atmospheric Research, before joining the AMNH. 

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Timothy Ferris is the author of a dozen books, among them Seeing in the Dark, The Whole Shebang, and Coming of Age in the Milky Way, which was translated into fifteen languages and named by The New York Times as among the leading books published in the twentieth century. A former newspaper reporter and editor of Rolling Stone magazine, he has written over two hundred articles and essays for publications including The New Yorker, National Geographic, Forbes, Time, and The New York Times. Ferris has made three documentary films—"The Creation of the Universe," "Life Beyond Earth," and "Seeing in the Dark". He also produced the Voyager phonograph record, an artifact of human civilization containing music, sounds of Earth and encoded photographs launched aboard the twin Voyager interstellar spacecraft now exiting the solar system. He is currently an emeritus professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

Support for Hayden Planetarium Programs is provided by the Schaffner Family and the Horace W. Goldsmith Endowment Fund.