This work is the result of immersing myself in hours of footage from Dr. Roberta Bondar’s collection, at once becoming enthralled, mesmerized and deeply moved. The soundtrack is built from the material extracted from this footage: the pitch inflection in Dr. Bondar’s voice as she describes the view of Canada from space (her filtered voice — the otherworldly sound of ‘speaking from space’), the poetry expressed in her acceptance speech at Canada’s Walk of Fame, the nostalgia of the resonances and timbres of iconic Canadian news anchors, and the exalted celebration of the children gathered in Sault Ste. Marie to welcome her back after her time in space.
These are captured and shaped into musical building blocks; stretched, pitchshifted, spliced, and woven together to create themes, basso continuos, chants, canons, and chorales with which the live orchestra engages — colouring, enhancing and harmonizing. Referencing Dr. Bondar’s eight days in space, my intention for each of the eight movements is to harness the sounds and sights — to stop time for a moment, dive into each scene and build an experience. To realize the emotion inherent in Dr. Bondar’s incredible achievements while using my language and aesthetic to sonically and visually express the impact that these accomplishments have had on the world.
Dr. Roberta Bondar
Astronaut, Neurologist, Photographer
Dr. Roberta Bondar is unique, and not just for being the world’s first neurologist in space or for her pioneering space medicine research. Academically one of the most distinguished astronauts to have flown in space, Dr. Bondar is also the only astronaut to use fine art photography to explore and reveal Earth’s natural environment from the surface.
Seeing the world through the lenses of a medical doctor, scientist, photographer, astronaut and author, Dr. Roberta Bondar follows in her family’s tradition of excellence in teaching. Trained as a member of NASA’s Earth Observation Team, Dr. Bondar expanded her professional photographic expertise. As a landscape photographer, her work is represented by galleries in London, England, Vancouver, Toronto, Winnipeg and Calgary.
Dr. Bondar’s distinctions are many: Officer of the Order of Canada, the NASA Space Medal, induction into the International Women’s Forum’s Hall of Fame, and 26 honorary doctorates from Canadian and American Universities. Additionally, she cofounded The Roberta Bondar Foundation which helps cultivate in all ages a sense of awe, respect and appreciation for other life forms that share our planet.
Dr. Bondar is a true Renaissance woman and a great Canadian icon who exhibits a human curiosity and unending drive to reach, and help others reach, higher capabilities.