Most of us are fascinated by things celestial, and Ensemble Galilei will satisfy our curiosity with its upcoming performance of A Universe of Dreams at the Overture Center's Capitol Theater on Friday, Feb. 9.
Ensemble Galilei are an Annapolis, Maryland-based quintet: Liz Knowles on fiddle, Kathryn Montoya on oboe and recorder, Deborah Nuse on Scottish small pipes and fiddle, Sue Richards on celtic harp, and Carolyn Anderson Surrick on viola da gamba. They have been performing an eclectic array of Irish, Scottish and early music for 15 years. Universe of Dreams, which debuted two years ago, is a multimedia collage merging music with large-format images from the Hubble Space Telescope and text that shares the celestial theme, ranging from Shakespeare to Navajo myths.
Neal Conan, host of National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation, brings his earnest and erudite tone to the project as the evening's narrator. (Conan and Ensemble Galilei are debuting another collaboration next fall entitled First Person: Stories from the Edge that will examine exploration and discovery.)
If you'd like to check out the ensemble prior to their show, you can visit www.egmusic.com and listen to snippets of their eight CDs or listen to a 2002 NPR interview with Conan that includes some lively discussions of early music and will dispel any confusion you might have on the viola da gamba vs. the cello.