Press Release: Starmus – 35 days – Additions to programme



Starmus logo


• Once again, the Australian enthusiast Alex Cherney won the unanimous applause of the jury at the festival for the second consecutive time, on this occasion thanks to his evocative collection of time-lapse sequences “Observatories”

• The innovative progressive rock band Nosound, the Greek compositor Alexandros Hahalis and the Greek Cypriot soprano Katerina Mina all form part of the festival’s musical line up

• “Legends of space: a tribute to Neil Armstrong and Alexei Leonov” and “Spherical music” are to provide the ending note to the closing ceremony of an unbeatable festival

• The festival, which is to take place in Tenerife from 22 to 27 September, will be the only chance the audience will have to debate with Stephen Hawking thanks to the “Ask Hawking” competition

MADRID, 19 August 2014:

Starmus Festival the countdown has begun with an announcement of more news on what will be an unforgettable festival. The organisation has already selected the winner of the festival’s astrophotography competition and has published the new additions to the musical line up that will doubtlessly make this event unique, with music and stars joining the leading figures in contemporary science. The festival management has also confirmed an unforgettable programme for the closing ceremony that is bound to provide the finishing touch to this great event.

• Astrophotography competition, one of the activities to best define Starmus

This competition is one of the driving forces behind the informative approach of the festival, as it is an open initiative that offers a unique chance to attend Starmus, meet all of the leading names in astrophysics and enjoy 60 minutes of observation on the GTC (GRANTECAN or Gran Telescopio Canarias), in La Palma.

As was the case at the previous festival, the skill of Alex Cherney, an amateur astronomer from Australia, led to the jury’s unanimous decision to declare him the new winner of the competition. At the previous Starmus, Alex Cherney and his beautiful collection of time-lapse sequences of the Milky Way won the prize. This year, it has been thanks to his collection titled “Observatories” that includes some impressive time-lapse images of the stars, the planets and the Milky Way at different observatories around the world (including the GTC in La Palma), which are accompanied by a theme composed especially for this animation by Dermot Tutty.

Damian Peach, named photographer of the year in 2011 by the Astronomy magazine and member of the competition’s jury, summarises the work presented by Cherney, underlining the fact that “the effect is evocative and engrossing”.

As well as Damian Peach, the jury of the Starmus Astrophotography competition is formed by Rogelio Bernal -a Spanish astrophotographer, who is considered the best in his field, with many different international awards – and David Eicher – Editor of the prestigious Astronomy magazine, and a leading name in astronomy with 17 books published.

• New additions to the musical line up: Alexandros Hahalis, Katerina Mina and Nosound

In the words of the founder and director of the Starmus Festival, Garik Israelian, “music is another of the festival’s great facets, which is why – like the panel of speakers – its musical line up includes a very special list of names”. The line up for Starmus includes internationally famous stars like Katerina Mina and also discovers new talents currently on their way to success, as is the case of Alexandros Hahalis and Nosound. While Alexandros Hahalis takes new experimental paths with his music, Nosound has a very well-defined style that is heavily influenced by Pink Floyd and taken further with incredible new musical sounds. For the experience to be complete and magical, Garik Israelian explains the importance of the Starmus Party at the El Teide Observatory as part of the festival to the rhythm of Nosound. “It will be a mystical experience that nobody present will forget.


Katerina Mina

 Katrina Mina

Alexandros Hahalis

Alexandros Hahalis

We also have “Spherical music” thanks to the performance of Katerina Mina and Alexandros Hahalis”, says the astrophysicist. Hahalis became famous as a composer in the late ’80s in the United States thanks to his work Antithesis, which was in the top10 of New Age electronic music. Since then, his career has been unstoppable, creating his own niche on the music scene linked to art and to his passion for astronomy and Greek philosophy and mythology. Has composed works for famous sculptors and painters, such as Spyropoulos or Stamos, and for major theatres and events, such as the Brooklyn Academy of Music or the Athens 2004 Olympic Torch Relay. Major cultural institutions, such as the Greek Scholars of Chicago University or the Urban Stages & Playwrights Preview Society, among others, have recognised his work and his style over recent years. Furthermore, the composer is the founder of the “Apollo Temple”, a non-profit making organisation devoted to Apollo (representing the sun, the source of creative energy) and the New Muses (inspiration for art and science).

Katerina Mina is one of the great revelations of modern-day European opera. This beautiful soprano, half Greek half Cypriot, has received excellent critique from bel canto, especially for the maturity of her voice and her surprising staging. A graduate from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London, Katerina has worked at some of the main international theatres over a very short time, performing the great works of this genre. The singer has also recently released her first CD – Chopin’s 17 Polish Songs & Schumann’s Frauenliebe und-Leben – with the pianist Elena Mouzalas.

The other great addition to the musical line up at Starmus is the progressive rock band Nosound, which started up in 2002 as a personal project of the Italian Giancarlo Erra and that was gradually joined by new members. The band has its own, very marked style that reflects the influence of the great ambassadors of this genre, such as Pink Floyd, Sigur Ros or Brian Eno, and to which it gives an atmospheric character of spacial sounds. With several albums already released, the band is becoming more and more famous in Europe and is to bring some very intimate sounds to the festival to provide atmosphere for the Starmus Party at the El Teide Observatory, one of the main events for those attending Starmus 2014.


NoSound group


As well as the Sonic Universe concert headed by the great Rick Wakeman, the former keyboard player for the progressive rock band YES, and with an exceptional guest in the form of the former Queen guitarist Brian May, Starmus will have many major artists with different musical styles to put sound to astronomy and to help make the event an unforgettable experience.

• Closing Ceremony; legends of space and black holes to the rhythm of spherical music

Among many of the noteworthy aspects of the festival, the programme remains at a very high level right up to the last day. Under the title “Legends of space: A tribute to Neil Armstrong and Alexei Leonov”, worthy homage is to be paid to two of the leading names in the space race; the first man to reach the moon (Armstrong) and the first main to walk in space (Leonov), who is to head an interesting debate through his speech “Why did the Soviet Union not send a man to the Moon? Will Russia ever achieve this?”, which is doubtlessly one of the most long-awaited presentations of the festival.

During this homage, Leonov also celebrates several anniversaries in his career: 50 years since becoming the first man to walk in space and 40 years since he was the commander of the first Apollo/Soyuz mission.

If that weren’t enough, Stephen Hawking is to head the first seminar of the festival, which is to be structured around one of his great subjects: “Black holes”. As announced several weeks ago, the great theoretical physicist is to give two speeches at the festival: “The origin of the universe” during the second day of the festival and this one to end the festival. Furthermore this August, the festival is holding the “Ask Hawking” competition that will give the general public the chance to send their proposals for debate with the scientist. Those with winning questions will be given the chance to attend the festival and ask Stephen Hawking their question in person.

To end this tribute, Alexandros Hahalis and Katerina Mina are to entertain those present with “Spherical music”, a unique performance in which the two are to shroud the last day in a harmonious mystical atmosphere.

Over the forthcoming weeks, the Starmus organizers will reveal more news for this year’s festival, which has become a unique, unbeatable event. Starmus 2014 turns the Canary Islands into the focal point for all fields of science, highlighting the importance of the archipelago as a destination for astro-tourism. Further information at — About the Canary Islands The Canary Islands is the place with the best climate in the world for enjoying exceptional holidays any time of the year. Seven different and unique islands, perfect for disconnecting from your daily routine, recharge your batteries and return home feeling physically and mentally refreshed. The beaches, volcanic landscapes, lively and hospitable lifestyle and the possibility of choosing from all sorts of outdoor activities, as well as a wide range of quality accommodation and leisure activities mean that the majority of visitors repeat the experience more than once

About Promotur-Turismo Islas Canarias
Promotur Turismo Islas Canarias is responsible for promoting the Canary Islands destination brand. Created in 2005, the main goal of this public company is to study, promote and market the huge tourist offer the Canarian archipelago affords, in conjunction with the other institutions on the islands related to the tourist sector.

Turismo de Tenerife
Turismo de Tenerife is a public organisation answerable to the Island Council of Tenerife that seeks to promote the values of the island as a tourist destination. Its scope also includes the regeneration of the destination or the attracting of foreign investors to undertake different projects on the island. Its management system, which includes the figure of the associates (over 500), combines different public authorities and the private sector to develop and strengthen the planning of tourist strategies.

Island Council of Tenerife
The Island Council of Tenerife is the governing, administrative and representative body of the Island. Its scope includes the provision of supra-municipal services and the coordinating of services with different municipalities from its different areas of government: Tourism, Environment, Roads, Landscape or Regional Planning, among others. Follow Starmus, Turismo de Tenerife and the Canary Islands on the social networks!

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Examples of “Nosound” Music: Nosound – Fading Silently – Nosound – The Moment She Knew (TWIO DVD full clip) –