The 2010 World Science Festival took place on June 2-June 6 in New York City. We offered a slate of exciting new programs and old favorites this year, all aimed at unlocking the beauty and complexity of science for everyone. Sign up for our newsletter to stay connected and get exclusive interviews, stories, and updates.
What if Icarus traveled not to the sun but to a black hole? This 40-minute 62-piece orchestral work is a mesmerizing adaptation of Icarus at the Edge of Time, Brian Greene’s book for children. A re-imagining of the Greek myth, which brings Einstein’s concepts of relativity to visceral, emotional life, it features an original score by Philip Glass, script adapted by Greene and David Henry Hwang and film created and directed by Al + Al. Performed live with narrator Liev Schreiber and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, conducted by Brad Lubman.
Since 2001 AL Holmes and AL Taylor have created an award winning body of films commissioned by Animate, Arts Council England, BFI, Channel 4 television, Cornerhouse Cinema, FACT gallery, Film London, MuHKA, Southbank Centre and the World Science Festival, exhibiting internationally in galleries, site specific installations, film festivals, television and concert halls. In 2008 the duo’s critically acclaimed solo exhibition Eternal Youth at FACT for the European Capital of Culture celebrations toured to the National Art Museum of China for the Olympic Games. In 2009, inspired by the historical and technological significance of the site, they transformed the first railway station in the world into a space for the arts and were awarded the Liverpool Art Prize. In 2010 they collaborated with Philip Glass, Brian Greene and David Hwang on Icarus at the Edge of Time. In 2011 they created Superstitious Robots a trilogy of shorts for Channel 4 television. In 2012 they will premiere The Creator, a new sci-fi short commissioned to celebrate Alan Turing’s centenary at the Museum of Moving Image in New York.
Brian Greene is a professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University, and is widely recognized for a number of groundbreaking discoveries in superstring theory, including the co-discoveries of mirror symmetry and topology change. His first book for general audiences, The Elegant Universe was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and has sold more than a million copies worldwide. His more recent books, The Fabric of the Cosmos and The Hidden Reality, were both New York Times bestsellers, and inspired the Washington Post to call him “the single best explainer of abstruse concepts in the world today.” Greene’s latest project, World Science U, brings science education online with innovative digital courses available to anyone with an interest in science.
Greene makes frequent media appearances on programs such as Charlie Rose, The Colbert Report and David Letterman. He has hosted two NOVA specials, based on The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos, which were nominated for four Emmy Awards and won a George Foster Peabody Award. Professor Greene is co-director of Columbia’s Institute for Strings, Cosmology, and Astroparticle Physics, and with producer Tracy Day, he is co-founder of the World Science Festival.
Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Philip Glass is a graduate of the University of Chicago and the Juilliard School. In the early 1960s, Glass spent two years of intensive study in Paris with Nadia Boulanger and while there, earned money by transcribing Ravi Shankar’s Indian music into Western notation. By 1974, Glass had a number of innovative projects, creating a large collection of new music for The Philip Glass Ensemble, and for the Mabou Mines Theater Company. This period culminated in Music in Twelve Parts, and the landmark opera, Einstein on the Beach for which he collaborated with Robert Wilson. Since Einstein, Glass has expanded his repertoire to include music for opera, dance, theater, chamber ensemble, orchestra, and film. His scores have received Academy Award nominations (Kundun, The Hours, Notes on a Scandal) and a Golden Globe (The Truman Show). Symphony No. 7 and Symphony No. 8—Glass’ latest symphonies—along with Waiting for the Barbarians, an opera based on the book by J.M. Coetzee, premiered in 2005. In the past few years several new works were unveiled, including Book of Longing (Luminato Festival) and an opera about the end of the Civil War entitled Appomattox (San Francisco Opera). The English National Opera, in conjunction with the Metropolitan Opera, performed Glass’ Satyagraha in London, April 2007, and the Metropolitan Opera presented the work in April 2008. Glass’ latest opera Kepler premiered with the Landestheater Linz, Austria in September 2009 and is currently working on an opera about Walt Disney that premiered at the Teatro Real in Madrid in 2013. In 2010 he collaborated with Brian Greene, David Hwang, Al Holmes, and AL Taylor on Icarus at the Edge of Time.
His Symphony #9 was completed in 2011 and was premiered by the Bruckner Orchestra in Linz, Austria on January 1, 2012. The U.S. premiere took place in New York at Carnegie Hall on January 31, 2012 as part of the composer’s 75th birthday celebration. Symphony #10 has been completed this spring and will receive its European premiere in France in the summer of 2012.
Photo by Steve Pyke
David Henry Hwang is a playwright, librettist and screenwriter. He is best known as the author of M. Butterfly, which won the 1988 Tony, Drama Desk, John Gassner, and Outer Critics Circle Awards, and was also a finalist for the 1989 Pulitzer Prize. It ran for a year on London’s West End, and has been produced in over three dozen countries.
His Golden Child received three 1998 Tony Nominations, including Best New Play. His most recent play, Yellow Face was a finalist for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in Drama. Hwang has written libretti for several Broadway musicals, including a revision of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Flower Drum Song. He co-wrote Disney’s international hit Aida, with music and lyrics by Elton John and Tim Rice, which won four 2000 Tony Awards.
As an opera librettist, he has written three works with composer Philip Glass: 1000 Airplanes On The Roof(1988), The Voyage, which premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in 1992, and The Sound Of A Voice (2003). Ainadamar, with music by Osvaldo Golijov, won two 2007 Grammy Awards, for Best Opera Recording and Best Classical Composition, and became the most-produced new opera of the decade.
In 2010 Hwang collaborated with Philip Glass, Brian Greene, Al Holmes and Al Taylor on Icarus at the Edge of Time.
Liev Schreiber is considered one of the finest actors of his generation with a repertoire of resonant, humanistic and often-times gritty portrayals that have garnered him with praise in film, theater, and television.
He most recently appeared in the contemporary action thriller Salt with Angelina Jolie from director Phillip Noyce. He starred opposite Daniel Craig and Jamie Bell inDefiance, the World War II-era drama directed by Edward Zwick. His other film credits include X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Taking Woodstock, Repo Men, The Painted Veil with Edward Norton and Naomi Watts, The Manchurian Candidate with Meryl Streep and Denzel Washington, The Omen, The Sum of All Fears, Hamlet, The Hurricane andA Walk on the Moon, among many other projects.
Schreiber’s stage work includes the Broadway revival of David Mamet’s “Glengarry Glen Ross,” for which he won the Tony Award, “Macbeth” directed by Moises Kaufman.“Talk Radio,” for which he was Tony nominated and most recently “A View from the Bridge” opposite Scarlett Johannson for which he received his third Tony Award nomination.
Schreiber’s television credits include his portrayal of Orson Welles in HBO’s RKO 281and Lackawanna Blues. His expressive voice is also showcased in his voiceover and narration work to numerous projects for HBO, PBS and various documentaries.
In 2005, Schreiber made his directorial debut with Everything is Illuminated for which he also wrote the screenplay. The film starred Elijah Wood and was recognized by the 2006 National Film Board as one of the top ten films of the year.