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Holst’s Planets: Re-imagined

Event schedule details

Sunday 30 June

13.00-13.45

Event location details

Britten Theatre

Royal College of Music

Gustav Holst’s The Planets rocked the classical world a century ago. Shaped by an astrological understanding of our solar system, the seven-piece composition became a mainstream classic. However, since its first performance in 1918, planetary science has made huge strides, visiting our solar system neighbours through probes, rovers and orbiters, and revealing much about each planet’s true character.

In 2018, to commemorate the work’s centenary, Live Music Sculpture and Sound UK worked with a range of planetary experts and eight UK composers to create new music based on current planetary science. Dr Philippa Mason, who mentored composer Shiva Feshareki in tackling Venus, is a remote sensing geologist who uses satellite imagery to study Earth and other planets. She is currently working on the EnVision mission, a European Space Agency and NASA quest to send an orbiting spacecraft to Venus.

At the Great Exhibition Road Festival Philippa and Shiva will be joined onstage by the London-based Ligeti Quartet to hear segments of The Planets II. In between performances, they will discuss their unique collaboration that updated the view of Venus from Holst’s era as a serene Bringer of Peace with the latest research revealing a hellish world pelted by acid rain and hot enough to melt lead.

At 4:00pm the Ligeti Quartet will head to the Expression Stage on Exhibition Road to perform more pieces from the The Planets II.

This is part of our ‘Art of Science’ talks series. Take a look at the other talks in this series.


This event is free but booking is available to guarantee a place. Booking will open in June.

To be the first to know when booking opens and to receive other important updates, make sure you register for the Festival.

Event categories

  • Adults
  • Talk