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Stanford New Ensemble: Vela 6911
The Stanford New Ensemble, conducted by Jindong Cai, and collaborators from CCRMA perform Vela 6911, a multimedia piece by Victor Gama. The ensemble will feature a variety of instruments designed by the composer, accompanied by video shot in Antarctica.
Vela 6911 is based on the diary of a South African Navy officer, lieutenant
Lindsey Rooke, who took part in a secret nuclear weapons test conducted by the apartheid
regime in 1979 off the coast of Antarctica. The test, detected by a U.S. satellite
called Vela, was the validation of a military power that engulfed the whole Southern
African region in a cold-war conflict in the late '70s and '80s. Rooke's diary reveals
someone in contradiction between her love for nature and the mission she was on, which
left a trace of devastation, death, and radioactive contamination in one of the most
pristine and protected environments on earth.
The idea to compose Vela 6911 started at Stanford in 2010 when Gama was SiCa Arts Visitor at the Humanities Center. Valuable contributions towards its research phase were provided by Stanford University Libraries. The piece was subsequently commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and premiered at Harris Theatre in 2012. | Pre-concert talk at 6:30 pm.