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Program Notes: The Aggregate of Our Joy and Suffering

On February 14, 1990, Voyager 1 took the first-ever picture of our planetary family. Within this famous portrait, you can see Earth as a tiny, blue pixel, which became known as the “Pale Blue Dot.” Astronomer Carl Sagan reflected on this picture in a 1997 essay:

“From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering…”

The music written here is my own personal reflection on these words and the craft carrying evidence of our existence beyond our solar system. On board the Voyager craft is a golden disc that contains pictures, diagrams and music from Earth, including Bach’s Prelude in C major from the Well-Tempered Clavier Book II. Within this piece you’ll find this prelude drifting in and out and finally fading into the nothing.

The Aggregate of Our Joy and Suffering was composed for A/Tonal, and premiered on March 1, 2014, with a film by Ryan Daly consisting of archival footage of NASA’s Gemini missions.

Not just a pretty voice: Musician, composer and WUOL host Daniel Gilliam talks news projects - Insider Louisville

Thank you, Amy Miller and Insider Louisville for the profile.

A/Tonal: The Premiere Experience | Facebook

A new group called A/tonal is premiering my new chamber work “The Aggregate of Our Joy and Suffering” this Saturday at 8pm (IUS Recital Hall). Ryan Daly (creator of videos for Rachel Grimes, Wax Fang and Cheyenne Mize) is creating a film that will accompany the 15-minutes of music. If you’re in the area, hope to see you!