The international-class Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra will blast the Portsmouth Festivities into space this summer with a concert in the Guildhall.
It will include three movements from Gustav Holst’s popular suite, The Planets, and music composed by John Williams for films such as Star Wars.
Holst’s musical portrayals of Jupiter, Uranus and Mars will punctuate a programme also including music written for or used in Star Trek, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Apollo 13, Avatar and 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The concert on June 16 is an appropriate launchpad for a festival inspired by Portsmouth’s civic motto, Heaven’s Light Our Guide, and entitled Space City.
But apart from the obvious space-inspired items, the music programme also celebrates the theme in other, subtler ways.
World-renowned choir the Tallis Scholars will give a concert entitled Music Of The Spheres, devised especially for the occasion by founder and director Peter Phillips, who is originally from Portsmouth (June 23),
And a choir called VOCES8, with a repertoire ranging from early polyphony to jazz and pop arrangements, promises to ‘send the audience into orbit’ with a programme whose inspiration ranges from sightings of Halley’s Comet to the Cold War (June 25).
Portsmouth Festival Choir, founded for the first Portsmouth Festival, celebrates its 40th anniversary with a programme including Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, Five Mystical Songs by Vaughan Williams and a new work called Shipping Forecast by Cecilia McDowall (June 18).
But the star individual attraction is the popular Tasmin Little, returning to play music for solo violin on June 24 and lead a masterclass the next day for string players from this year’s Portsmouth Music Festival.
Also from that festival, recital prize winner Ellie Nugent will have her showcase at Portsmouth Grammar School on June 25. The 17-year-old is Hampshire Youth Orchestra’s principal flute and a member of the National Youth Orchestra.
There will also be series of young musicians’ platforms at lunchtimes and twilight recitals by older ensembles, both in the cathedral.
Among the lunchtime performers will be rising young soprano Alexandra Stevenson, daughter of the late Bishop of Portsmouth.
· Festivities details and tickets: (023) 9282 6722 or portsmouthfestivities.co.uk.