Audiences at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts explored the impossible magnitude of the universe with Grammy-winning choral composer Eric Whitacre at the New York premiere of his Deep Field on May 18. The film combines Whitacre’s powerful symphonic music with stunning deep space imagery from the Hubble telescope, namely the so-called “Deep Field” image captured over a period of 11 days gazing at a tiny, seemingly dark area of space. The image revealed over 3,000 galaxies that had never previously been seen, each one composed of hundreds of billions of stars.

Whitacre, a confessed “space nerd,” talked to the audience about his approach to writing music for what he considers the most important image in human history, including working with a virtual choir of 8,000 voices from 120 countries. Astronomer Michelle Thaller and astrophysicist Frank Summers joined the composer to talk about the science behind the film and the larger implications of the Deep Field image.

The sold-out event kicked off Vibrations, a series of eight events curated by Momentum for Bethel Woods celebrating the golden anniversary of the 1969 Woodstock Festival on the site where it happened. The series brings together artists, change-makers and influencers to open conversations, inspire thinking and awaken purpose through music, film, photography, mindfulness, and more.

Eric Whitacre conducting Deep Field