Stories » Penka Kouneva is lone female composer in Hollywood Bowl 'America in Space' concert / Los Angeles Times

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Penka Kouneva is lone female composer in Hollywood Bowl 'America in Space' concert / Los Angeles Times

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In "2001: A Space Odyssey," Stanley Kubrick memorably used classical music by two Strausses - Richard's "Also Sprach Zarathustra" and Johann's "The Blue Danube" - forever linking those pieces with outer space. That was 1968. A year later, humanity actually made it to the moon - and for 50 years Hollywood, ironically, has explored our future in the cosmos with music that looks back, in a decidedly classical language.

The Los Angeles Philharmonic will provide a primer on that tradition - and recent departures from it - on Thursday 8/15 with "America in Space," a program at the Hollywood Bowl conducted by David Newman. Two influential pieces from the repertoire, Gustav Holst's "The Planets" and Aaron Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man," will be paired with mostly contemporary music from space movies.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge will be celebrated with archival footage and words from Abigail Fraeman, who was on the Mars Curiosity Rover team. A tribute to the female astronauts of NASA will be underscored by a new piece by Penka Kouneva, the lone female composer on the program.

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