LHC Inauguration - ORIGINS


"In 1999 when photographing the timeless ritual of horseshoe crabs spawning in the shallow waters of Delaware Bay, I realized that these ancient creatures offer a window into the past. I decided to explore the planet for examples of how time tempers the shape of life on Earth and how the Earth is in turn changed by the life it harbors. LIFE is a vision of the past, a celebration of the present, and a call to action to make sure there's a future for all of us." - Frans Lanting

ORIGINS, adapted from LIFE: A Journey Through Time

Frans Lanting

Orchestre de la Suisse Romande

Carolyn Kuan

Philip Glass


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ORIGINS, adapted from LIFE: A Journey Through Time, originally produced by the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, Santa Cruz, California/Music Director Marin Alsop.

ORIGINS is a celebration of the wonder of the cosmos and the glory of life on Earth, as expressed through the imagery of National Geographic resident photographer Frans Lanting and the music of Philip Glass.

Specially commissioned by CERN for the ceremony to inaugurate the Large Hadron Collider, ORIGINS is a 20-minute adaptation of the original, one-hour, multimedia production LIFE: A Journey Through Time, featuring Frans Lanting’s photographs and Philip Glass’s music, choreographed by Alexander V. Nichols.

Performed by a symphony orchestra with images projected dynamically on a cinema-width screen, LIFE interprets the history of life on Earth in seven movements, from its earliest beginnings with the Big Bang to its present diversity.

The musical score for ORIGINS is comprised of the first and last movements from the original version of LIFE.

The visual score for ORIGINS has been newly created for this event, and includes images from CERN’s physics events (“images of nature” in Lanting’s words) and from NASA’s Hubble Telescope, in addition to the photographs of Frans Lanting.


Performed by Orchestre de la Suisse Romande

Conducted by Carolyn Kuan

Concepts and images by Frans Lanting

Music by Philip Glass

Arranged for orchestra by Michael Riesman

Visual choreography by Alexander V. Nichols

Project editing by Christine Eckstrom



Frans Lanting

Frans Lanting has been hailed as one of the great nature photographers of our time. His influential work appears in books, magazines, and exhibitions around the world. For more than two decades he has documented wildlife and our relationship with nature in environments from the Amazon to Antarctica. He portrays wild creatures as ambassadors for the preservation of complete ecosystems, and his many publications have increased worldwide awareness of endangered ecological treasures in far corners of the earth.


Orchestre de la Suisse Romande

Marek Janowski was appointed Artistic and Music Director of the Orchestre de Suisse Romande in September 2005.

Founded in 1918 by Ernest Ansermet, the OSR has 112 musiciens. The orchestra’s activities include subscription concerts in Geneva and Lausanne, symphonic concerts organized by the City of Geneva, the UN’s Annual Benefit Concert, and opera performances at the Grand Théâtre de Genève.

Since its creation the world famous Orchestre de Suisse Romande has played, and continues to play, an active role in the history of music by discovering and supporting contemporary composers and premiering their works in Geneva (Britten, Debussy, Eötvös, Holliger, Honegger, Jarrell, Martin, Milhaud or Stravinski). In collaboration with Radio Suisse Romande the Orchestra has performed no fewer than twenty world premieres since 2000.


From the very start, the OSR concerts have been broadcast on the radio, in close collaboration with the Radio and Television of Suisse Romande. The advent of recording led to a rapidl expansion of the Orchestra’s audience. Thanks to its privileged partnership with Decca the Orchestra has made many legendary and major award winning recordings.

The OSR has toured throughout the world, performing in the most famous concert halls and at major festivals in Europe.




Carolyn Kuan

Carolyn Kuan is Associate Conductor of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, and has served as Assistant Conductor for the North Carolina Symphony and Baltimore Opera Company, and was an Artist-in-Residence at the New York City Ballet.

As a guest conductor, Kuan has performed with the Baltimore Symphony, England’s Bournemouth Symphony, the Detroit Symphony, the Eastern Music Festival, the Festival del Sole, the Milwaukee Symphony the National Symphony, and the San Francisco Symphony. Upcoming concerts include performances with the Mexico Philharmonic Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan, the Toledo Symphony, a return to the San Francisco Symphony and more than 35 concerts with Seattle Symphony in the 2008–2009 season.

Ms. Kuan is a keen advocate of new music, having served as Assistant Conductor for the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music under Music Director Marin Alsop since 2003. She has also held the post of conductor of the Smith College Composers Ensemble and has led the Peabody Symphony Orchestra in readings and recordings of new compositions. Recently, Kuan led four world premieres at Merkin Hall in New York City for Music from Japan. The recipient of numerous awards, she was the first woman to receive the Herbert von Karajan Conducting Fellowship, an honor that resulted in her residency at the 2004 Salzburg Festival. Winner of the first Taki Concordia Fellowship, she has also received awards from the Women’s Philharmonic, the Conductors Guild, the Kate Neal Kinley Memorial Fellowship, and the Susan W. Rose Fund for Music. Kuan has studied with Marin Alsop, Kurt Masur, Gustav Meier and Leonard Slatkin.


Philip Glass

Philip Glass was born in 1937 and grew up in Baltimore. He studied at the University of Chicago, the Juilliard School and in Aspen with Darius Milhaud. Finding himself dissatisfied with much of what then passed for modern music, he moved to Europe, where he studied with the legendary pedagogue Nadia Boulanger (who also taught Aaron Copland , Virgil Thomson and Quincy Jones) and worked closely with the sitar virtuoso and composer Ravi Shankar. He returned to New York in 1967 and formed the Philip Glass Ensemble – seven musicians playing keyboards and a variety of woodwinds, amplified and fed through a mixer.




About the LIFE project

LIFE includes a multimedia orchestral performance, a traveling exhibition, a large-format photographic book, and a dedicated educational website.

Read more about the LIFE book at http://www.lifethroughtime.com/book.html

LIFE Music Calendar and Video sample: http://www.lifethroughtime.com/music.html



Hear the National Public Radio interview with Frans Lanting about the LIFE Music premiere.

Hear Frans Lanting and astrobiologist Dr. David Deamer on Michael Krasny's "Forum" show on National Public Radio.


Frans Lanting presents LIFE at the TED Conference in Monterey, California.

APPLE profiles Frans Lanting and LIFE.

National Geographic's biography of Frans Lanting.

Frans Lanting's website.

Upcoming LIFE events at http://www.lifethroughtime.com/news.html



Where to see the LIFE exhibit: http://www.lifethroughtime.com/exhibits.html


See images from LIFE in the December 2006 issue of National Geographic Magazine.


Check the LIFE website, and click ""Start the Journey" from the home page.

For more background on The LIFE Project, click here.