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The Music of the Cosmos

by Ingrid Vaileanu 

This event aims to express a cultural conjunction of Bach’s compositional chords and the existential, not so much technical, experience of cosmic flights. Both basically reveal the same eternal human longing: the sublimation of the earthly, limited human condition through cosmic transcendence, the aspiration of a higher spiritual essence.

For this purpose, we will engage in a dialogue with the guests, intertwined by a selection of Bach’s pieces, under the magical NASA projections on the Observatory’s cupola. A spectacle of lights, music and thought, followed by 30 minutes of Q&A.


17:00 - Royal Observatory closes to the public.

17:05 - Suppliers gain access to the site.

18:00 - Park closes to the public

18:30 - Shuttle buses and Security in place at the St Mary’s Gate

19:00 - Guests start to arrive and are shuttle bus up to the Planetarium. Drinks are served in the Foyer.

19:40 - Bar closes

20:00 - Guests go into the Planetarium (no drinks allowed into the Planetarium)

20:05 – Performance & Conversation start

21:05 - Q&A panel discussion.

21:35 - Guests depart


Elena Piccione

Elena Piccione began playing the piano at the age of seven and that same year she began performing both solo repertoire and chamber music.

At the age of twelve Elena gave her first solo recital and one year later she entered the Conservatorio di Musica "N. Paganini in Genoa, to commence a performance degree. Elena’s progress was accelerated and at the age of eighteen she graduated with a Master’s Degree in Pianoforte, together with her secondary school diploma, with a specialisation in science.

After her graduation at the conservatory, she deliberately chose not to take part in any piano competition, in order to devote her time to broaden her repertoire, rework her piano technique and study music outside an academic context.

Her extensive repertoire, ranging from baroque to contemporary music, includes the complete mazurkas, waltzes, nocturnes and ballades by Chopin, the complete trios, piano sonatas and 4 hands piano works by Mozart, complete suites by Handel, the complete piano works by Mussorgsky, The Well-Tempered Clavier by J. S. Bach, the complete suites by Handel and little known pieces by Russian and Ukrainian composers.

She is the founder of the AMI Associazione Mozart Italia in Finale Ligure, of which she was also president and artistic director. She studied piano pedagogy with Prof. Vincenzo Balzani and is member of the ISME, International Society for Music Education. 

In addition to musical activity, she studied Foreign Languages and Literatures at the University of Bologna.

Dumitru-Dorin Prunariu

Dumitru-Dorin Prunariu works as an expert within the Romanian Association for Space Technology and Industry – ROMSPACE and as a member of the Board of the Romanian Space Agency. In May 1981 Prunariu accomplished an eight-day space flight on board Soyuz-40 spacecraft and Saliut-6 space station. Prunariu is one of the founding members and former president of the Association of Space Explorers (ASE), was also the President of the Romanian Space Agency (1998-2004), the Ambassador of Romania to the Russian Federation (since 2004), the chair of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN COPUOS) (2010-2012), representative of Romania in the International Relations Committee of the European Space Agency (ESA), Member of the Trustees Board of the International Astronautical Academy, the Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Asteroid Foundation, registered in Luxembourg, a special adviser to the “Moon Village Association” (MVA), registered in Vienna, observer member of UN COPUOS, and chair of the Global Experts Group on Sustainable Lunar Activities (GEGSLA), organized by MVA. Prunariu is a co-author of several books regarding space technology and space flight and has presented/published numerous scientific papers. He earned a degree in aerospace engineering from the University POLITEHNICA of Bucharest and a Ph.D. in the field of space flight dynamics. Prunariu is also a Honorary Member of the Romanian Academy. Prunariu is an Honorary Citizen of several cities and Doctor Honoris Causa of several higher education institutions from Romania, Republic of Moldova, and USA. An asteroid was named with his name, the asteroid “10707 Prunariu”.

This event will be moderated by Catinca Maria Nistor, Director of Romanian Cultural Institute in London and Calin Huma, President of Art in Conversation.

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