Black Hole Symphony

a journey through time and space
narrated through music, art and science

First theorized by Schwarzschild in 1916, black holes were long thought to be an oddity of the universe - that is, if they even existed at all. Thanks to the research of dedicated teams around the world, we now know this to be utterly wrong. Supermassive black holes are a central force for shaping the evolution of galaxies, directing the trajectories and transformations of matter as the silent conductors of a brilliant cosmic symphony.

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The goal of Black Hole Symphony is to bring these incredible yet distant systems into present experience, drawing on the latest scientific research to create an immersive journey to the heart of a black hole, through music, lecture and visual art.


Like the instruments of an orchestra, a supermassive black hole system contains several key players, each producing a unique signal that we can detect:

  1. Surrounding Galaxy

  2. Dust Torus

  3. Clouds

  4. Accretion Disc

  5. Relativistic Jets

  6. Event Horizon and the Black Hole

For each element, we are commissioning a different visual artist to produce an original work. Each artist will paired with a research team specializing the study of their element, in order to spark interdisciplinary dialogue and produce images that are equally evocative, insightful and scientifically accurate.

Black Hole Symphony

In a previous collaboration with Dr. Anna Barnacka, Marlena Bocian-Hewitt produced paintings of gravitational lensing effect of a black hole system, transcending the limits of scale through artistic interpretation to illustrate the effect in a striking and direct manner:

Alongside Marlena will be 5 other artists with backgrounds in science collaboration.

Impulse Imagined 1.jpg

Joining the visual artists is Multiverse resident composer David Ibbett, who will collaborate with the research teams to produce a musical movement evoking each element of the black hole system.

David’s music will incorporate sonifications of data gathered from black hole systems, played live by an ensemble of chamber musicians and immersive electronic sound.

The Performance

Black Hole Symphony will take place as an interdisciplinary concert of music, art and science. Each player of the black hole system will be explored in turn in a format interweaving visuals, live music and mini-lectures from the research teams about their discoveries.

The central goal of our event is to communicate the wonder of these ideas with the broadest possible audience. We believe that this multidisciplinary approach can make the distant real in a way that engages with the scientific and non-scientific alike, and has the potential to bring together a diverse audience in an atmosphere of shared fascination, inspiration, and joy for the rich reality we inhabit together.

Project Timeline

1. Creative Phase. Artists and scientists are paired and begin their collaborative process. Opportunities for core sponsors to join the project.

2. Premiere Performance 2020, concert hall venue in Boston.

3. Performances in Science Settings. The work is adapted to tour a variety of museum, university and science conference settings, sharing the incredible work of the Boston community with a global audience.

3. Educational Performances. Community performances and interactive workshops introduce young and aspiring scientists to the worlds of music, art, poetry and cosmology alike.

The Team