Open Music Society Foundation To Perform At Shuttle Endeavour Arrival Ceremony

Space Shuttle Endeavour. Photo by Matt Stroshane/Getty Images North America

Los Angeles event will mark shuttle’s last journey before being housed at California Science Center

OMSF artistic director and conductor Aram Gharabekian. Photo by Hakber

LOS ANGELES—The Open Music Society Foundation (OMSF), a Los Angeles-based arts organization, has been selected by the California Science Center Foundation to present artistic performances at the upcoming Space Shuttle Endeavour arrival ceremony, the OMSF announced Friday.

For the past several months, the California Science Center and OMSF have collaborated to develop the artistic program of the highly anticipated event, which will take place at Los Angeles International Airport on September 20.

The OMSF’s involvement comprises the design and production of several especially commissioned performances, to be featured at various stages of the arrival ceremony.

The California Science Center was named by NASA as the new home of Space Shuttle Endeavour, which completed its last mission in 2011 following a 25-year run and close to 123 million miles of space travel. Thus Endeavor’s trip to Los Angeles is considered something of a homecoming, given that the shuttle was built in Palmdale, near Los Angeles.

“The OMSF team and I are very proud to be a part of Endeavour’s historic arrival in Los Angeles,” said Aram Gharabekian, the OMSF’s artistic director and conductor. “This will be a globally significant celebration, marking the shuttle program’s extraordinary achievements, which continue to benefit all of humanity. I commend the California Science Center leadership and the cities of Los Angeles and Inglewood for their heroic efforts to bring Endeavour to California. The shuttle’s homecoming will stir deeply felt emotions and civic pride throughout our community, and we’re excited to join this celebration through the language of music.”

On September 20, Endeavor will be flown atop a modified Boeing 747 from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center to LAX, where it will remain a few weeks before being transported to the California Science Center. The arrival ceremony at the airport, to be held inside an United Airlines hangar, will mark the spacecraft’s final journey.

According to a California Science Center spokesperson, the arrival ceremony will be attended by some 300 dignitaries and guests, and receive global media coverage. Highlights of the event will include a VIP reception, live feeds of Endeavour’s landing and taxiing toward the hangar (shown on Jumbotron screens), rolling of the red carpet and disembarkation of dignitaries, and speeches by various officials, all interspersed with performances featuring some 40 OMSF artists. There are also plans to film the entire event for the production of a commemorative DVD.

The OMSF is in charge of the considerable logistics of the event’s artistic program, which entails the execution of unconventional sound- and staging-design components, given the unique challenges of performing inside an airport hangar.

“We bring together talent from various nationalities, all collaborating to create great things,” said Alina Koutnouyan, the OMSF’s COO and a founding member of its Board. “Our organization is thrilled to work with the California Science Center’s visionary leadership in celebrating the enormous scientific strides achieved through the space program, and Endeavour in particular. We are very grateful for the tremendous support and encouragement we have received from the California Science Center and City of Los Angeles, various Council members, and the community at large. We look forward to a memorable welcome to Shuttle Endeavour.”

Varand Gourjian, another OMSF founding Board member and CFO, stated, “By collaborating with the California Science Center on Endeavour’s arrival ceremony, the OMSF aims to achieve an exhilarating convergence of art and science.”

On the night of October 12, Endeavour will leave LAX, arriving the next morning at Inglewood City Hall. From there the shuttle will travel through city streets to the California Science Center — the first time a spacecraft will be transported through urban roadways.

Beginning October 30, Endeavour will be on display at the California Science Center’s Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Display Pavilion while the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, a new addition to the Science Center, is being built. When the new wing is completed, in 2017, Endeavour will be its centerpiece, along with the shuttle’s external fuel tank and twin rocket boosters. The Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center will also offer an outstanding collection of aeronautic and space artifacts, immersive experiences, and hands-on exhibits, inspiring visitors to explore the scientific concepts behind aeronautics and the formation and exploration of the universe.

About the OMSF: The Open Music Society Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing musical education and mentorship for young talent, and increasing public interest in the arts through Open Music Fest, an unprecedented and unique series of arts festivals in which artistic collaboration embraces cultural diversity, fostering mutual understanding and appreciation. For more information, please visit openmusicsociety.org

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