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Celebrating 50 Years of Earth Observation with the Landsat Chamber Orchestra

Celebrating 50 Years of Earth Observation with the Landsat Chamber Orchestra

On Saturday, October 15, 2022, the Visitors Center at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight center presented an audio/visual event in celebration of Landsat’s 50th anniversary.

The all-volunteer Goddard club orchestra, came together as the Landsat Chamber Orchestra to play five classical selections in front of a choreographed selection of Landsat imagery.


The orchestra was led by musical director, Richard Scerbo. Scerbo and Landsat calibration scientist, Ed Kaita, made the composition selections. Imagery was selected and choreographed by Landsat Outreach team members Ginger Butcher and Ally Nussbaum; Ross Walter from the outreach team produced the images into the evening’s video.

Kaita formulated the celebration symphony idea after attending a NASA seminar given by Emil Le Cou of the National Symphony Orchestra, who serves as a musical advisor to NASA.

To realize the vision of a chamber orchestra playing with Landsat imagery in the background, Kaita worked to connect a conductor (Scerbo), musicians, Butcher and her outreach team, and Cate Maynard from the Goddard Visitors Center.

Kaita, who has been playing the clarinet since he was a seven year old in New York City, shares that for him, “The commonality between Landsat—or the other missions I’ve worked including Hubble and COBE—and music, is that same visceral, emotional response I get from seeing the imagery and hearing the music.”

“It just makes sense to me, trying to blend the two.”

The Program

Saturday Night Waltz (from Rodeo) by Aaron Copland
With the launch of Landsat 9, we begin our program with a view of American landscape from space.

Lyric Pieces Op 54, No. 3 “March of the Trolls” by Edvard Grieg
Take a tour around our planet with these Landsat images of the seasons.

Suite in D-Major for Wind Instruments by Arthur Bird (Allegro Moderato, Adagio Moderato)
Landsat has observed dramatic changes over its 5 decades of observations. This presentation shows the impact of change on our planet from both natural and anthropogenic causes.

Lyric Pieces Op 40, “Holberg Suite” by Edvard Grieg
From volcanic eruptions and fires to hurricanes and floods, Landsat provide a unique view of these disasters and recovery.

Symphony No.99 in E-flat Major Josef Haydn
This collection of images are from the Earth As Art gallery created by USGS’s Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center. There are currently six image collections of stunning artistic interpretations of Landsat images.

The Landsat Chamber Orchestra

Richard Scerbo, Music Director and Conductor

Susan Ashmore
Andrea Schewe

Karin Caifa
Andy Tangborn
Ed Kaita

Bass Clarinet
Ed Kaita

Leila Duman
Jonathon Zepp

French Horn
Edith Gilmore
Ken Hawes

Len Morse
Bill Sturgis

Wenli Mo (Principal)
Jonathan Kunjummen
Alex Chang
Helena Amberger
Gabrielle Liverpool

Amelia Colarco
Mike Garrahan
Carson Bear

Jonathan Taylor
Courtney Kaita

Fred Talcott

Ellen Ensel
Teri Manolio

Banner Image Caption: The Landsat Chamber Orchestra on Oct. 15, 2022 at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

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