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Dark Matter: A Tribute to Vera Rubin

A multimedia performance to honor the life and work of astrophysicist Vera Rubin.

The Latest Update

Workshops in August and some words from composer Angélica Negrón

Posted on April 12, 2019 by The Parhelion Trio

Hello and thank you all for your interest in this project, “Dark Matter: A Tribute to Vera Rubin”! 

We are excited to announce that Parhelion Trio will be workshopping with our composers in August at the amazing Avaloch Music Farm Institute. We are very excited to make these incredible sounds come to life in such a dreamy setting!  

Recently, I asked Angélica Negrón to share a few words about this project: 

“I’m incredibly honored and excited to be a part of the Vera Rubin project celebrating the late female astrophysicist and her contributions to our view of the cosmos.  In my music I often explore the intersection between sounds and our natural world and I’m particularly interested in amplifying and highlighting the sometimes-overlooked magic in the sounds around us.  When Parhelion Trio approached me about this project I was very curious about it as I hadn’t heard of Vera Rubin before. As I started to learn more about this incredible astrophysicist I was saddened by the thought of not knowing of her influential work before.  I feel very fortunate that I get to be a part of a project that celebrates the life of this extraordinary scientist so others can get to know her and be inspired by her work through the lens of the work that we create inspired by all she’s given us.”

You are so inspiring, Angélica! We are so honored to have you, Alexandra, and Danielle composing on this project. We can’t wait to share this music dedicated to Vera Rubin with the world! 

Watch this page for future updates! If you haven’t already, follow us on facebook here.

IG: @parheliontrio

Thanks for all your love and support!



Dark Matter: A Tribute to Vera Rubin is a multimedia project that aims to celebrate and raise the public profile of the late astrophysicist Vera Rubin, a woman whose work ushered in a “Copernican-scale change in cosmic consciousness” (New York Times), through new music composed by three female composers: Angélica Negrón, Alexandra du Bois, and Danielle Eva Schwob.


An under-recognized figure to the general public yet deeply respected in her field, Vera Rubin is best known for her discovery of dark matter in the universe and championing women in the sciences. She was a mentor for an entire generation of female-identifying scientists, having already paved the way for greater inclusion in observatories and university astrophysics programs.


In addition to highlighting her life and achievements, this project has several broader purposes:

  • To promote the work of women in the fields of science and music
  • To inspire young women to enter the fields of science and music
  • To connect communities across the fields of science and music


Produced by Sarah Carrier and Danielle Schwob, commissioned by The Parhelion Trio, and co-presented with SYZYGY New Music, Dark Matter consists of two parts: an evening-length event at a major planetarium and a touring educational program that combines selections from these pieces along with interactive dialogue.


The project is currently under development in collaboration with the astrophysics department of the American Museum of Natural History. Through presenting music forged with compelling narrative and effective staging by theater artist Michael McQuilken, audiences will be offered a path to understanding the magnitude of Rubin’s work through artwork produced in her spirit.

The music will honor Vera Rubin through programmatic explorations of her life and work through themes that convey her tenacity, warmth, and brilliance. For inspiration, composers will consult Vera Rubin’s memoir “Bright Galaxies, Dark Matter” as well as an unpublished collection of memories and anecdotes. The three composers tasked with realizing this endeavor were selected for their existing works exploring the intersection of music and science and their work’s potential to reach broad audiences.

(Image courtesy of the American Museum of Natural History)

Project Media

Oculus Pro Oculo Totum Orbem Terrae Caecat

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Features: Alexandra du Bois

Oculus pro oculo totum orbem terrae caecat (An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind) was commissioned and premiered by Kronos Quartet. It has been described as “a stunning piece that explored the landscape of war and conflict with a sorrowful tone of foreboding, chaos and devastation” (BBC Manchester), as “an impressively sustained essay in musical melancholy” (The Guardian, London) and as “the most impressive work by a composer of that age I have heard since the early pieces of Thomas Adès a decade earlier” (Los Angeles Times).

Drawings for Meyoko
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Features: Angélica Negrón

Drawings for Meyoko is a piece inspired by the black and white illustrations of Ecuadorian artist Melissa Murillo (aka Meyoko). The piece intends to evoke an atmospheric and dreamy world in which her bizarre characters could exist by the use of playful patterns and voices mostly mumbling nonsense syllables. Drawings for Meyoko incorporates found sounds and micro-samples from my previous pieces to create electronic soundscapes that constantly evolve through shifting rhythms.

Start and End Dates



New York, New York

1 update
Last update on April 12, 2019

Project Created By

New York, New York
Praised by The Strad magazine for their “effervescent” playing, Parhelion—Sarah Carrier (flute), Ashleé Miller (clarinet), and Andrea Christie (piano)—is a New York City based ensemble dedicated to bringing virtuosic, robust, and impactful contemporary music to diverse audiences. Parhelion is a recent recipient of a 2018 New Music USA grant for their upcoming project Dark Matter:…

In Collaboration With

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