The Fermi Paradox – World Premiere by Helix! @ LPRNYC 4/12/15

World premiere performance of my (fiendishly difficult) chamber ensemble piece “The Fermi Paradox” at Le Poisson Rouge in NYC, April 12, 2015. Big bravo to everyone involved!

Kynan Johns, conductor
Natasha Loomis, flute
Anthony Ciccone, clarinet
Carl Patrick Bolleia, piano
Yujin Oh, violin
Joon Whan Kim, violoncello

The Fermi Paradox
in which we ponder the puzzling absence of extraterrestrial life

During a luncheon with his friends in 1950, scientist Enrico Fermi asked, “Where is everybody?” with respect to the lack of evidence regarding extraterrestrial life in the universe. Science and mathematics tell us there are approximately 100 billion suns in the Milky Way Galaxy. Therefore, there should be, even at a small fraction, at least thousands, if not tens of thousands, of Earthlike planets in the galaxy capable of sustaining intelligent life. Assuming the probability that the Earth is not the most technologically advanced civilization in the galaxy and the fact that it would be possible to colonize multiple solar systems given five to 50 million years, even if traveling at the comparatively low rate of light speed, it is paradoxical that we have had no proven contact with interstellar civilizations.

Physicist Carl Sagan, among others, has opined that one possible solution may be the tendency for advanced civilizations to destroy themselves, either through nuclear or biological annihilation, or due to climate change or other planetary calamities. However, for our purposes today, we ask not what kinds of beings these aliens would be but what kind of music they would make?