Interview With…. Ilan Eshkeri

We chatted to the film composer about his upcoming concert Space Station Earth at the Royal Albert Hall on the 15th May.

Hi Ilan – how does it feel to be performing at the Royal Albert Hall? It feels nerve racking and exciting. The Royal Albert Hall is one of the great concert venues in the world. If I stopped to
think of all who have performed there before me it is terrifying, but I’m also inspired by the opportunity to perform in such a legendary venue. It is definitely one to tick off the bucket list as a musician.

What can audiences expect from Space Station Earth? I want to give the audience an experience that no one has ever tried to do before. There is a lot of information and
documentaries about travelling to, living on and working on the space station, but nobody has ever tried to express the emotional experience of the astronauts. There is an element that they have all shared no matter who they are or where they are from. Space Station Earth offers a little of this experience through the images that the astronauts have shot and captured and the music I have created inspired by my conversations with astronauts.

What was the inspiration behind the concert? It all began when Tim Peake contacted me to say he was a fan of my music and wanted to use it on a 5 minute film he
was making when he was going up to the Space Station. I went to visit him at NASA in Houston where the astronauts train and he gave me the most incredible personal tour of the facilities. I got to step onto the replica space station and try on parts of his space suits… my mind was blown and I thought, why make a 5 minute film, why not make a whole show! This idea grew and grew and as I spoke to astronauts I became fascinated with the idea that they train for years and know everything about travelling to the space station and what to expect when they are there, however, when they first arrive at the Space Station they are overwhelmed with the feeling that if you don’t look after the vessel you are traveling in and you do not look after your fellow travellers you are not going to survive the journey. Then when you get the opportunity at the cupola (the seven windowed module that faces earth) to gaze down on our planet you realise the same thing is true. We have to look after the planet we are travelling on and we have to look after each other, otherwise we won’t survive the journey. For too many years we have all been passengers and now we have to choose to be the crew on our space station earth.

How does it feel then to be taking the concert to venues across Europe? I feel so lucky that so many people believe in this show and that so many of the incredible astronauts are prepared to
give up their time to be part of the show. I am also humbled by the number of tickets we have sold, you never know what will happen when you put something creative into the world and if it’s going to connect with people, but it seems like this show does! Space Station Earth, for many different reasons, is a dream come true for me.

How have you found the experience of putting the concert together? It has been amazing, difficult at times…but amazing. The European Space Agency has given me the most incredible opportunities. I have filmed rocket launches, I have done a Zero Gravity flight and I have seen the aurora borealis. So many experiences that I will never forget, as well as creating and directing my own film element of the show which has been a huge learning curve but one i had the opportunity to share with a most amazing team. I can not wait to step out on the stage of the Royal Albert Hall and share this work with the world.

By Emma Clarendon

Space Station Earth is at the Royal Albert Hall on the 15th May 2022 before travelling across Europe.

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