The Columbia disaster on 1 February 2003 was a dramatic incident which moved me very deeply. Especially the television image of an empty astronaut's helmet which had been found intact in a field among numerous pieces of debris symbolized to me the tragedy of this disaster that claimed the lives of seven people shortly before the return of the space shuttle to Earth.
For a long time, I had thought of writing a violin concerto. Against the background of the tragic events concerning the 28th Space Shuttle Mission, I took up this idea again; the violin concerto as a musical dialogue between soloist and orchestra seemed to me particularly suited to lend musical shape to the memory of the killed astronauts.
Each of the seven astronauts has been given a personal dedication cadence. Even the representation of their characters is reflected in the composition, for example by reminiscences of the musical cultures of Kalpana Chawla, the India-born American female astronaut, and of Ilan Ramon, the first Israeli in space.
The number 7 determines the musical and rhythmic structure of the work, describing at the same time the basic principle of the composition: 49 musicians are divided into 7 groups, apart from the solo violin there are 6 further violins arranged in the hall. They are like seven satellites or souls sounding and hovering in space.
The violin concerto Seven is a very personal monologue and the musical expression of my sympathy towards the seven astronauts who lost their lives while exploring space in fulfilment of a fundamental dream of mankind.
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