First Person: Stories from the Edge of the World (2007–2010)

Ensemble Galilei: First Person: Stories form the Edge of the World


The conversation began while on tour in Iowa. And it started with the question, “What should we do next?” After performing the acclaimed A Universe of Dreams across the country for two years, NPR’s Neal Conan and Ensemble Galilei had developed confidence in their collaboration, and belief that their unique combination of visual images, music, poetry and text could animate an even more ambitious challenge.

Exploration. Discovery. Mankind’s hunger to know more, see more, and search out the most terrifying and audacious adventures. Why not? And why not engage the resources and guidance of the preeminent institution in the field. Meetings at the National Geographic Society followed, and from that dialogue First Person: Stories from the Edge of the World was created.

The musicians sit on stage right, Conan stands stage left. Between them a large screen rises from the stage filled with stunning photographs from the National Geographic Image Collection. Music swells as Conan reads compelling first person accounts of exploration and discovery, illustrated by maps, portraits and gorgeous pictures.

Ibn Battuta writes of his travels to 14th Century Iraq. George Mallory sends a letter home before he attempts the summit of Mount Everest. Charles Darwin confesses his doubts on a voyage that will change all of what we know, and sailors brave howling gales aboard a Cape Horn windjammer. Jacques Cousteau and William Beebe pioneer the technology that allows us to penetrate the vast, unknown expanses bene