Grade 5 (22:51)
Much of the raw material for this piece was written on the afternoon of September 11, 2001. After becoming saturated with hours and hours of images of the tragedy on the television, I went to my MIDI piano and began to play into my music notation program. I didn't know what else to do - how else to digest the horror that was unfolding. The result was pure rage, anger and profound sadness.
Just prior to that, I had received a California State University Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities Award to compose a work incorporating student input. When I discussed with students what I should write about, the overwhelming response was the attack. I met with students on several occasions, soliciting musical ideas and began work. After several trials, I felt my efforts were hollow and overly sentimental. For the first time, I revisited the music I played on 9-11 and realized that this raw emotional outpouring would be a fitting basis of the work. I then decided that the best way involve students was to use their voices in the musical texture. As I interviewed them, the students grappled for meaning, for words and for understanding, as many of us do to this day. The result is the piece you will hear tonight - a piece that I hope will cause all of us to reflect on 9-11 and its implications for our lives and our country's life. As one student says, "I hope that we will learn from this, that our country will learn from this."