35 years ago, the New York Times published an article entitled “Rare Cancer Seen in 41 Homosexuals.” Since the beginning of the epidemic, more than 70 million people have been infected with the HIV virus and about 35 million people have died of HIV.
15 years ago, Al Qaeda terrorists aboard three hijacked passenger planes carried out coordinated suicide attacks against the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., killing everyone on board the planes and nearly 3,000 people on the ground. A fourth plane crashed into a Pennsylvania field, killing all on board, after passengers and crew attempted to wrest control from the hijackers. The September 11 attacks killed 2,996 people and injured more than 6,000 others.
Revolving around these two tragedies, in addition to personal tragedies, Elegies: A Song Cycle premiered in 2003. Working on our 2016 production ofElegies: A Song Cycle has been inspiring, frustrating, exhausting, exhilarating, spectacular, heartwarming, heartbreaking, infinite, and near to my heart. For this music I am grateful. To all the many collaborators, colleagues, teachers, and listeners I am forever in your debt. You have shown me life’s infinite joys.
My heart has remained heavy through the last year as this talented group of high schoolers and I explored, and often experienced, loss. My promise to the world is to give all the love that I can offer while I can. Our lives are too short to not create with and inspire one another, and to absorb the histories that have brought us here to forge our own.
“Any art worthy of its name should address ‘life,’ ‘man,’ ‘nature,’ ‘death’ and ‘tragedy’.” — Barnett Newman