UA Ensemble Performance Cancelled Due to Attack
Gregg Hanson, Director of the UA Wind Ensemble, talked in his office yesterday afternoon concerning the cancellation of this Friday's performance. Hanson feels the music's content could be deemed inappropriate in light of recent terrorist attacks in the U.S.
Thursday September 13, 2001
Director deems material inappropriate
The UA Wind Ensemble and Wind Symphony, groups of the university's most advanced graduate and undergraduate musicians, were scheduled to play their first concert of the year tomorrow night.
They had planned on performing two pieces - "Yiddish Dances" - a collection of near-Eastern Jewish folk tunes and a symphony written by American composer Martin Gould for the West Point Military Academy.
By Tuesday afternoon, conductor Gregg Hanson had realized the irony of his situation. In the wake of the largest terrorist attack in American history, he and his ensemble were scheduled to perform a set of Middle Eastern party songs and a piece of Americana written as a spoof on military marches. The program was suddenly laced with elements that didn't exist before Tuesday morning.
The nationally recognized wind ensemble's final rehearsal before the show was cancelled Wednesday afternoon after Hanson told the ensemble they would not be performing this Friday.
"Those of us who are in a position to select music that is appropriate for any occasion,"
Hanson said, "are in a position to have a dramatic impact. Planning a program for
a concert is sort of a psychological game in a way. You affect the emotions of
the people there. You create emotional peaks and valleys."
"Making music is a very powerful thing," Hanson said. "There is a time and a place for it. Those of us who are in a position to select music that is appropriate for any occasion are in a position to have a dramatic impact. Planning a program for a concert is sort of a psychological game in a way. You affect the emotions of the people there. You create emotional peaks and valleys."
The time and place clearly wasn't tomorrow evening.
"Keeping in mind the way we represent the university, that we're in the public eye, the last thing we want to do is be offensive in any way," Hanson said.
Campus has become a myriad of faces, blurs of ambivalence, confusion and Dave Matthews Band lyrics.
The music department is struggling to find order in the chaos of cancelled shows and grieving students and faculty.
Hanson said he wanted to use this opportunity, as many teachers have, to speak to his students, to see what they have to say. He wanted to allow his students to absorb the events, to grieve and to find their own peace.
Attending Hanson's classes has, temporarily, become optional.
"What has happened has been profoundly moving, " Hanson said. "The implications of this for our country and for the young generation of students on this campus is gigantic."
Jay Rees, conductor of the UA Wind Symphony, said, "We hope that everyone will take this time to contemplate the events and what they can do to help."
The Wind Ensemble's next concert is scheduled for Oct. 24.
The first show in the aftermath of a national tragedy is bound to carry a certain weight - certain poignancy for all those involved, Hanson said.
The program for the October show is expected to remain as planned before Tuesday's tragedy. The ensemble will play a piece about Niagra Falls - a tribute to the waterfall as part of America's grandeur, beauty and selected pieces from "West Side Story," a musical about New York.