We asked local composers about September 11th, and this is what they had to say:
How has 9-11 affected me? I still clearly remember that morning in eighth grade in science class, hearing something terrible had happened, but not knowing and understanding what, nor knowing what the Twin Towers were. But seeing the photos in the Express-News of people jumping out of these high rises helped me realize the terror and unimaginable choice these people were making. So, I think a feeling of not wanting to move or do anything blanketed everyone for a while. Overall, I think 9-11 has caused the U.S. to put security as its number one priority – even with the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans as natural borders! The obsession with security as a reaction to fear and antagonization has led to a loss in freedom – be it privacy, travel, or peace. Every child born since 9-11 has been living during a time of war. They may be fought somewhere else but the mental and economic effects are inescapable in daily life. Roberto Prestigiacomo and other Trinity University drama faculty produced a show called ‘8’ – the age of Prestigiacomo’s daughter, who has only known life with a nation at war. It was mostly minimalistic and abstract, people running in patterns, scary masks and sets with bright colors, trying to recreate this post 9-11 world from the view of a child. I experienced a lot of emotions. The closing involved a lot of water – a kind of giant slip’n’slide on stage, and this had the most cleansing and hopeful effect… I believe it may be the first major artistic production in San Antonio that addressed the post 9-11 topic.Furthermore, the focus on security and military efforts abroad has caused neglect to the basic needs at home – laid off teachers, failing infrastructure. It takes only a few listens on NPR to hear the details of many such maladies. John, you had asked me about a response as an artist. I was not nearly as serious about composing back then, but I remember hearing one of my teachers talking about the feeling of ‘how do I start to compose after this?’ I have not written any pieces grappling with 9-11 and its aftermath; maybe it is not yet time for me to do so.I think 9-11 will continue to affect the American psyche, especially if its memory keeps being used by politicians, military leaders and ordinary citizens to justify further fighting, occupation, racism or de-humanizing of other people in the world. The U.S. is an open and welcoming place for the most part, but it is part of a whole world of people, customs and ideas. I am glad that the 9-11 attacks brought the American people together, but I wish that it had been for healing, not a campaign for security and retribution.
Hear Artists Respond this Sunday on Texas Public Radio: 4 p.m. on KPAC 88.3 FM and KTXI 90.1 FM, 8 p.m. on KSTX 89.1 FM