Denyce Graves
('85, Hon. DMus '98)


Like so many other Americans, I wanted ­ and want ­ to do whatever I can to assist in the rebuilding of the American spirit. I finally have realized in these past few weeks what that really means. There has been such an outpouring of support in a thousand ways to the families, and to the fire and police fighters who truly are America's heroes. Finally we have some perspective on who we should praise loudly.
I was so honored to have participated in the [memorial] service. I love singing and know how healing it can be, at least to me. If sharing the gift of music helps people in any way, then I would have lived my life with purpose.

Denyce Graves is pictured here singing "America the Beautiful" at the National Memorial Service
held September 14 at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

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Hudie Broughton '02
Percussion performance major

Music provides an expressional outlet for performers, and in times like these that outlet is even more important because words fail to effectively communicate feelings. Even musicians can feel too upset or depressed to play or write music, but when something this devastating occurs, musicians and artists must stick to their craft, because if they give up they, in essence, allow their souls to be overrun by the terror, which is exactly what was intended.

When Paul Polivnick (Music Director of the Oberlin Conservatory Orchestras) gave us a pep talk during the first orchestra rehearsal after the attack, he explained to us why it was so important that we play the rehearsal, that if we didn't, the terrorists would have succeeded by breaking our spirits.

For nonmusicians, music can provide a medium for congregation much the same way that religion does for some people. Watching some of the street performers in New York City on CNN reminded me of just how powerful that connection can be. I think the music those musicians provided was just as important to the public as many of the other services that other people were donating across the city.

Hudie Broughton is very active in the field of arts administration. During his summers and winter terms away from Oberlin, he has worked for Classical Action: Performing Arts Against AIDS, the Boston Symphony, and Lincoln Center.

Robert Spano '83
Professor of Conducting
Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
and the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra

You ask whether the events of September 11 have left members of the artistic community grappling with a fundamental, defining question: 'Have the events rendered what we do irrelevant?' The question itself is off the mark. Inherently what we do is all the more clearly important, necessary, and fundamental to our humanity; it is all the more necessary in a time of so much ugliness that we generate beauty.

Conrad Robert Spano led the Brooklyn Philharmonic, with pianist Garrick Ohlsson and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, October 8 in a free program of works by Gershwin, Copland, and Bernstein for "Brooklyn Remembers, New York Rises," held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Donations generated by the concert benefited World Trade Center relief. He also conducted the Atlanta Symphony September 30 in a benefit concert, "Music of Recovery, Healing, and Hope," with all proceeds going to the Red Cross.

Alla Aranovskaya
First violinist, the St. Petersburg String Quartet

I think music is everybody's language. It doesn't matter what country you are from.
Sometimes music can push people to do something heroic or romantic. Especially for me, when I have a bad day, the best thing for me to do is to take my violin and start to play. It helps so much for the balance of my soul.
The Trade Center, for me, was like a symbol of stability. It always feels so quiet, so comfortable and stable in the U.S. I felt this ever since I came here with the quartet, almost 13 years ago, in 1989. I can walk in the streets at 4 a.m. and I don't worry. I don't feel that in Russia; the last 10 years there were a scary period in our life. Especially in a big city like St. Petersburg, which can always be the subject of some attack or terror. It's very strange, but I feel this tragedy much more than any tragedy in my life, even those in Russia, when there were bombings and many people died.
Now, when the quartet has to play in New York City, I can't imagine how I will fly there or go to Manhattan without seeing the World Trade Center.
Alla Aranovskaya, who is from St. Petersburg, Russia, performed with the St. Petersburg Quartet at "A Gathering for Reflection: Words and Music." She travels frequently to New York to perform with the ensemble.

Jonathon Field
Director of Opera Theater Productions

When I see that more than 3,000 people perished as a result of the September 11th terrorist attacks, the number is so huge I can't think of it in specific terms. However, when I read about each person as an individual, it becomes real. The life story of each one of those individuals who perished is, in a sense, music. But music afforded very little consolation for me on September 11th - my only solace was in silence - the basis of all music. I finally found expression for the pain at the end of the semester, when I presented the final scene from John Adams The Death of 'Klinghoffer, where Marilyn Klinghoffer mourns the death of her husband by terrorists, for the opera scenes program.

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