We Will Not Forget

Year: 2021

Instrumentation: duduk & string orchestra

Duration: 13 minutes

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Program Notes

The origin of this piece is a jumble of things, over a long period of time. I’ve listened for many years to Armenian music. It is unique – and particularly so is the sound of the duduk, so unusual and full of passion. So the thought of
writing music for the instrument has been in the back of my mind for a very long time. But more recently, both personal and world events led to my thinking of it again. The rise of populism throughout the world, the clear analogies between
the behavior of the right here in the U.S. with Germany in the 1930s, the increase in anti-Semitism, all somehow linked to thoughts about Armenia and its sad history. In 2020, during the COVID shutdown, I wrote music setting poems about the 1918 flu pandemic, and Nurhan Arman, an Armenian conductor living in Toronto, accepted it for a future program. That led again, to thoughts about Armenia, especially as the singer who will be performing this music is Turkish, proving once again, that music is a bridge across cultures that have a terrible violent history – yet all that hatred can be surmounted by music.

As sounds of the duduk filled my imagination, its sad calls evoked feelings and thoughts about the Holocaust and the earlier Armenian genocide. It is the purpose of music, at least for me, to bring sounds into the world to heal, to bring solace, and as a direct antithesis to the murder of innocents that fill our history.

As I wrote the music, it became a piece of remembrance. We can never forget all those souls who were murdered. We can never let that loss be in vain and we must do everything within our power to prevent it happening again. People will
try. Those of us who can, must act to prevent them from succeeding.

Video performance by Tagharan Ensemble

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