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Steven Mackey on Composing to Mark An Event “Too Big For Music”

by Anne Bothwell 2 Jan 2013 2:51 PM

How does a composer tackle a topic like the JFK assassination? In this video, Steven Mackey explains his thinking behind “One Red Rose,” co-commissioned by the Nasher.



How does a composer tackle a topic as big as the assassination of John F. Kennedy? As Steven Mackey says in this video, events like this can seem “too big for music.”

You may recall that Jerome told us how the Nasher Sculpture Center, along with Carnegie Hall, and the music program Yellow Barn, commissioned Mackey to take on the task. His work, One Red Rose, performed by the Brentano String Quartet, premieres at Carnegie Hall next month, and will come to Dallas in November.

Want some insight into how Mackey tackled the job? He explains the structure of the piece, how it got its name, where he was when he heard Kennedy was shot and much more in this video I just stumbled on. Want to know more? Mackey writes about the commission on his blog too.