Composer writes about terrorism, uses music to heal during turbulent times

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UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan — Music and Terrorism. What is the connection? Composers write about what is going on in the world around us and now they write about terrorism.

When composer Eric Ewazen wrote "The Palisades Suite" in 2007, particularly in the second movement, Of Sadness, he was thinking of the Iraq war and 9/11.

But now it is just as timely in light of the Paris terrorist attacks.

"It's very powerful to me because of the shared experience," Ewazen told PIX11 News. "I think when you are watching it [Paris], wow, associating what we went through it in the United States."

Ewazen is a composer and professor at the prestigious Juilliard school at Lincoln Center.

While he usually works with top notch professionals and conservatory students destined for professional music careers, he kindly agreed to coach our amateur trio.

The Trois Amies, with Sarah Monte on clarinet, Danielle Errico on Piano and me on flute.

We are preparing for a Dec. 19 performance at Zankel Hall at Carnegie, part of the Amateur Classical Musicians Association series, with help from terrific and generous coaching from the composer.

"As a composer we live for hearing our music live," Ewazen said. "When we write music, we hear it on our computer and on the piano, but there is nothing like hearing it live."

Ewazen sees music as having a healing influence in these troubled, turbulent times. But can it really help bring peace to the world?

"Why do we do our art?" Ewazen rhetorically asks.

"It sometimes provides comfort and calm. This particular piece is very much tied to our times, but somehow trying to be beautiful at the same time."

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