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 Nationwide Artistic Responses to the September 11 Tragedy and its Aftermath

**All material in this section is archived.  It was material collected in the immediate aftermath of 9/11/2001 and reflects the period of that time.  For responses to political art in 2003 and later, follow the link to Artists Respond to the Political Present.**

Events | Visual Art | Performance, Music, Dance | Film, Video, TV | Words | Audio | Comics


Vigil: Suzanne Vega and fellow members of the Greenwich Village Songwriter's Exchange have released a tribute CD titled "Vigil", with songs written about of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The list of contributing songwriters are: Suzanne Vega, Christine Lavin, Tim Robinson, Jack Hardy, Wendy Beckerman, Bob Hillman, Jon Albrink, Ina May Wool, dawn Landes, Brian Rose, Richard Julian, Jill Gewirtz, Amy Marie Keller, Andy Germak, Noam Weinstein, Frank Tedesso and Richard Meyer. All profits from "Vigil" will go to the Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund.

Students Write: Read pieces submitted in response to Theatre Development Fund/Play by Play's invitation to all high school students to express themselves in writing about the World Trade Center attack and its aftermath.

Before and After: Reactions to September 11, 2001: A freelance theatre artist in Iowa worked with a local high school and guided 10 students through the creation of a one-act play titled "Before and After: Reactions to September 11, 2001," dealing with the thoughts, fears and changes in students in Des Moines, IA related directly to the terrorist attacks.

Waging Peace through Text and Music: Following the tragedy of Sept. 11th and its aftermath, it is more important than ever for individuals to find creative ways to voice their hopes regarding the waging of peace in the world. In this University of Oregon course taught by Robert Kyr, students will take three concurrent "journeys of exploration" that prepare them to write several "texts for music" on the theme of peace. Each student will be paired with a composer from the School of Music who will set at least one of his or her texts. The collaborations by the writers and composers (Clark Honors College and School of Music) will be performed in a concert during spring quarter following the completion of the course.

On the Transmigration of Souls: The New York Philharmonic has decided to commission John Adams, famous for his treatment of socio-political issues in his operas "Nixon in China" and "The Death of Klinghoffer," to mark the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks. Adams will score his new 20-25 minute piece for chorus and orchestra, giving it the title "On the Transmigration of Souls." The piece will include firsthand accounts, written messages and cell phone transcripts. September 19-21, 2002.

On March 21, Cooper Arts presents "Celebrating W.H. Auden with poet James Fenton." The program will feature the world premier of a musical setting by Charles Wuorinen, September 11, 2001. 7:30pm at The Cooper Union. $20.

Valerie Ghent organized a folk music concert on March 11 at the Cornelia Street Cafe (NYC), where over 20 musicians gathered to share their songs written about the events of September 11 & their aftermath. "Some members of the audience, who included many police officers and firefighters, said they had been drawn to the concert specifically because they were looking for new perspectives on events that have been hashed over again and again in the news media and by political leaders but that still, six months later, remain incomprehensible. 'I'm Amazing Graced out,' ' said Lt. Preston Fucci of the Port Authority police." (quoted from the New York Times: "In New American Blues, The Toll of 9/11" by Kirk Johnson).

Jonathan Chenette is creating an original 10-15 minute composition for cello and piano based on W.H. Auden's poem, "September 1, 1939." Contact Jonathan Chenette at 641-269-3065.

Kalvos & Damian New Music Bazaar, based out of Vermont, put out a call for musical pieces composed in reflection of the September 11 tragedies in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. The resultant concert — The September 11th Tragedy: A Musical Gallery — can be heard on K&D's web site.

Monte/Brown Dance performs three premieres by artistic directors Elisa Monte and David Brown, including "A.PoP.To.SiS" by Brown and "Lost Objects" by Monte, which reflects on September 11th. February 12-17 at New York's Joyce Theater.

"Fire on the Mountain":Dancer and choreographer Judith Engelgau of écarté dance theatre has choreographed a new work in response to the September 11 terrorist attack. She describes it as "a raging inferno within a place normally noted for its peace, cool strength and stability." Excerpts of the dance will be showcased during First Night Dover festivities in Delaware on December 31 and the full version will be included in écarté's January performance at Delaware State University.

Ashes to Ashes / Dance Driving will honor the experiences of Americans through dance, music, and voice to provide an artistic representation of the changes in our lives due to the terrorist attacks of September 11. Live dancers in Iowa State University's world renowned C6, one of the world's only six-sided wireless virtual reality caves, will trigger visual and auditory "flashes" of highly emotional pre-attack and survivors' memories using wireless integrated network sensors, intelligent media control and virtual reality. The project will also be webcast.

God at Ground Zero: Mary Jo Magar' s stage play, God at Ground Zero, pays special tribute to our nation's military, firefighters, veterans, and volunteers, and all victims of the September 11 attacks. A drama of the Human and the Divine bound together in tragedy stranger than fiction.

Johnny Johnson (the biography of a common man): A reading of the 1936 Paul Green and Kurt Weill musical is being presented on January 26, 2002 at Musical Theatre Works, 440 Lafayette St., NYC. Reservations: 212.533.5606. Donation suggested.

Sound Zero: While creator Lance Gharavi performs, witnesses move through the space and cue the voices of actual rescue workers attempting to cope with the chaos of the WTC collapse. Performances are being held in on January 31 and February 1, 2002 at Arizona State University.

The Guys: A new play by Anne Wilson at the Flea Theater in downtown Manhattan revolves around a dialogue between a fire captain who has lost most of his men in the Sept. 11 attacks, and an editor who helps him write the eulogies. A rotating cast of actors has included Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, Tim Robbins, Anthony LaPaglia, Bill Irwin, Susan Sarandon, Amy Irving, and Swoozie Kurtz. Dec. 2001-Present. Random House plans to publish the drama in paperback and a movie deal has been brokered with ContentFilm and Open City Films, starring LaPaglia and Weaver.

With Their Eyes: The students of Stuyvesant High School emulated the style of playwright Anna Deveare Smith when they interviewed individuals regarding their reactions to the events of September 11, then transcribed the interviews and transformed them in to character monologues. With Their Eyes was a string of 23 such monologues performed by 10 students on February 8, 2002.

3 Weeks After Paradise: a stirring hour-long monologue by American playwright Israel Horovitz. A documentary version has been picked up by Bravo and will air on the one-year anniversary of the attacks. Mr. Horovitz reports: "I was glad to have been able to make something solid and loving from something so hateful and destructive." The JCC in Manhattan presents a staged performance of 3 Weeks After Paradise on June 3, 2002.

Life During Wartime: An examination of shattered identities, both personal and national, in post 9/11 Manhattan written and directed by Dominic Orlando of the No-Pants Theatre Company. Two stories interweave: The Girl, an amnesiac who barely survived the attacks, and Leo Lewis, a political comic who pushes his anti-American humor too far and discovers the limits of fame. As these New Yorkers pick their way through the physical, emotional, and political wreckage of 9/11, LIFE DURING WARTIME explores the nature of trauma and loss, and the healing power of art. May 23-June 2, 2002 at Here Arts Center in NYC.

T3 4 Pe@ce:, Feedbuck Galore, Planet Generation Global Move & Chashama Theater present this free 3-day festival. With theater, installations, street performances, food, music, dancing, news forums, etc. In an effort to provide an open forum for the creative expression of different views and opinions surrounding the events of Sept. 11, Feedbuck Galore, a multimedia production company, has developed the TeleTwinTowers (T3), a replica of the World Trade Center's Twin Towers built of television monitors, screening digital art submitted by artists from around the world. Chashama Theater: 135 West 42nd Street, Manhattan. 12-6pm on May 5, 2002.

On September 11, 2002 in AFTERIMAGE at Dixon Place, 33 artists of all disciplines will consider how 9/11 resonates in their lives, one year later in "an incredible evening of reflective art that acknowledges our grief and simultaneously channels it into redemptive creative growth." Performances will begin every hour on the hour between 6-10 PM. In each hour, there will be 50 minutes of performance, followed by a 10 minute break. Audience members are welcome to stay for the entire evening, or just for a single hour of performance.

On the first anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, from September 9 – 11, 2002 at the Town Hall in New York City, BRAVE NEW WORLD — under the direction of Producing Artistic Director J Dakota Powell — will host performances by playwrights, composers and lyricists in about 40 plays of varying lengths as well as approximately 18 non-theatre pieces.

Edinburgh Fringe: The events of 11 September inspire a number of shows to be staged at the world's largest arts festival. The Edinburgh Fringe will see U.S. satirist Michael Moore deliver his verdict on 11 Sept. in his first ever one-man show. Other shows will include Project 9/11, which follows seven people in New York on the day of the tragedy, while Jumpers is about how four New Yorkers cope with the aftermath. And drag queen Tina C. satirises the entertainment industry's response to 11 Sept. 4-26 August, 2002.

"Even The Birds Were On Fire": NYC-based artists Marshall Weber and M.T. Karthik's "Even The Birds Were On Fire" is a montage of personal observations and expressions of witnesses from New York City and beyond. The title of the performance is borrowed from the observations of a child who had unknowingly watched people jumping out of the burning WTC. Co-produced by the Booklyn Artists Alliance and Revolocien Rekids, "Even The Birds Were On Fire" is accompanied by an installation of 45 feet long and 8 feet scroll and quintophonic audio composed of texts, images and other ephemera collected from the people and the streets of New York during the hours, and subsequently days and weeks, immediately following Sept. 11 — including texts by poets and political commentators such as Amiri Baraka, Noam Chomsky and members of RAWA. (Revolutionary Association of Afghani Women). At the start of the performance, dustmasks are handed to the audience to physically prepare them for all the dust dumped into the air during the performance. "At the end I burn all the hair off my body as a mourning ritual and evocation of 'the smell'," Weber said. "Even The Birds Were On Fire" was performed on November 13th, 2001, at The LAB in San Francisco's Mission District and on December 4th, 2001. at Track 16 Gallery in LA's Bergamot Station. In February 2002, it was performed at Columbia College's Hokin Center, in Chicago.

September Concert Based on a French model for organized streetside music—the annual Fête de la Musique, begun in Paris in 1982—this series of concerts features a variety of music genres, from classical to rap, in citywide parks, schoolyards, restaurants and street corners. Professional and amateur musicians are encouraged to perform—but first, contact the nonprofit September Concert Foundation to be listed in the schedule.

San Francisco announced that there will be nearly 100 memorial events and religious services throughout the city on Sept. 11. The San Francisco Symphony will play a free concert at 6 p.m. at the Yerba Buena Gardens. 

Requiem 9/11: In Canada, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Ottawa's Opera Lyra company, and the Banff Centre for the Arts are teaming up for a piece called Requiem 9/11 – a dance set to Verdi's Requiem. The production funded in part by the Canadian government, has the feel of an official national commemoration.

America the Beautiful: Shooting Star Theatre presents free performances for the Downtown NYC Community. A new play with music follows the lives of five typical New Yorkers before, during and after September 11, focusing on the healing process. April 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, & 28, 2002. An open discussion follows the presentation. 40 Peck Slip at South Street Seaport.

Lincoln Portrait: Eliot Feld's new ballet, which will be performed by his Ballet Tech at the Joyce Theater (NYC) on April 2, 2002, is set to Aaron Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man" and "Lincoln Portrait" and explores the choreographer's feelings about his country. A cast of 13 Ballet Tech dancers will be augmented by 45 men, women and children recruited by Mr. Feld. Most are not dancers but regular people, including security guards, elevator operators, bank executives, pregnant women and friends. The dance looks at what it means to be an American and, thus, part of a country of immigrants.

One…The World Trade Center Benefit Concert: An explosion of original works presented by Simplicity Dance Company, Godlight Theater Company, Abigail Rose Solomon, Danny Santiago, Laura MacLean, Carl Marucci and The Freeman Consortium was presented on March 2 & 3, 2002. Directed by Adrienne Juan, the concert was inspired by the tragic loss of one of Simplicity Dance Company member's parents in the WTC attacks. The two nights of original dance, theater, song and spoken word were created exclusively in remembrance to the events.

Danzetonic: In a program of new works, Nayo Takasaki, a choreographer from Tokyo, pays tribute to the victims of the World Trade Center disaster, explores relationships between people and nature, and proclaims the importance of being joyful in everyday life. Performed at the Merce Cunningham Studio in NYC on December 21, 2001.