In Memoriam was written in October, 2001, in response to the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City on 9/11/2001. I was a professor of music at the Borough of Manhattan Community College/CUNY in downtown New York City, four blocks from the World Trade Center; there I conducted the BMCC Downtown Symphony. I had recently moved from Brooklyn to the Hudson Highlands, in upstate New York.
While I lived in Brooklyn, we lived next door to a firehouse (Engine 205, Ladder 118), and after the initial shock of alarms at all hours, we came to enjoy and admire our courageous neighbors. They were always there, alert and awake, morning and night. They were cheerful, happy men, and they were the guys who run into a burning building when everyone else is running out.
On the morning of September 11th I was driving from my home upstate to work when I heard on the radio what was happening; I turned around and went home. I knew from my years in Brooklyn that this disaster was one that would call in firefighters from all around. I knew that my former neighbors would be there, running into those towers. And sadly, I found names and pictures of those I’d chatted and joked with, on the long list of those lost that day.
So when my orchestra reassembled for the first classical music concert in the downtown area after the tragedy, I felt the program had to accomplish two things: help us all return to normalcy as best we can, while recognizing the losses we had all suffered. I don’t run into burning buildings; I’m merely a composer. So I wrote this piece to help us all remember those we lost that day: In Memoriam.