Monday, September 5, 2011

9/11: Yvonne Freckmann

How has 9-11 affected me? I still clearly remember that morning in eighth grade in science class, hearing something terrible had happened, but not knowing and understanding what, nor knowing what the Twin Towers were. But seeing the photos in the Express-News of people jumping out of these high rises helped me realize the terror and unimaginable choice these people were making. So, I think a feeling of not wanting to move or do anything blanketed everyone for a while.
Overall, I think 9-11 has caused the U.S. to put security as its number one priority – even with the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans as natural borders! The obsession with security as a reaction to fear and antagonization has led to a loss in freedom – be it privacy, travel, or peace. Every child born since 9-11 has been living during a time of war. They may be fought somewhere else but the mental and economic effects are inescapable in daily life. Roberto Prestigiacomo and other Trinity University drama faculty produced a show called ‘8’ – the age of Prestigiacomo’s daughter, who has only known life with a nation at war. It was mostly minimalistic and abstract, people running in patterns, scary masks and sets with bright colors, trying to recreate this post 9-11 world from the view of a child. I experienced a lot of emotions. The closing involved a lot of water – a kind of giant slip’n’slide on stage, and this had the most cleansing and hopeful effect… I believe it may be the first major artistic production in San Antonio that addressed the post 9-11 topic.
Furthermore, the focus on security and military efforts abroad has caused neglect to the basic needs at home – laid off teachers, failing infrastructure. It takes only a few listens on NPR to hear the details of many such maladies.
John, you had asked me about a response as an artist. I was not nearly as serious about composing back then, but I remember hearing one of my teachers talking about the feeling of ‘how do I start to compose after this?’ I have not written any pieces grappling with 9-11 and its aftermath; maybe it is not yet time for me to do so.
I think 9-11 will continue to affect the American psyche, especially if its memory keeps being used by politicians, military leaders and ordinary citizens to justify further fighting, occupation, racism or de-humanizing of other people in the world. The U.S. is an open and welcoming place for the most part, but it is part of a whole world of people, customs and ideas. I am glad that the 9-11 attacks brought the American people together, but I wish that it had been for healing, not a campaign for security and retribution.

Yvonne Freckmann
Yvonne Freckmann is a composer, performer and avid promoter of new music. Equally at home in two countries, she began her piano studies in Braunschweig, Germany, and began playing clarinet, accordion and composing after moving to a small town in south Texas during sixth grade. She earned her B.M. in Piano Performance and Composition from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas in 2010, and her teachers included Dr. Carolyn True (piano), and Drs. Timothy Kramer, Brian Nelson, Jack W. Stamps and David Heuser (composition). She is currently attending the University of Louisville as a Bomhard Fellow to earn her MM composition, studying with Drs. Marc Satterwhite and Krzysztof Wolek. Her most recent collaboration includes writing a string quartet for a student ensemble as part of the Chamber Music Institute hosted by the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in 2011. Freckmann attended the Czech-American Summer Music Institute (CASMI) in Prague with Ladislav Kubík in July 2009. She enthusiastically performs and promotes new music, and founded TUCHÉ (Trinity University Chamber Ensemble) in fall 2008. She has written a variety of solo, chamber and electroacoustic works, and completed her first orchestra piece. TUCHÉ formed a pit orchestra to perform incidental music she wrote for Trinity University main stage production of Booth. Her first electroacoustic composition, Remember From Womb You Came (2008) was selected for the 2008 SCI Student National Conference hosted at Ball State University, and the 2009 New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, where she was the youngest participant. Besides making music with her friends, Yvonne greatly enjoys swing dancing and cycling.

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