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From Zoom Opera to Virtual HS Musical - Composers Find Meaning in the Age of Covid-19

The Western musical canon is filled with works composed during the throes of historical events or inspired by them years later - think of Beethoven's Third Symphony, Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, Britten's War Requiem, or Shostakovich's Leningrad Symphony. Even after 9-11, composers gradually began processing the tragedy of the lives lost through music. Now, as we ride out the Covid-19 epidemic in quarantine, composers have begun capturing the mood, the emotion and the new realities of the times to create new works - and with the added accessibility of technology, to share them with the rest of us, just barely three months into the U.S. lockdown.

Performers in "All Decisions Will Be Made By Consensus," an opera performed on Zoom.

A Tempo this week looks at three such projects this Saturday (5/9 at 7 pm). Host Rachel Katz speaks with composer Kamala Sankaram, whose Zoom-based opera "All Decisions Will be Made by Consensus" debuted online in April, Denver Casado, who composed the music to "The Show Must Go Online" to give school theater students a musical they could produce online, and José Luis Domínguez, artistic director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Youth Orchestras, who wrote "Gratias Tibi" for the NJSO and Montclair State University Singers to honor frontline workers in the Covid-19 crisis. 

Credit Fred Stucker
Composer José Luis Domínguez, artistic director of the NJSO Youth Orchestras, wrote a work thanking frontline workers in the Covid-19 epidemic that will be performed by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and Montclair State University Singers

Rachel Katz is the host of A Tempo which airs Saturdays at 7 pm.