Like many, our minds are consumed today by Pittsburgh. By now, we all know the extent of the tragedy. And if we are honest with ourselves, we also know it’s not the last time we’ll gather in collective grief over something so pointless and inexplicable.
It seems relevant to note that the Milken Archive understands Jewish culture as intimately and inextricably connected to America and the world. We do not document a culture that lives in a vacuum, but one that thrives precisely because of its connectedness. Several of the composers in our collection, and a great many of the artists who have contributed to our work, are not Jewish. Indeed, many of our recordings were made in Germany, with German musicians and ensembles. Collaboration in pursuit of a goal—artistic or otherwise—is not an aberration. It’s the norm.
Pittsburgh native and composer David Stock understood that. His career was defined by reaching out and taking risks. He cofounded the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble to champion musical exploration and to give a stage to those who dared to do so. He believed in community, and he understood his identity as part of the multicultural fabric that America has always been. It’s something worth remembering as we approach his third yahrzeit this Friday.
The yizkor memorial service has traditionally been observed with respect to one’s parents, but it can be observed in memory of others as well. So it seems fitting to offer a musical yizkor of David’s that he composed for a close friend and colleague, and that the Milken Archive recorded, in 1999. It’s a small gesture. But we live in a world where small gestures—like words—matter. May we all remember Pittsburgh.
Playlist also available on our Spotify channel