Davitt Moroney
“Music has been used as political and emotional response to events throughout the centuries.”


davitt moroney

Davitt Moroney leads “Music’s Voice in a Violent World.”
Malcolm Crowthers photo

23 January 2002 | Student response was enthusiastic when Davitt Moroney, following Sept. 11, lectured on Bach’s response to grief and death through music.

Their reaction spurred Moroney to create a seminar: “Come Woeful Orpheus: Music’s Voice in a Violent World.” He hopes the class will help break down the stereotypes many have about the place of music in society.

“It’s so easy to think that what we do in the music department is apolitical, that we just sit in our corners playing or composing music, unconnected to real-world events,” said Moroney. “But music has been used as political and emotional response to events throughout the centuries, be it religious persecution, death, war or oppression.”

Each week, students go online — using the department’s Digital Music Network — to hear music composed between the 14th century and the present, then discuss them in class. He hopes students will better appreciate how music answers people’s needs in a time of bereavement.

Says Moroney, “Music can transform suffering using the powers of imagination, so that something beautiful can eventually come of it.”


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