Cincinnati Symphony spotlights racism in criminal-justice system with “You Have the Right to Remain Silent”

Posted on: November 23, 2020

“There’s power in silence. There is protest, peace and sometimes, protection. For the musicians of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, silence has taken on all kinds of new meanings during the COVID-19 shutdown,” writes Julie Coppens in Wednesday’s (11/18) WXVU radio (Cincinnati). “ ‘When you cannot communicate with music, then you realize what a privilege it is,’ [says] Louis Langrée, music director of the CSO and conductor of this weekend’s digital performance, featuring Schubert’s ‘Unfinished’ Symphony, Julia Perry’s enigmatic ‘Homunculus C.F.,’ and [Anthony Davis’s] stunning clarinet concerto called ‘You Have the Right to Remain Silent’ [featuring New York Philharmonic Principal Clarinet] Anthony McGill…. ‘You Have the Right to Remain Silent’ handed McGill some new challenges: it’s his first major performance on the … contra-alto clarinet; his first time improvising a solo against a Kurzweil synthesizer … and a rare musical exploration of racism in the American criminal justice system.… ‘The power of this piece … is that it uses autobiography, it speaks about racism, etc., but it speaks to anybody,’ says McGill. ‘Anyone, of any color, has felt menaced by something or someone… We are all together, we are all united, and together we should build a better world.’ ”