As founder and president of Meet the Composer, now New Music USA, John Duffy initiated countless landmark programs to advance American music to aid American composers. As composer, John wrote more than 300 works for symphony orchestra, theater, television and film. His music has earned many awards including two Emmys, an ASCAP award for special recognition in film and television music, a New York State Governor’s Art Award and the (New York City) Mayor’s Award of Honor for Arts and Culture. He served as a long-time member of ACO’s Composer Advisory Board.
John was a giant. So much of what we know today as “The New Music Movement” was a direct result of John’s vision and passion. His was a presence that will be sorely missed.
Here is an especially poignant moment in John’s Time for Remembrance from an ACO concert in May of 1993:
John Duffy’s program note for Time for Remembrance:
Since childhood, I’ve had a love affair with the United States. It grows stronger with age. It thrills me to fly across the USA. The sight of American earth, mountains, plains, lakes, oceans, cities, and towns inspire me, as do the people. Whether it’s San Francisco, Moab, Utah, or Troy, New York, I’m eager and excited to embrace the place.
When I was asked to compose music for the Fiftieth Anniversary Commemoration of Pearl Harbor, these feelings of attachment and love swelled in my heart. A Time for Remembrance is the result of months of research, of reading countless poems, stories, news reports, and letters. My own family was scarred by the war. A sister, a cousin dead. A brother wounded. Yet A Time for Remembrance is for all the victims of war regardless of nationality. For death and violence do not distinguish, nor weigh merit. And war is the cruelest folly.