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Volume 16, No. 8 - November 30, 2009




One year later, Mumbai's spirit undimmed

By Shagorika Ghosh in MUMBAI, India -- For me, the 26th of November began as normally as any other.

I reached Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus, or CST, and then ran the short distance to my college, St. Xavier’s College.

At the end of the day, I walked back to CST and caught a train back home.

A scant five hours after I walked into the railway station, 52 people lay dead and more injured as two terrorists opened fire there before walking out to wreak more havoc on the city I love.

What followed was 60 hours of fear, anxiety, uncertainty and sheer terror as dozens of people were shot in some places and dozens of others held hostage in one of the city’s most famous landmarks: the Taj Hotel.

Altogether, the terrorists opened fire on eight places: CST, the Taj Hotel, Leopold Café, the Oberoi Trident, Nariman House, Cama Hospital, the lane behind St. Xavier’s College and Metro Cinema.

There was also random shooting on the roads as the terrorists managed to steal a police vehicle and shot at people walking on the streets.

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Metro Cinema in Mumbai

Shagorika Ghosh/Youth Journalism International








Bristow Middle School Band

Premiering a new piece

By Kiernan Majerus-Collins in WEST HARTFORD, Connecticut, U.S.A. When Bristow, a former slave in Colonial America, finished signing his will that deeded his property to his former owners, he probably never imagined that nearly 200 years later, a middle school band would perform music in his name.

But that’s exactly what happened.

Composer David Macbride honors Bristow in a new work, Bristow: A Life, which the Bristow Middle School’s seventh and eighth grade band premiered last May.

Bristow’s inspiring story of rising from slavery to being a landowner and a free man was the reason the new middle school in my town, Bristow Middle School, was named for him.

Bristow: A Life, was written for the school’s seventh and eighth grade band to play in the spring concert of my eighth grade year.

It’s an unusual piece. It has narration and is written in a contemporary style. It’s nothing like the marches, pop tunes or classical work that my band typically played.

Read whole story


-- NEWS --

Connecticut composers Robert Karl, a professor at the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford, and Neely Bruce, a professor at Wesleyan University. (Photo by Kiernan Majerus-Collin/

From opera to Jefferson, an American composer makes his mark

Turning pages for a musical genius

By Kiernan Majerus-Collins in MIDDLETOWN, Connecticut, U.S.A. -- With curly salt and pepper hair and a casual style, Neely Bruce looks like a composer. It’s no surprise he’s spent more than half his life as a composition professor at Wesleyan University.

Bruce, 65, who has a warm Southern charm to match his slight accent, started making music early in life.

“I started composing when I was nine years old,” he said outside an auditorium where an orchestra rehearsed his work. “By the age of 12, I wrote a suite of piano pieces.”  Read whole story


Bill of Rights set to music

By Kiernan Majerus-Collins in NEW LONDON, Connecticut, U.S.A.  It is unusual, to say the least, to set a government document to music.

But composer Neely Bruce pulled it off, when a packed audience at the historic Pequot Chapel at Mitchell College gave him a standing ovation after a spirited performance of  “The Bill of Rights: Ten Amendments in Eight Motets.”

Bruce used a variety of compositional techniques to make the piece work, including mirroring the style of music with the specific text that is sung at the same time.

In the part that covers the amendment prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment, there are “cruel and unusual dissonances that will punish your ears,” Bruce quipped, in his introductory remarks to the audience.

Bruce said a conversation with the late composer Henry Brant prompted him to write this unusual piece.

The two composers liked to walk and talk together, Bruce said. On one walk in 2005, Brant, who was then 90 years old, stopped him and asked, “Neely, what can we, as composers, do about the current political situation?”

In response, Bruce decided to put the Bill of Rights to music.  Read whole story


A can-do composer: Robert Carl

By Kiernan Majerus-Collins in WEST HARTFORD, Connecticut -- Composition Professor Robert Carl of the Hartt School at the University of Hartford, came to writing music late in the game.

“I started playing piano towards the end of high school,” Carl said. “I play piano, but I'm not a great performer.”

In fact, Carl didn't major in composition when he studied at Yale, but in American history.

But during Carl’s sophomore and junior year, Yale was celebrating the 100th birthday of Charles Ives – who many say was America’s greatest classical composer.

Around campus, musicians at Yale performed works written by Ives.

“I went to these concerts and I heard this amazing music and I sort of flipped out,” Carl said.

It inspired Carl to write his own music. Read whole story



-- PHOTO --

Nutmeg Symphony Orchestra rehearsing at St. Joseph College in West Hartford, Connecticut for a concert featuring the work of Connecticut composers Neely Bruce, Robert Carl and Charles Ives. (Kiernan Majerus-Collins/

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