The Day the Music Began

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Legendary composer Leonard Bernstein once said, “This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before” (Leonard Bernstein Quotes). This statement describes the exact response of musicians to the assassination of the young American President, John F. Kennedy. Toward the end of his third year of presidency, Kennedy was shot and killed in a parade in Dallas, Texas. Americans were shocked to have lost such a promising young leader, and a somber silence swept across the nation as Americans lamented his death; this silence, however, was broken by the melancholy music of mourning (Baldacci). The assassination of President John F. Kennedy started a new movement of music that was inspired by the tragedy and differed in structure from previous music.
November 22, 1963, the day President Kennedy was assassinated, is occasionally referred to as “the day the music stopped”, but in reality the music had just begun (Baldacci). Approximately 2,500 people were attending a Boston Symphony Orchestra concert when they heard the news of their leader’s passing. After many gasps the audience stood in hushed reverence for their fallen president, and the musicians began to perform a movement from Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony: a funeral march (Inverne). This moment is now one of the most famous events in the history of classical music; it is a moment that launched a new era of music.
The tragedy of Kennedy’s assassination inspired a

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