Marsh u Nebuttya/March to Oblivion
Artist: Jonas Tarm
Date of Action: March 3, 2015
Region: North America
Location: Carnegie Hall
Confronting Bodies: New York Youth Symphony
Description of Artwork: The piece was composed by Jonas Tarm, a 21-year-old junior at the New England Conservatory in Boston. The piece includes a 45-second musical reference to a World War II-era German theme that was deemed offensive. Tarm’s composition about the horrors of war and totalitarianism also contains references to Soviet-era music.
The Incident: The NYYS received the score six months ago and has been rehearsing it for more than three months. The piece premiered at a performance at United Palace Theater on February 22. It was only after that performance that NYYS became aware of the reference to the Nazi-era theme. A March 2 letter from NYYS to Tarm explained that the “content of your piece… is unacceptable for further performance by a youth symphony for the reasons we discussed.” NYYS Executive Director Shauna Quill confirmed the inclusion of the Nazi theme–which was offensive to some audience members– as the reason for canceling.
Results of Incident: The performance was cancelled.