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Luther College professor composes a piece inspired by George Floyd

Posted: Wed, Dec 9, 2020 2:21 PM

Luther College music professor Brooke Joyce, the school's composer in residence, has composed a piece titled "He Hung His Head and Died (12 Variations for George Floyd)."

The piece will be premiered by the Unison Piano Duo at noon Wednesday, December 16th, on Iowa Public Radio's "Steinway Café."  The Unison Piano Duo,  comprising Luther professors of music Du Huang and Xiao Hu, will premiere the piece from Luther's Jenson-Noble Hall of Music.

Of Floyd's death, Joyce says, "His death and the circumstances surrounding it shook me to my core.  Not only was the act horrific, but the bystanders felt they were powerless to stop it. I couldn't think about anything else for a few days, and it became clear to me that music was a way for me to process what happened."

The piece was inspired by the African American spiritual "He Never Said a Mumblin' Word" and comes to a total length of almost exactly the eight minutes and forty-six seconds Derek Chauvin held his knee to Floyd's neck.