Peace Symphony
By Paul D. Miller

Paul D. Miller’s “Peace Symphony” was composed after he interviewed atomic bomb survivors in Japan. As part of Far Futures, he revisited that work, creating a reimagined section from that longer piece with the post-nuclear weapons future of 2095 in mind. 

Composition: Paul D. Miller
Violin: Tim Fain
Voice: Robert Oppenheimer
Poster: Paul D. Miller

Copyright © 2024, Paul D. Miller. This work is made available under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).

Artist Statement

When the Peace Symphony project was initially set up, I wanted to have a sweeping sense of history and how that history would inform the music. There have been other projects that reflect this approach, most notably Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki’s epic 1961 composition, Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima. I went to Hiroshima and visited the Peace Museum and the Hiroshima Peace Institute; I met with eight Hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) and listened to their stories. The inspiration for this composition came from them and also from the legendary scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer, who once wrote: “Both the man of science and the man of art live always at the edge of mystery, surrounded by it; both always, as to the measure of their creation, have had to do with the harmonization of what is new with what is familiar, with the balance between novelty and synthesis, with the struggle to make partial order in total chaos.” 

Oppenheimer was inspired as much by the 700 verses of the Bhagavad Ghita texts as he was by the deepest teachings of physics. I play with that tension as a central motif in this reapproached excerpt from the original Peace Symphony. My composition is a reflection of the world I come from: urban, cosmopolitan, defined by a robust exchange between cultures and above all radically inclusive. Music is a mirror we hold up to society to see what possibilities reflect back. I hope you enjoy the work.

About Paul D. Miller

​​Paul D. Miller (he/him), aka DJ Spooky, is currently Artist in Residence at Yale University’s Center for Collaborative Arts and Media. He is a composer, multimedia artist, and writer whose work engages audiences in a blend of genres, global culture, and environmental and social issues. Miller has collaborated with an array of recording artists, including Ryuichi Sakamoto, Metallica, Chuck D from Public Enemy, Steve Reich, and Yoko Ono amongst many others. His 2018 album, DJ Spooky Presents: Phantom Dancehall, debuted at #3 on Billboard Reggae. His large-scale, multimedia performance pieces include Rebirth of a Nation; Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica, commissioned by the Brooklyn Academy of Music; and Seoul Counterpoint, written during his 2014 residency at Seoul Institute of the Arts. His multimedia project Sonic Web premiered at San Francisco’s Internet Archive in 2019. He was the inaugural artist-in-residency at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s The Met Reframed, 2012-2013.

In 2014, Miller was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer. He produced Pioneers of African American Cinema, a collection of the earliest films made by African American directors, released in 2015. His artwork has appeared in the Whitney Biennial, The Venice Biennial for Architecture, the Miami/Art Basel fair, and many other museums and galleries. His books include the award-winning Rhythm Science, published by MIT Press in 2004; Sound Unbound, an anthology about digital music and media; The Book of Ice, a visual and acoustic portrait of the Antarctic; and The Imaginary App, on how apps changed the world. His writing has been published by The Village Voice, The Source, and Artforum, and he was the first founding executive editor of Origin Magazine.

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