“We need to look at the timelessness in the souls of seniors and look past the physical body,” reflects renowned composer Matthew Ferraro as he speaks about his impressions of the over 300 people that he has interviewed for his current project, Tension of Opposites. The large-scale contemporary work is being written for symphony, orchestra, mixed chorus, tape and soloists, and is a form of orchestral journalism incorporating the spoken word as a musical element. By exposing the emotional content of life, the project explores the similarities and differences between the opposite events that we experience as human beings. Is the sound of laughing and crying closer than we think; What about wealthy and poor, triumph and tragedy and life and death?
Ferraro recently visited the Center for Healthy Aging in Santa Monica to gather insight for the fifth movement of his piece, which focuses on the dichotomy of old age and youth. Said Ferraro, “To gather the actual words that will be used as voiceover to weave this musical tapestry, I asked the seniors a variety of questions… What do you dream about, and What was your journey to school like? These questions in particular unleash a flood of memories that are very insightful and revealing of the person’s past.”
“Seniors are a goldmine of information and experience. They are incredibly engaging, and they impart wisdom in a beautiful and lovely manner – poetic in nature. Some folks have such a great sense of humor, really, really funny. They are so refreshing in their directness. There sometimes is an expression of ‘who cares,’ and you know what, they’ve earned that right,” Ferraro reflected. “I want to remind people about the generation that is being forgotten, and I will use their words as voiceover to the music to tell their story.”
In addition to his diverse jazz and classical compositions, Matthew Ferraro has composed and produced original soundtracks for numerous national advertising campaigns as well as film and television projects. Some of his credits include music for the TV. series Dune, mini-series Anne Frank: The Whole Story and he also scored the movie trailer and accompanying video game music for Spiderman, X-Men, and Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report, to name a few.
Tension of Opposites will remind us that seniors are young souls in ever-changing bodies. It is so valuable to engage them on deep and meaningful levels so that their stories will be part of our important history.
The Center for Healthy Aging is a nonprofit organization serving seniors and their families since 1976 in Santa Monica and the Westside. For more information, call 310.576.2550 or go to centerforhealthyaging.org.