Music and PTSD – in concert
A new music work exploring post-war PTSD is one of the unexpected offerings in a programme of premieres on Sunday 16 August at 2pm when the University of Canterbury (UC) School of Music presents Arts Centre Chamber Series – cLoud Collective in the Great Hall of the Arts Centre on Sunday 16 August.
Alex van den Broek is a UC Music graduate, performer, and composer.
While researching PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), van den Broek found a video of war veteran Sgt. Jimmy Massey on Youtube and sought approval to use an audio sample in his composition. He hopes that the work will make the audience think about the ramifications of war and about peace advocacy.
A previous work piece of his, Order 81, was about war profiteering in the aftermath of the Iraq war. Order 81 refers to one of the 100 laws that were implemented in Iraq by the Iraq Coalition Provisional Authority.
Contemporary music is a vehicle for exploring these issues. “Art is not only a personal expression, it’s an expression of society at that time,” van den Broek says. “It helps us to understand what it means to be part of humankind. It’s imperative that art is continually created so we can keep up the conversation about being human on a deeper level.”
“I always start with something that I feel strongly about. Most of the time this is a musical sound. It could be a melody, chord or specific musical texture. I’ll need to draw endless inspiration from this starting point so it’s important I start with something strong. Even this piece, (After War) which is about something specific, started with a melody and a set of chords.”