You are on page 1of 2

19 Fulton Street, Suite 407

New York, NY 10038

Joan E. Bertin
Executive Director

tel: (212) 807-6222
fax: (212) 807-6245
email: ncac@ncac.org
web: www.ncac.org

NCAC PARTICIPATING
ORGANIZATIONS
Actors’ Equity Association
American Association of
School Administrators
American Association of
University Professors
American Association of
University Women

BY ELECTRONIC MAIL
To: Leslie J. Garfield
New York Youth Symphony
110 West 40th Street
Suite 1503
New York, NY 10018

American Booksellers Foundation
for Free Expression
American Civil Liberties Union
American Ethical Union
American Federation of Teachers
American Jewish Committee
American Library Association
American Literary Translators
Association
American Orthopsychiatric Association

March 5, 2015
Dear Mr. Garfield and Members of the Board of Trustees,

American Society of Journalists
& Authors
Americans United for Separation of
Church & State
Association of American Publishers
Authors Guild

As organizations dedicated to artistic freedom, we are writing to urge you to reverse
the last minute decision to cancel the Sunday Carnegie Hall performance of Jonas
Tarm’s "Marsh u Nebuttya" ("March to Oblivion") and proceed with the program as
previously planned.

Catholics for Choice
Children’s Literature Association
College Art Association
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
The Creative Coalition
Directors Guild of America
Dramatists Guild of America

Our understanding is that the NYYS removed the commissioned piece from the
Sunday program after receiving complaints about the inclusion of a very short
musical quote from a notorious march used by the Nazis.

Dramatists Legal Defense Fund
Educational Book & Media Association
First Amendment Lawyers Association
International Reading Association
Lambda Legal

While some members of the audience may have traumatic associations with the
march, the same might be true of any artwork referencing painful moments in
history. Indeed, Tarm described his piece to the New York Times as being about
“conflict… totalitarianism… and polarizing nationalism.” Were we to cut from the
cultural repertory all work that speaks to the experience of traumatic historical events
would imperil our understanding of not only the past, but also of our political
present.

Modern Language Association
National Center for Science Education
National Communication Association
National Council for the Social Studies
National Council of Churches
National Council of Jewish Women
National Council of Teachers of English
National Education Association
National Youth Rights Association
The Newspaper Guild/CWA
PEN American Center

For a talented young composer – and for the young musicians in the symphony - to
receive the message that a work can be arbitrarily suppressed for its content goes
against the precious principles of free speech that distinguish our society from the
totalitarian regimes (Nazi and Soviet) referenced in “Marsh u Nebuttya."

People For the American Way

We understand that the NYYS was concerned about the reactions of the audience,
and may have initially decided that removing the piece from the program would
resolve the problem. As organizations that work with censorship controversies on a
daily basis, however, we assure you that suppressing controversial work is never a
good solution.

Society of Children’s Book Writers
& Illustrators

There is nothing that can damage the credibility of a cultural institution as much as
act of censorship. Cultural institutions can play a crucial role in promoting
understanding and peaceful dialogue in a world of conflict, but only if they stand up

United Methodist Church
United Methodist Communications

Planned Parenthood Federation
of America
Project Censored
SAG-AFTRA
Sexuality Information & Education
Council of the U.S.

Student Press Law Center
Union for Reform Judaism
Union of Democratic Intellectuals
Unitarian Universalist Association
United Church of Christ
Office of Communication

Women’s American ORT
Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance
Writers Guild of America, East
Writers Guild of America, West

to pressure groups from all sides.
We hope that you will seize the opportunity to reverse this hasty decision to remove the Jonas Tarm's piece
from the program and find other ways to address audience concerns: a talk-back with the composer or other
musicians, for instance, would give a space for audience members to express their concerns in ways more
productive than a demand for silence.
Sincerely,
National Coalition Against Censorship (New York)
ARTICLE19 (London)
Index on Censorship (London)
Ligue des droits de l’Homme (LDH) (Paris)
The Dramatists Guild (New York)
Dramatists Legal Defense Fund (New York)
Freemuse (Copenhagen)
PEN American Center (New York)
Student Press Law Center (Washington, D.C.)
American Booksellers For Free Expression

Cc: Shauna Quill
Executive Director
New York Youth Symphony