Barnes’s music has been featured at festivals and concert series in North America, Europe and Asia. His music has been described by the New York Times as “finely sensitive” and by the Village Voice as “Lovely and remarkably controlled in its performance.” He is the recipient of the Cleveland Orchestra Premier Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Composer Fellowship, 25 ASCAP awards and a Bingham Fellowship for excellence in teaching at Transylvania.
“When I began writing the piece in early 2001, its title was intended solely as a metaphor for the explosive nature of the work,” said Barnes. “Of course, both the title and music took on a new meaning after the nation was plunged into vulnerability on September 11. ‘Toccata: Act of War’ is passionate, barbaric, moody and impulsive. Bursting with anger, its pent-up rage is only briefly interrupted by moments of lyricism. The brief central core is a respite from this turmoil, but it cannot last, just as the realization of a world forever changed by the tragedies of September 11, 2001, cannot be erased.”
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