The horrific events of September 11th were shocking and unexpected enough - mammoth enough - to throw me into thoughts and feelings that have really surprised me, and still do. The most immediate sensation was of how fortunate we are in our society and daily lives, of how much I tend to take for granted. What I hope for the future of music, for my music, for humanistic uses of technology, for the integration of creativity and imagination into everyday life, and most importantly for the unbridled development of my daughters, ages seven and four, and of all children – all of this is built upon a stable world, a generally caring and enlightened environment. Now this whole structure appears to be more fragile than I ever realized; a return to the chaos of Germany in the 1930s or of Rome before its fall does not seem totally absurd. Faced with this terrible thought, I first found myself feeling powerless, both in my art and also in my ability to protect my children physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It is now exactly two weeks after the disaster, and I have gotten back to work (somewhat distractedly) and see that my kids are doing fine – in fact, I suspect that they have given me more strength during this crisis than I have given them. And while I usually pride myself on being relatively thoughtful about weeding out inessentials, I've woken up abruptly to the shallow ring of many activities: too many meetings, too much e-mail, too much thought about surface perception and reception, too much interest in technology for its own sake. My only desire now is to spend time with loved ones, and to focus on the human messages in my compositions. Music is so powerful because it simultaneously stimulates many thoughts and feelings; the better it is, the less polemical, and the more likely to open sensitivities that make one aware of life's complexities. This subtle approach to life is what we now need to embrace, and using our music to touch others with this quality is something that we can do, that we must do. The events of September 11th have made me think hard about what really matters, and have renewed my conviction that by pursuing these essentials each of us can indeed make small, positive changes in the world. These changes alone may not be enough to save us, but without them – without trying – we are surely lost.