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About this Piece

You Have the Right to Remain Silent was inspired by an experience that the composer had in the 1970s. Anthony Davis was driving to Boston to attend a concert when he was stopped by a police officer. Davis notes, "He had turned on his siren and stopped my car. I was about to get out and ask him what was going on and that I didn't want to be late for my concert," Davis recalls. "But when my wife turned around, she told me to stay seated because the police officer was already pointing his gun at me." It later emerged that Davis had been mistaken for a bank robber. The piece begins with the lonely voice of the clarinet which is interrogated by the orchestra. Davis explores the emotional consequences of such a confrontation as the piece progresses, probing what happens to people who have to deal with the loss of their freedom, their family members, their community, or their lives.