Kay Gardner (1941–2002) — Lament for the Thousands (2001) for organ
Kay Gardner (1941–2002) was an American composer who was one of the first serious artists in the “sound healing” movement, beginning with her ground-breaking 1975 recording “Mooncircles.” Educated at the University of Michigan and SUNY Stony Brook, Gardner’s instrument was the flute. Since the early 1970s, she was a pioneer and champion of women’s music and founded several festivals and performance organizations devoted to women performers and composers. Gardner’s compositions are clear and direct in style: full of modal melodies and drones, with influences from world music. In addition to numerous compositions for vocal, chamber, and orchestral forces, Gardner also authored “Sounding the Inner Landscape: Music as Medicine”, an extensive book summarizing her work in sound healing drawing on Eastern and Western philosophy, physics, and empirical evidence.
“Lament for the Thousands” (2001) was Gardner’s final composition, written in late September and “dedicated to the thousands who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.” Originally composed for organ, Gardner orchestrated the work, and after her own untimely death in August 2002, the Bangor (Maine) Symphony premiered the work in her memory on October 13, 2002.