July 18, 2020
At Re:Charge, a concert designed for socially distanced audience and performers, there was an intense instant where the music and the cultural moment intersected profoundly. Pianist Joseph Jevanni Billups and cellist Yamilet Trujillo performed "Duet for Heart and Breath," a piece that calls for the pianist to use a stethoscope to play in time with their heartbeat, while the cellist plays in time with their breath. Billups, a Black man, wore a shirt that read "Get yo knee off my neck." The delicate, plaintive music was given entirely new meaning as the country reeled from the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor while tens of thousands of Americans died alone on ventilators. Painful but cathartic.