by Max Brantley
The school is in the process of commissioning the composer Tania León and the scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. to create a work about the incident, and hopes to present the premiere in September 2017, around the 60th anniversary of the events.
Rollin Potter, the former dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communications at the university, began the commissioning process and agreed to stay on to see it through. He said on Tuesday that he had selected Ms. León to compose the work after reviewing recordings by several composers with members of the music faculty. Ms. León brought Mr. Gates into the project as its librettist.
“I watched the integration of Central High School on TV with my parents when I was 7 years old,” Mr. Gates said, “and those images have stuck with me. Horrific things for a child to see. I wrote about it in ‘Colored People,’ which is a memoir on my childhood, before I went off to Yale. So this is quite exciting to me.”