What work of art, music, science, mathematics, or literature has surprised,
unsettled, or challenged you, and in what way?
When playing in the concert band at my high school, every piece we played would be a new encounter, an entirely new entity, but usually they had many similarities and could easily be written off as boring, classical music by those who don't appreciate it, which I must admit, is a category that used to include me. But, in my junior year we played a piece which undermined all of these expectations I had previously held to a classical piece of music. This work was called "Asphalt Cocktail". The day our conductor told us we would play this song, he played it for us on through his speakers, and the whole class was blown away, almost speechless. It was a very modern song, and had been written less than a year before we played it. The composer of the piece described it a way that embodies it entirely. He said "Picture the scariest NYC taxi ride you can imagine, with the cab skidding around turns as trucks bear down from all sides." This is exactly what the piece was like, with its blaring brass section, and screeching woodwinds, pounding away at the many interwoven melodies and countermelodies. I played bass trombone for our performance of this song, and I was allowed to do things that I had never done before on the trombone. It was my experience with flutter tonguing, but I was also allowed to virtually overpower the rest of the band at some parts, which was a great experience because I am usually told to quiet down. After, we played this piece in one concert, the whole ensemble begged our conductor to let us play it again, and he consented. I would say it was the most memorable work of music, not only for me, but for the rest of my colleagues as well; that it just how much it defied all expectations.