I wrote Compassion shortly after 9/11. I was standing near the towers with my family when the first plane struck. It is impossible to describe the emotions of that day. Compassion is the first work that I wrote following this tragic event. I would go on to write two more works in response (Big Beautiful Dark and Scary and My Beautiful Scream.) Compassion was commissioned by pianist Sarah Cahill in honor of the composer Ruth Crawford Seeger. The name Ruth means compassion. The title is for her name, as well as a response to the time.