Music for the Library of Congress Bicentennial
three-year series of concerts, recordings, and educational programs
was launched with the 1999-2000 concert season. Taking its title
from Walt Whitman's poem "I Hear America Singing," the Bicentennial
music series explores America's musical heritage from colonial days
to the end of the 20th century. This nationally significant series
will be excerpted for radio broadcast nationally and internationally,
with selected events also available via cybercast.
World's Greatest Collection of American Music Comes
music collection of the Library of Congress demonstrates its commitment
to preserving American culture for future generations. Annually,
the Library presents a wide range of events, embracing chamber music,
jazz, dance, and American music theater. Performances in the "Concerts
from the Library of Congress" series are based on the collections
of the Library's Music Division, and often feature commissioned
works by some of the nation's most distinguished composers. Presentations
to mark the Library's Bicentennial celebration bring to life selections
from a variety of genres spanning America's history.
has marked the triumphs and defeats and the joys and sorrows of
American life. From Stephen Foster to Steven Sondheim, from minstrel
to Motown, from Yiddish theater music to Broadway musicals, the
series highlights the popular songs that have consoled, amused and
series presents a rich repertory of sacred music in tribute to the
principle of religious freedom on which America was founded. Included
will be the hallowed hymns of the Bay Psalm Book (the first book
printed in North America), deeply expressive African-American spirituals
and gospel songs, and the sacred-harp traditions of the countryside.
the advent of recording and broadcasting, Americans learned the
classics from touring performances of the great wind ensembles of
Gilmore, Sousa and others. The series includes marching band compositions
that have delighted audiences from the Revolutionary period through
the brass bands of the Civil War era to the U. S. Marine Band today.
the nation's thriving social and musical organizations are many
choruses and glee clubs whose repertories were built by some unsung
heroes of our culture--composers and arrangers whose art taught
us to sing popular folk and theater music during our school years.
In addition to the performance of classics from this choral music
tradition, a cantata on the artistic partnership of Jenny Lind and
Phineas T. Barnum, "Barnum's Bird," has been commissioned
by the Library of Congress and the Plymouth Music Series of Minnesota.
growing interest in chamber music has been nurtured by the popular
concert series of the Library of Congress. The Library is adding to
the great body of its now-famous commissions with four newly commissioned
fanfares in honor of Aaron Copland's centennial. The Library has partnered
with National Public Radio in broadcasting an all-Copland concert
by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra on Copland's birthday, November 14th.
Americanization of European Music
great American compositions were written by immigrants. The works
of Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Hindemith, and others are being revisited
in the Americanization of European Music series. Chopin, Verdi,
and European composers who influenced Walt Whitman and his contemporaries
are also being performed.
Voice: Rhythm and Blues, Country, Rock & Roll to Rap
three-year Bicentennial celebration explores the mosaic of musical
expression that is uniquely American--jazz and its birth from ragtime
and rhythm and blues; a scholarly look at the country and western
music of America's heartland; the African American contribution
to American popular music; and the explosion of rock and roll, rap
and other musical genres that continue to dominate the international
wealth of folk music by Native Americans, coal miners and blues
singers, among others, has been recorded in the field under the
auspices of the Library of Congress since 1928. The recordings have
inspired composers and performers from Burl Ives to Harry Bellafonte.
Concerts performed by talented artists celebrate this monumental
legacy, the fruit of the collective efforts of such pioneers as
John and Alan Lomax.
Library's newly refurbished Coolidge Auditorium, renowned for its
acoustics and as the birthplace of America's chamber music renaissance,
is the site of the Bicentennial music series, I Hear America
Singing. The Coolidge has seen legendary performances by the
Budapest Quartet, Leonard Bernstein, George Szell and other greats.
It also hosted the world premieres of Copland's Appalachian Spring,
Stravinsky's Apollo and many of the masterpieces of 20th century
Widening World: Music and Media
Based on works by Euripides and Aeschylus, composer Roger Reynolds'
multi-media opera, Justice, explores the combination of the
human voice with multitrack electronic playback equipment. Justice
features appearances by acclaimed soprano Lauren Flanagan and actors
from Japan's Tadashi Suzuki Company of Toga. The presentation takes
place in the extraordinary space of the Great Hall.
Music Division of the Library of Congress
Bicentennial music series is being presented by the Music Division
of the Library of Congress, which was inducted into the Cincinnati
Classical Music Hall of Fame in April 1999, and received the ASCAP-Chamber
Music America award for adventurous programming for its concert
series in 1997-98.
the performances of I Hear America Singing during the 1999-2000
season were Bobby Short & His Orchestra featuring songs by Cole
Porter, Richard Rodgers, Jerome Kern, and Harold Arlen. New York
Festival of Song artists John Hancock, Judy Kaye, and Jennifer Aylmer,
with pianists Michael Barret and Steven Blier, presented an evening
of snapshots by the "Great American Songwriting Teams."
The season's finale celebrated the 70th birthday of Stephen Sondheim
with performances of his favorite songs by guest artists and Mr.
Sondheim's personal commentary and a concert version of the 1974
musical, The Frogs, based on a comedy by Aristophanes.
Hear America Singing" concerts during the 2000-2001 season
include the Copland Centennial Concerts and live NPR broadcast;
music of the trumpeter-composer Dave Douglas; a commission by Don
Byron; the music of Irving Fine; and a new song cycle by William
Bolcom, bringing to life an imaginative re-creation of a complex,
vital Sally Hemings.