TITLE: Now It Can Be Told: The Unknown Irving Berlin
SPEAKER: Jeffrey Magee
EVENT DATE: 03/26/2009
FORMAT: Video + Captions
RUNNING TIME: 69 minutes
TRANSCRIPT: View Transcript (link will open in a new window)
The Music Division of the Library of Congress and the American Musicological Society, in joint partnership, presented the third in a series of lectures highlighting musicological research conducted in the division's collections. Jeffrey Magee presented "Now It Can Be Told: The Unknown Irving Berlin."
After Jerome Kern famously pronounced that "Irving Berlin is American music" in 1925, Berlin continued for several decades more to define many of America's most distinctive musical idioms, from Tin Pan Alley to Broadway to Hollywood. Berlin's death 20 years ago at the age of 101 accelerated an ever-expanding cottage industry of commentary, reflection and scholarship on a legendary figure.
In an effort to amplify patterns in Berlin's stage and screen career, the talk will aim to draw connections among unknown (or little-known) materials--including songs, scripts, "plot treatments," and other notable documents--and Berlin's better-known work.
Speaker Biography: Jeffrey Magee is an associate professor and chair of musicology at the School of Music in the College of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of "The Uncrowned King of Swing: Fletcher Henderson and Big Band Jazz" (Oxford, 2005), which won the Irving Lowens Award for Best Book in American Music from the Society for American Music, as well as an award for excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research from the Association for Recorded Sound Collections. He is now writing a book about Irving Berlin, which has been supported as a "We the People Project" of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Before joining the Illinois faculty, he taught at Indiana University (1997-2006), and served as executive editor of the score series "Music of the United States of America" (1993-97). He has been an editorial board member for American Music, the Journal of Musicology, Jazz Perspectives and the Center for Black Music Research, and is co-editor of the book series "Profiles in Popular Music" for Indiana University Press.