Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940, Jill Brett (202) 707-2905
May 19, 1993
Library of Congress Acquires Charles Mingus Collection
When: Tuesday, June 1, noon
Where: Dining Room A (yellow core), 6th floor, James Madison
Memorial Building, 101 Independence Avenue, S.E.
The Library of Congress will announce the acquisition of the Charles Mingus Collection at a press conference scheduled for June 1. The comprehensive collection, which includes original manuscripts, scores, recordings, photographs and other materials, was purchased last year from the composer's widow, Sue Graham Mingus, the director of Let My Children Hear Music, the Charles Mingus Institute. Mrs. Mingus will speak at the press conference, along with jazz scholar Andrew Homzy.
Mrs. Mingus called the acquisition of the Mingus Collection by the Library of Congress "a landmark event and a welcome recognition not only of one of America's great composers but of its own musical heritage."
Charles Mingus is considered to be one of America's greatest composers among such innovators as Charles Ives, George Gershwin, and Duke Ellington. Born in Nogales, Arizona, on April 22, 1922, Mingus was the child of a family that included African-American, English, Chinese, Swedish, and possibly Scottish parentage. From his first known compositions (ca. 1939) to his last, Mingus drew on his own rich cultural heritage and created a body of work that contributes to the definition of American music.
Like Ives, Gershwin, and Ellington, Mingus developed an immediately recognizable style by demanding a performance practice specific to his music. As a composer, Mingus recognized all styles of music as a resource and integrated improvising soloists into the fabric of his compositions.
The Mingus Collection consists of original manuscripts, arranger's scores, instrumental parts, recordings, literary manuscripts, photographs and other documents. The scores and parts, as well as many of the recordings, represent both a working library of performing materials and a unique collection documenting his working methods.
Researchers and scholars will be able to use the collection, once it is fully processed, in the Music Division and the Recorded Sound Reference Center, part of the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division.
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