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April 24, 2001
Classical, Jazz, and Pop Music Come Together in Genre-Defying Concert at Library of Congress
Don Byron Performs May 4 in Coolidge Auditorium
Robert Schumann, Leonard Bernstein, Stevie Wonder and Roy Orbison are among the composers rubbing elbows in an eclectic, boundary-blurring May 4 concert at the Library of Congress, spearheaded by virtuoso clarinetist and jazz scholar Don Byron.
Dubbed "one of modern music's most challenging tricksters," Mr. Byron will join a sextet of colleagues in performing music from his current album, A Fine Line: Arias and Lieder, a provocative mix of classical pieces such as Puccini's "Nessun Dorma" and works by such popular composers as Stephen Sondheim and Henry Mancini.
The concert will take place Friday, May 4, at 8 p.m., in the Coolidge Auditorium, and will also feature the world premiere of Byron's violin-and-piano work, "Spin," commissioned by the McKim Fund in the Library of Congress. Funding for the concert is also provided by the Isenbergh Clarinet Fund.
In addition, as part of his spring residency at the Library, Mr. Byron will present a special evening on jazz in film, illustrated by clips from his personal collection. The screening will take place Thursday, May 3, at 7 p.m., in the Mary Pickford Theater, on the third floor of the Library's James Madison Building. No tickets are required for the jazz film event; seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis in the 64-seat theater.
Since the release of his groundbreaking 1992 debut recording, Tuskegee Experiments, Don Byron has been consistently hailed as one of the best, most innovative clarinetists in today's music. Named "Jazz Artist of the Year" by Down Beat magazine, Mr. Byron has also won widespread critical praise for his unique and far-reaching musical aesthetic, which embraces artists as diverse as Igor Stravinsky, Marvin Gaye and Nirvana. The New York Times wrote: "Every time Mr. Byron revisits the music of a neglected jazz figure or mixes hip-hop with jazz ... he's not only charting new musical territory but he's acting as an undercover critic trying to re- write the music's history."
Mr. Byron served for four seasons as artistic director of jazz at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, where he curated the renowned Next Wave Festival, and his music has been featured in the films "Kansas City" and "Lulu on the Bridge."
The Don Byron concert and discussion are part of the Library's "I Hear America Singing" celebration, an ongoing series of concerts, commissions, recordings, and educational programs that explore the breadth and significance of music in America from Colonial days to the end of the 20th century. Future "I Hear America Singing" concerts will feature noted bandmaster Frederick Fennell conducting marches by John Philip Sousa in a program of wind ensemble music and works by other American composers including Irving Fine, Kui Dong, Steven Mackey, George Edwards, and Andrew Imbrie.
The Byron jazz-in-film discussion is free of charge. Tickets for the Byron concert will be distributed by TicketMaster at (301) 808-6900 and (410) 752-1200. Each ticket will carry a nominal service charge of $2, with additional charges for phone orders and handling. Tickets are also available at TicketMaster outlets. Although the supply of tickets may be exhausted, there are often empty seats at concert time. Interested patrons are encouraged to come to the Library by 6:30 p.m. on concert night to wait in the standby line for no-show tickets.
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