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February 8, 2012
New Endowment to Support Contemporary Music Launches at the Library of Congress
The Library of Congress will inaugurate The Dina Koston and Roger Shapiro Fund for New Music with a two-day tribute to the distinguished pianist and composer Dina Koston on March 7 and 8. The endowment will support commissions of new works and performances at the Library.
"We are grateful for this significant bequest from Dina Koston, a friend of the Library of Congress for many years," said Susan H. Vita, chief of the Library's Music Division. "Her gift greatly increases our ability to continue the Library's longstanding support for the creators of new music. We look forward to several new commissions and concerts in the near future and also to a week-long residency for [composer] John Adams here in spring 2013, made possible by this new endowment."
On March 7, the Library will launch the fund with a unique program pairing Samuel Beckett’s haunting and rarely seen play, "Ohio Impromptu," with a performance of Koston’s last work, "Distant Intervals," inspired by the play. Award-winning actor Ted van Griethuysen stars. The New York-based Cygnus Ensemble, headed by William Anderson, will produce the evening in cooperation with the Library.
In addition to "Distant Intervals," the Cygnus Ensemble will also perform Koston’s "A Short Tale," Chester Biscardi's "Resisting Stillness," Ferrucio Busoni’s "Berceuse élégiaque," David Claman’s "Gone for Foreign" and Frank Brickle’s "Farai un vers." The concert also includes the world premiere of a new work – Mario Davidovsky's "Ladino Songs," commissioned for the occasion.
The performance will be preceded by a talk with Joy Zinoman, who is directing the play, about the Library’s production of "Ohio Impromptu," presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.
The launch of the new fund continues on March 8 with "Liebeslieder, Ligeti and Koston," an evening with master pianist Leon Fleisher performing with his wife, Katherine Jacobson Fleisher and musicians from the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University. Fleisher has curated a special program illustrating his long musical friendship with Koston, choosing two composers she greatly admired. The featured works are Johannes Brahms’s "Liebeslieder Waltzes" for vocal quartet and piano, four hands, op. 52; György Ligeti’s "Aventures" and "Nouvelles Aventures," both written for three voices and seven instruments; and a work Koston wrote for Fleisher – "Messages," for solo piano. Fleisher will speak at a pre-concert presentation with soprano Phyllis Bryn-Julson about their collaboration with Koston in many years of concerts with the Theater Chamber Players.
The Library’s newly established Dina Koston and Roger Shapiro Fund for New Music honors the life and legacy of noted composer and pianist Dina Koston, known for her integrity as a performer and presenter. With Leon Fleisher, she co-founded and co-directed the Theater Chamber Players (1968-2003), the first resident chamber ensemble of the Smithsonian Institution, and later, the first resident chamber ensemble of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Koston received commissions from The Library of Congress, the Wolf Trap Foundation, the Elaine Kaufman Cultural Center and The Cygnus Ensemble. Her works have been performed at Tanglewood and other major musical centers.
All concerts are at 8 p.m. in the Coolidge Auditorium, unless otherwise noted. Tickets, now currently available, are distributed by TicketMaster at (202) 397-7328, (410) 547-7328 and (703) 573-7328. Each ticket carries a nominal service charge, with additional charges for phone orders and handling. Tickets are also available at TicketMaster outlets and online at www.TicketMaster.com (external link) . 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 p.m. on concert nights to wait in the standby line for no-show tickets. Pre-concert presentations are at 6:15 p.m. in the Whittall Pavilion and do not require tickets.
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