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Event Concerts from the Library of Congress

Radio Series

Broadcasting has been crucial to the Concerts from the Library of Congress mission since the very beginning of the series in 1925: a live broadcast from the newly-built Coolidge Auditorium that inaugurated a distinguished 80-year radio history. With a prescient grasp of the possibilities for the new medium, Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge required that the auditorium be wired for broadcast, so that “everything which goes on within it [can be] heard by as wide an audience as desires to hear it.”

Library of Congress concerts quickly achieved a significant impact as a cultural force, raising visibility for chamber music across the American heartland and abroad, through collaborations with the fledgling National Broadcasting Company (NBC), Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) and other partners. With the advent of live weekly broadcasts in 1940, Concerts from the Library of Congress would become the longest-running classical chamber series on the air, heard in 150 American cities at its peak.

Today, Mrs. Coolidge’s vision remains an inspiration, encouraging new ventures into the virtual domain for Library webcasts offering classical music, jazz, American musical theater and pop, reaching a global audience of music lovers.

Content from the 2015 and the 2016 radio series has been archived here.