July 1, 2003 Pianist and Art Collector Annette Kaufman Discusses "A Fiddler's Tale" at Library of Congress on July 31

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Annette Kaufman, pianist and art collector, will discuss "A Fiddler's Tale: How Hollywood and Vivaldi Discovered Me," a book she co-wrote with her husband, violinist and art collector Louis Kaufman, at the Library of Congress at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 31, in the Mumford Room, James Madison Building, 101 Independence Avenue S.E., in Washington, D.C.

The program, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the John W. Kluge Center in cooperation with the Library of Congress Music Division, the University of Wisconsin Press and the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.

"A Fiddler's Tale: How Hollywood and Vivaldi Discovered Me" is a biographical account of two of the most fascinating figures in the music and art worlds of 20th-century America.

Kaufman was violin soloist in nearly 500 films of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, such as "Casablanca," "Gone with the Wind," "The Diary of Anne Frank," "Wuthering Heights," "The Grapes of Wrath," and "Spartacus." After performing the violin solos for Ernst Lubitsch's 1934 film "The Merry Widow," Kaufman became the most sought-after violin soloist in Hollywood. He worked closely with and befriended most of the great Hollywood composers, conductors and musicians of the day.

Kaufman, who was born in 1905 in Portland, Ore., studied violin with Franz Kneisel at New York's Institute of Musical Art. And, as the original violist of the Musical Art Quartet (1926-1933) he performed at the memorial concert for Rep. Nicholas Longworth in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress. He won the coveted Naumburg Award in 1928, the year of his American solo recital debut in New York's Town Hall.

During these early years, Kaufman played chamber music with some of the most important string players of the 20th century: Pablo Casals, Mischa Elman, Jascha Heifetz, Fritz Kreisler, Gregor Piatigorsky, and Efrem Zimbalist, among others. Kaufman was a champion of the music of many contemporary composers such as Robert Russell Bennett, Samuel Barber, William Grant Still, Ernst Toch and others.

One of his greatest contributions to the world of music, Kaufman was largely responsible for bringing the once-forgotten music of Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) to its current popularity worldwide among both classical musicians and the general population of music lovers. He made the first commercial recording of a then little-known collection of violin concertos by Vivaldi called "The Four Seasons." This recording won the Grand Prix du Disque in 1951.

In 1933, Kaufman married Annette Leibole, a pianist, who shared his passion for music, theater, and art. Together, they traveled the globe on performance, musicological research, and art collecting tours where they managed to amass a major art collection including African, Asian, and pre-Columbian pieces, as well as works by many other important modern American, Latin American and European artists. Kaufman was the first person to buy an oil painting from American abstract expressionist Milton Avery, and he urged other collectors to follow suit.

Through a generous endowment from its namesake, the Library of Congress established the John W. Kluge Center in 2000 to bring together the world's best thinkers to stimulate, energize, and distill wisdom from the Library's rich resources and to interact with policymakers in Washington, D.C. For more information about any of the fellowship, grants and programs offered by the John W. Kluge Center, contact the Office of Scholarly Programs, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Avenue S.E., Washington, D.C. 20540-4860; telephone (202) 707-3302, fax (202) 707-3595, e-mail: scholarly@loc.gov, or visit the Web at www.loc.gov/kluge.

The Music Division of the Library of Congress, formally created in 1896, traces the origin of its collections to the 13 books on music literature and theory that were contained in Thomas Jefferson's library, purchased by the Congress in 1815. Today, the Music Division's collections number close to 8 million items, including the classified music and book collections, music and literary manuscripts, microforms, and copyright deposits. For more information visit the Web at www.loc.gov/rr/perform.

The University of Wisconsin Press, founded in 1936, has published more than 1500 titles. It specializes in books of general interest (biography, natural history, poetry, social issues, etc.), scholarly books (in anthropology, literature, rhetoric, African studies, film studies, history, classics and humanities, environmental studies, Native American and Chicano studies, political science, women's studies, and other subjects), and regional books about Wisconsin and the Upper Midwest. For more information visit the Web at www.wisc.edu/wisconsinpress.

The Phillips Collection, America's first museum of modern art, opened in 1921 in the home of Duncan Phillips (1886-1966). Renoir's great masterpiece "Luncheon of the Boating Party" has its home here, along with other outstanding Impressionist paintings by van Gogh, Monet, Degas and C├ęzanne. An exhibition of paintings by Milton Avery from patrons Louis and Annette Kaufman, and Duncan and Marjorie Phillips will open in mid-February 2004. For more information visit the Web at www.phillipscollection.org.


PR 03-124
ISSN 0731-3527