June 14, 2005 The Library of Congress Celebrates "Creativity Across America" Program To Launch with 12-City "Song of America" Concert Tour

Baritone Thomas Hampson to Perform Songs by American Poets and Composers

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Contact: Helen Dalrymple, Library of Congress (202) 707-1940

NEW YORK — Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced today that the Library of Congress is launching a multidimensional program to celebrate “Creativity Across America,” which will begin in November with a 12-city, seven-month concert tour featuring internationally acclaimed baritone Thomas Hampson, one of the most popular and sought-after singers of this generation. Hampson, a native of Spokane, Wash., is renowned for his versatility, imagination and vocal charisma.

“The ‘Song of America’ tour with Tom Hampson is part of an unprecedented national program that the Library of Congress is initiating to celebrate creativity across America,” said Billington. “America is a wellspring of new ideas in music, literature, poetry, film and other forms of artistic expression. As the home of the Copyright Office of the United States, the Library of Congress has been the repository and mint record of American creativity since 1870. We want to celebrate the energy and inventive spirit that is such an integral part of our cultural history, and I cannot think of a more qualified and accomplished ambassador for the first part of our initiative than Tom.”

Hampson’s long-standing collaboration with the Library of Congress grew out of a vision shared with Billington—to honor the history and preservation of American song and to reveal to new audiences the breadth and depth of the Library’s unparalleled collections of musical scores and recordings. One of the goals of the project is to reach out to young people,who may not be so familiar with the great depth and variety of American song and story, and each stop on the concert tour will include an educational component in which Hampson will interact with students.

Additionally, the Library will send its educational outreach staff to each concert city, and the Music Division will conduct daylong teacher institutes for local K-12 educators. Invited teachers will learn how to access the Library’s unique collections, analyze documents to encourage critical thinking skills and generate lesson ideas related to various facets of the Library’s collections.

“The richness of the Library’s music collections lies not only in the coverage of American concert, popular, ethnic and folk music but also in the wealth of European concert music, opera scores and librettos, as well as the symphonic and chamber music of the 20th century,” said Hampson.

Hampson is a passionate singer of the music of America by such poets and composers as Stephen Foster, Walt Whitman and Aaron Copland. His dedication to American song has led to several recital tours, recordings, multimedia projects and television programs.

The concert tour will begin on Nov. 12, at the Carlsen Center in Overland Park, Kan., and travel to Bass Hall in Forth Worth, Texas, on Nov. 15. Hampson will perform at Carnegie Hall on Jan. 19, 2006.

Library of Congress “Song of America” Concert Tour with Thomas Hampson


Nov. 12 – Yardley Hall, Carlsen Center, Johnson Country Community College, Overland Park, Kan.

Nov. 15 – Founders Concert Theater, Bass Hall, Fort Worth, Texas


Jan. 8 – Verizon Hall, The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia

Jan. 17 – Main Hall, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, St. Paul, Minn.

Jan. 19 – Isaac Stern Auditorium, Carnegie Hall, New York

March 15 – Orchestra Hall, Detroit

March 19 – Alexander W. Dreyfoos Jr. Hall, Kravis Center, West Palm Beach, Fla.

March 21 – Main Hall, Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts, University of Mississippi, Oxford

May 28 – Orchestra Hall, Chicago

May 30 – Holland Performing Arts Center, Omaha, Neb.

June 3 – Fox California Theatre, San Jose, Calif.

TBA – Ellie Caulkins Opera House, Denver

Other Activities Planned

The “Song of America” tour featuring Thomas Hampson is the first in a series of events that will culminate in a broader exploration and celebration of “Creativity Across America.”

The Library’s celebration of creativity in America will also include cultural educational programs such as “Poetry as Song” and displays of some of the Library’s rarely viewed and prized treasures along with discussions by curatorial experts. Other activities include demonstrations by conservation specialists of simple methods of preserving family photos and documents, and appearances by Poet Laureate Ted Kooser at the Omaha and West Palm Beach venues, discussing the creative process of writing poetry.

The “Song of America” has been made possible by friends of the Library of Congress and members of its private advisory group, the James Madison Council.

The Library’s National Book Festival, another element of its celebration of creativity in 2005-2006, will be held Sept. 24 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and will feature more than 70 authors of every literary genre. Among the popular and well-known authors expected to attend are fiction writers Sue Monk Kidd, John Irving and Tom Wolfe; historians David McCullough, Joseph Ellis and Thomas Friedman; mystery writers Tony Hillerman, Sandra Brown and Marcia Muller; and children’s and young adult authors Hilary Knight, Walter Dean Myers and R.L. Stein.

For more information on the Library’s celebration of “Creativity Across America,” visit the Library’s Web site at www.loc.gov/creativity/hampson.


PR 05-138
ISSN 0731-3527