November 3, 2005 Eleven-City "Song of America" Tour Featuring Recitals by Thomas Hampson Kicks Off Nov. 12

Press Contact: Trish Taylor Shuman (202) 707-1940 | Erin Allen (202) 707-7302
Public Contact: Glenn Petry (212) 625-2038

The internationally acclaimed baritone Thomas Hampson, one of the most popular and sought-after singers of his generation, will give the first performance in his 11-city “Song of America” tour beginning with a recital in Yardley Hall at the Carlsen Center in Overland Park, Kan., on Saturday, Nov. 12, at 8 p.m. The next tour stop is at the Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, Texas, at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 15. The tour, which concludes with a performance at the California Theatre in San Jose, Calif., on June 3, 2006, will also include a recital on Jan. 19 at New York’s Carnegie Hall (a complete list of tour cities and venues follows).

“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 Librarian of Congress James H. 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 of the mint record of American creativity since 1870. We want to celebrate the energy and inventive spirit that are such an integral part of our cultural history, and I cannot think of a more accomplished ambassador for the first part of our initiative than Tom.”

Hampson, a native of Spokane, Wash., has long been regarded as one of the most passionate advocates for American song, which he has championed throughout his career with recitals, recordings, multimedia projects and television programs. Critics have praised him for his compelling interpretations, imaginative programming and vocal charisma. His continuing dedication to a wide spectrum of home-grown song will be manifest on the tour, not only in the wide-ranging recital programs – featuring favorites such as Stephen Foster’s “Beautiful Dreamer,” the beloved folk anthem “Shenandoah” and rarities such as Harry T. Burleigh’s “Ethiopia Saluting the Colors” – but also in the host of special activities he and the Library of Congress will bring to the community.

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. Hampson, who has spent countless hours at the Library over the years in research and discovery, observes: “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.”

A primary goal of the “Song of America” tour is to reach out to young people who might not be familiar with the great depth and variety of American song and history; 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 to conduct daylong teacher institutes for local K-12 educators. Invited teachers will learn how to incorporate the Library’s unique online collections into their classrooms to encourage critical thinking skills among their students.

Highlights of the special events planned in conjunction with the November recitals are Hampson master classes with students; screenings of select films restored by the Library of Congress; a Preservation Workshop with a team of specialists from the Library showing people how to preserve their own mementos; and public viewings of treasures from the Library, including important musical manuscripts. The manuscript treasures include both rarities – such as Louis Armstrong’s “Gully Low Blues” – and seminal works like Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” and George Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess,” as well as documents chosen especially for each tour market. In the Kansas City region, for example, the sheet music for Frederic Logan’s “Missouri Waltz Song” and Roger C. Webb’s “Kansas City A’s” will be on display. Some future tour dates (including Omaha and West Palm Beach) will feature appearances by Poet Laureate Ted Kooser discussing the creative process of writing poetry.

EMI Classics will join the celebration with the release on Nov. 8 of a companion CD titled “Song of America.” This 20-track collection of American song, created in association with the Library, was personally assembled by Hampson from his extensive and acclaimed discography for the label. The album features songs that Hampson will sing on the tour and many other favorites and lesser-known gems.

The “Song of America” is one of the first in a series of events in the Library’s broader, long-term exploration and celebration of “Creativity Across America.” Recently, the Library’s National Book Festival was held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and featured 70 authors representing every literary genre. Other initiatives spanning the spectrum of arts and culture in America will be announced soon. For more information on the Library’s celebration of “Creativity Across America,” visit the Library's Web site at

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library with more than 130 million items in nearly all major languages and formats. The Library of Congress serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both onsite in its 21 reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning Web site at www.

The “Song of America” tour, produced in collaboration with IMG Artists, has been made possible by friends of the Library of Congress and members of its private advisory group, the James Madison Council.

A list of special events associated with the November recital dates and a complete list of 2005-2006 “Song of America” tour dates follow.

Library of Congress “Song of America” tour with Thomas Hampson
Special educational and community outreach activities for November 2005

Public Viewing of the Treasures: Select treasures from the Library of Congress will be on display in tour markets, including musical manuscripts of national significance and those with special connections to each local community. Treasures available for viewing at the concerts in November include holograph manuscripts of Armstrong’s “Gully Low Blues,” Copland’s “Appalachian Spring,” the first print edition of sheet music for Stephen Foster’s “Beautiful Dreamer,” and a holograph of Jerome Kern’s “Ol’ Man River.” Items related specifically to Kansas City will include the published first edition of Joplin’s “Maple Leaf Rag” and a holograph of the piano/vocal score to Virgil Thomson’s opera “Four Saints in Three Acts.”

Educators Institute: The Library will coordinate daylong teacher institutes for local K-12 educators. “Making a Statement Through Poetry and Song” will use primary source documents from the Library’s Web site – including the “I Hear America Singing” music research Web site – and music that will be performed in concert to teach educators how the Library’s online primary sources can be used in classrooms. The institute will be held in conjunction with the Olathe Public Schools in Kansas; the Dallas-Fort Worth educational partner will be announced shortly.

Master Classes and Open Rehearsals: A master teacher as well as performer, Hampson has conducted countless master classes and coaching sessions for voice students worldwide. In these classes, he shares his insights into how to tell stories through song and how to bring them to life, so that they move both performer and listener. In conjunction with the concert tour, Hampson offers a series of master classes and open rehearsals to local voice students and teachers. Segments of these and other educational programs will be videotaped and made available on the “Song of America” Web site.

National Film Registry Tour: Kansas City’s Tivoli Theatre will host a special event coinciding with the Veteran’s Day holiday, showing select films that have been restored by the Library, including “Jammin’ the Blues,” “Casablanca” and “His Girl Friday. A similar program will take place at The Modern in Fort Worth.

Preservation Workshop: A team from the Library will teach people how to preserve and safely store their old letters, photos, videos and other media.

Oral Histories: The Library will send an oral historian from the American Folklife Center to capture the oral histories of creators of note from each location, including artists and other creative professionals, entrepreneurs, community leaders and arts and culture patrons.

Song of America Kiosks: Each tour community will have two informative kiosks that will honor each community’s contribution to the soundtrack of American music.

Meetings with Community Leaders: Hampson and Billington will attend receptions hosted by community leaders and arts patrons. Members of the congressional delegations from Kansas and Missouri as well as Dallas-Fort Worth will also be invited to learn more about the role Congress has played in preserving the private sector’s mint record of creativity through its library.

Addresses by the Librarian of Congress (to be confirmed): Billington will give addresses before university students, professors and community leaders about “Creativity Across America.”

Giving: The Library will also invite each community to make a contribution of a local treasure to be added to the Library’s universal collections.

2005-2006 Library of Congress "Song of America" concert tour with Thomas Hampson

Nov. 12: Yardley Hall, Carlsen Center, Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, Kan. (Craig Rutenberg, piano)

Nov. 15: Bass Performance Hall, Fort Worth, Texas (Craig Rutenberg, piano)

Jan. 8: Verizon Hall, The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia, Penn. (Wolfram Rieger, piano)

Jan. 17: Main Hall, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, St. Paul, Minn. (Wolfram Rieger, piano)

Jan. 19: Isaac Stern Auditorium, Carnegie Hall, New York (Wolfram Rieger, piano)

March 15: Max M. Fisher Music Center, Detroit, Mich. (Craig Rutenberg, piano)

March 19: Alexander W. Dreyfoos Jr. Hall, Kravis Center, West Palm Beach, Fla. (Craig Rutenberg, piano)

March 21: Main Hall, Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts, University of Mississippi, Oxford. (Craig Rutenberg, piano)

May 28: Symphony Center, Chicago, Ill. (Daniel Barenboim, piano)

May 30: Holland Performing Arts Center, Omaha, Neb. (Wolfram Rieger, piano)

June 3: California Theatre, San Jose, Calif. (Wolfram Rieger, piano)


PR 05-241
ISSN 0731-3527