May 24, 2006 Harpist and Vocalist Perform French and American Songs May 31

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Robert Saladini (202) 707-2692

DoubleAction, a duo featuring harpist and Library of Congress Kluge Fellow Emily Laurance and tenor Thomas Gregg, will present a concert of French and American songs in a program titled “Francophilia: French Song at Home and Abroad,” at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 31, in Room 119 of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C.

This event, sponsored by the Library’s John W. Kluge Center, is free and open to the public; no tickets are required.

“Francophilia: French Song at Home and Abroad” will illustrate the romance genre through music, as manifested in France and in the early years of the American republic during the 18th and early-19th centuries.

The French romance tradition of the 18th and early-19th centuries was a strophic poem set to music, recounting ancient stories of love and gallantry usually associated with King Arthur, Richard the Lion-Hearted, the ubiquitous troubadour and others. Highly popular in France, especially with the emerging middle class, these ballads were also appreciated in Francophone colonies and communities and in America. The harp, with its sonorous plucked strings, was an integral component of the genre.

Founded in 1999, DoubleAction consists of Laurance and Gregg, who both have made a specialty of researching and performing some of the vocal gems of the late-18th and 19th centuries. As a Kluge Fellow, Laurance has been studying both the romance tradition and that of the single-action harp in the early years of the United States using the vast collections of the library, especially those of the Music Division. She performs on an 1829 single-action harp made by John Egan of Dublin and restored in 2000 by Howard Bryan of Virginia.

Through a generous endowment from John W. Kluge, the Library established the Kluge Center in 2000. The center brings leading scholars together with key Washington policymakers and others to discuss important world issues, drawing on the Library’s incomparable collections. For further information, visit


PR 06-121
ISSN 0731-3527