March 3, 2008 Library of Congress and the American Musicological Society Announce New Lecture Series

Musicologist Judith Tick To Give Inaugural Lecture On Composer Ruth Crawford Seeger

Press Contact: Erin Allen (202) 707-7302
Public Contact: Denise Gallo (202) 707-6937

The Music Division of the Library of Congress and the American Musicological Society, in joint partnership, will present a series of lectures highlighting musicological research conducted in the division’s collections.

Judith Tick, professor of music history at Northeastern University, presents the inaugural program at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 26, in the Coolidge Auditorium, first floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. She will discuss aspects of her work on Ruth Crawford Seeger in a lecture titled “Ruth Crawford Seeger, Modernist Composer in the Folk Revival: Biography as Music History.”

This event is free and open to the public; no tickets are required.

“Shortly after the death of the musicologist Charles Seeger, his children gave his papers and those of their mother, the composer Ruth Crawford Seeger, to the Music Division of the Library of Congress,” said Tick. “Without yet knowing what to look for or why, I mad-dashed through one box after another. The boxes contained manuscripts of unpublished songs and chamber music, typescripts of unpublished scholarship on American folk music, Christmas card-photos of the Seeger family, unfinished thank-you notes, grant applications and personal diaries through which an obscure artist and woman spoke directly to my scholar’s instincts and feminist heart.

“As time passed, the documents slowed me down into considering the relation between narrative truth and historical truth. The goal of my lecture is to revisit content and process in practicing musical biography in relation to Crawford Seeger’s legacy. As life and art intertwine, so biographical narrative illuminates the history of culture.”

Tick is known for her writing on American music, in particular her highly regarded biography “Ruth Crawford Seeger, A Composer’s Search for American Music,” which won the Irving R. Lowens award as Best Book of the Year from the Society for American Music in 1998, and an ASCAP Deems Taylor award. A member of the faculty at Northeastern University since 1986, she was named a Matthews Distinguished University Professor in 1999. She is an associate editor for the journal Musical Quarterly and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004 as an “innovator in the field of musical biography.” Her new book, “Music in the U.S.A.: A Documentary Companion,” is forthcoming from Oxford University Press.

Upcoming lectures in the series will feature Annegret Fauser of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who will speak on former Music Division Chief Harold Spivacke. Jeff Magee, chair of musicology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will give a talk on his work on Irving Berlin.

Founded in 1800, the Library seeks to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, which bring to bear the world’s knowledge in almost all of the world’s languages and America’s private sector intellectual and cultural creativity in almost all formats. Its unparalleled music holdings include manuscripts, scores, sound recordings, books, libretti, music-related periodicals and microforms, copyright deposits and musical instruments. Manuscripts of note include those of European masters such as Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms and those of American masters such as Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein and Charles Mingus. The Alan Lomax collection of field recordings of American roots music, Woody Guthrie’s original recordings and manuscripts, and one-of-a-kind recordings of bluesman Robert Johnson from the 1930s are also among the Library’s musical treasures.


PR 08-034
ISSN 0731-3527