April 27, 2010 (REVISED April 28, 2010) Selections from the Dayton C. Miller Collection on Display

Exhibit Explores Different Realms of Flute Playing

Press Contact: Erin Allen (202) 707-7302
Public Contact: Carol Lynn Ward-Bamford (202) 707-8451
Contact: View the exhibition online.

In the often-archaic definitions of words like “twitter,” “chatter,” “record” and “warble” are links between birdsong and human music-making. The exhibition “As the Old Sing, So the Young Twitter” takes its inspiration from the musical and verbal relationship between birds and flutes. The exhibit will be on view May 6 through Oct. 30 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday, in the foyer outside the Performing Arts Reading Room on the first floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C.

The exhibition explores the different realms of flute-playing, from the lively to the serene, and takes an etymological and iconographic journey through the depth and breadth of the Library of Congress collections relating to the flute. The Dayton C. Miller Collection may be the largest collection of objects related to one subject in the musical arts ever assembled. The Miller Collection consists of books, prints, photographs, music, correspondence, trade catalogs, statuary and nearly 1,500 flutes and other wind instruments given to the Library by Miller in 1941. A scientist by profession, Miller aimed “to gather all available materials relating to the flute, always proceeding critically and systematically, for the purpose of setting forth the history and development of the modern flute as an essential factor in the fine art of music.”

In addition to documenting the technical development of the flute, the Miller Collection also illustrates how flutes have been perceived and portrayed. Miller himself placed his iconography into groupings such as “Animals,” “Pan” and “Outdoors and Pastoral.”

Following its closing on Oct. 30, the exhibition will travel to the Library of Congress/Ira Gershwin Gallery at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, where it will be on view from Nov. 13, 2010 to May 15, 2011.

The Library of Congress, the nation's oldest federal cultural institution, is the world's preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled collections and integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Many of the Library’s rich resources and treasures may also be accessed through the Library’s website www.loc.gov and via interactive exhibitions on a personalized website at myLOC.gov.

Instrument collecting in the Music Division began with the generosity of Gertrude Clarke Whittall, who gave the Library five Stradivarius instruments that formed the basis of the Cremonese Collection. The Library is also home to the Wilkins Collection of early stringed instruments and the Thai Collection of elegantly crafted Siamese-style folk instruments.

The institution’s unparalleled music holdings include manuscripts 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. More information can be found at www.loc.gov/performingarts/.


PR 10-080
ISSN 0731-3527