April 1, 2014 April Concerts Showcase Contemporary Music, Premieres of Library-Commissioned Works
Press Contact: Jennifer Gavin (202) 707-1940
Public Contact: Nicholas Brown (202) 707-8437
Contemporary music -- including premiere performances of two Library of Congress-commissioned works -- will be showcased April 7-12, as Concerts from the Library of Congress presents a riveting lineup of performances, talks and educational programs dedicated to the Library’s collection riches in the contemporary field.
The week features such internationally known performers as the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band. The commission premieres will be works by American composer Marc Neikrug and Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara.
April 7 marks the beginning of the Library’s Oliver Knussen Residency. A British composer and conductor, Knussen is widely respected as a creative genius and distinguished interpreter of contemporary music. The residency is made possible by the Library’s Dina Koston and Roger Shapiro Fund for New Music, with additional support from the British Embassy and British Council. Instruments from the Library’s renowned Stradivari collection will be used in performance throughout the residency.
Presently Artist-in-Association with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Knussen will be joined by Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (BCMG), which makes its Washington, D.C. debut, for two concerts on April 8 and April 11. The April 8 concert will be introduced by the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, England, Councillor Mike Leddy, and his wife the Lady Mayoress, Pauline Leddy.
Founded in 1987 under the leadership of Sir Simon Rattle, artistic director of the Berlin Philharmonic, BCMG is a flagship British contemporary-music ensemble. Its two concerts will feature works commissioned by the Library’s Koussevitzky Music Foundation, and works with original manuscripts housed in the Library’s Music Division, including Arnold Schoenberg’s Serenade and Igor Stravinsky’s Septet.
On April 11 at 8 p.m., British pianist and composer Huw Watkins joins BCMG for the world premiere of American composer Marc Neikrug’s “Tiger’s Nest” piano trio, a Library of Congress commission.
Neikrug is the artistic director of the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. His works have been commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, National Symphony and Atlanta Symphony. Also featured in this concert is the District of Columbia premiere of American composer Elliott Carter’s “Epigrams,” which he composed at the age of 103. The Music Division holds the Elliott Carter collection, which contains manuscripts of his groundbreaking string quartets.
Knussen and BCMG will lead a special composition workshop for four student composers from the University of Maryland and the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University -- Geoff Sheil, Zachary Konick, Natalie Draper and James Young. The students were invited to compose works specifically for BCMG. The ensemble will perform these works and offer coaching to the young composers in the Library’s Coolidge Auditorium on April 7 at 2:30 p.m.
“The President’s Own” United States Marine Band will return to the Library on April 12 at 2 p.m. The concert was curated by Knussen and features gems from the wind ensemble repertoire, including Igor Stravinsky’s “Symphonies of Wind Instruments,” Peter Lieberson’s “Wind Messengers” and “Wind Rose” by Elliott Carter, which is dedicated to Knussen.
On April 10 at 8 p.m., the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center presents a jam-packed evening of innovative contemporary music. The concert features the world premiere of a string quintet by the distinguished Finnish composer, Einojuhani Rautavaara, commissioned by the Library and The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Rautavaara studied with Vincent Persichetti at the Juilliard School, and with Roger Sessions and Aaron Copland at Tanglewood. Closing the evening is French composer Olivier Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time,” which he composed while imprisoned in a German prisoner-of-war camp during World War II.
The Library’s concert series, which was founded in 1925 through the patronage of Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, has a rich and storied history of commissioning music from top American and international composers. Past recipients of Library commissions include Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Igor Stravinsky, Stevie Wonder, Anthony Braxton and Sofia Gabaidulina.
All events take place in the Jefferson Building and are free and open to the public. Some concerts require tickets. For more information visit www.loc.gov/concerts, or call (202) 707-5502.
Concerts from the Library of Congress
Unless otherwise noted, all concerts will be held at 8 p.m. in the Coolidge Auditorium located on the ground floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street, S.E., Washington, D.C. Pre-concert presentations will be at 6:30 p.m. in the Whittall Pavilion unless otherwise noted, and those presentations do not require tickets. All programs are subject to change without notice.
April 7-12, 2014
Oliver Knussen Residency
Monday, April 7: Birmingham Contemporary Music Group Student Composition Workshop. Featuring works by student composers Geoff Sheil and Zachary Konick of the University of Maryland and Natalie Draper & James Young of the Peabody Conservatory. No tickets required.
Tuesday, April 8: Birmingham Contemporary Music Group with Oliver Knussen, conductor, Lucy Schaufer, soprano and Andrew Sauvageau, baritone. Stravinsky: Septet; Knussen: "Ophelia Dances," Book 1, op. 13, "Ophelia’s Last Dance"; Castiglioni: "Tropi"; Crawford Seeger: Three Songs; Schoenberg: Serenade, op. 24. Tickets required.
Preconcert presentation: Stephen and Jackie Newbould of the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group discuss their work. No tickets required.
Thursday, April 10: The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Jalbert: "Visual Abstract" for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, and percussion; Carter: "Esprit Rude / Esprit Doux II" for flute, clarinet and marimba; Widmann: Fantasie for solo clarinet; Rautavaara: Variations for Five: String Quintet no. 2, world premiere (Commissioned by the Library of Congress Dina Koston and Roger Shapiro Fund for New Music and The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center); Messiaen: "Quatuor pour la fin du temps" (Quartet for the End of Time). Tickets required.
Preconcert presentation: The Music Division’s Anne McLean talks with members of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. No tickets required.
Friday, April 11: Birmingham Contemporary Music Group with Alexandra Woods, violin, Huw Watkins, piano and Ulrich Heinen, cello. Britten: "Phantasy," op. 2; Carter: "Epigrams" (Regional Premiere); Neikrug: “Tiger’s Nest” Piano Trio (World Premiere—Dina Koston and Roger Shapiro Fund for New Music Commission); Knussen: Cantata ("Triptych," part 3); Bridge: Piano Trio no. 2; Hans Werner Henze: "Adagio adagio." Tickets required.
Preconcert presentation: Oliver Knussen and Marc Neikrug discuss their musical works. No tickets required.
Saturday, April 12, 2 p.m.: "The President’s Own" United States Marine Band. Stravinsky: “Symphonies of Wind Instruments” (1920 version); Lieberson: "Wind Messengers"; Carter: "Wind Rose" (Dedicated to Oliver Knussen); Schuller: “Double Wuintet”; Sibelius/Stravinsky: "Canzonetta," op. 62a; Mozart: Serenade in B-flat for winds, K. 361. No tickets required.