August 17, 2016 Library of Congress Announces 2016-2017 Concert Season

World Premieres of Commissions by Wolfgang Rihm, Brett Dean and Steve Coleman Slated

Press Contact: Jennifer Gavin (202) 707-1940
Public Contact: Nicholas Brown (202) 707-8437
Website: Full Calendar Listing (PDF)

The 2016-2017 season of “Concerts from the Library of Congress” will open a 65-event series on Oct. 17, with offerings from classical, jazz, pop, American musical theater, and more. Concerts, lectures, interviews and panels with artists, composers and scholars, film screenings and book talks bring the diversity of the Library of Congress Music Division’s rich collections to life in performance and conversation. All events are presented free of charge to the public. A calendar listing with details of each concert can be found here.

Continuing a 90-year tradition of support for contemporary composers, the series presents the world premieres of two works commissioned through the Library’s Dina Koston and Roger Shapiro Fund for New Music. Britain’s acclaimed Arditti Quartet and American guitarist Eliot Fisk will give the first performance of a quintet by the eminent German composer Wolfgang Rihm, a co-commission of the Library, Wigmore Hall and musica viva Munich. A new work by Australian composer and violist Brett Dean, co-commissioned with the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, will be premiered by Dean and Finnish pianist Juho Pohjonen. For the annual Founder’s Day concert on Oct. 30, the Argento Chamber Ensemble will perform compositions by Salvatore Sciarrino and Michel Galante and introduce new works by Irish composer Ann Cleare. An evening with the Either/Or Ensemble explores works by Anthony Braxton, Anna Thorvaldsdottir and Beat Furrer, among others.

The Reva and David Logan Foundation has extended its generous support for jazz programming at the Library through the 2018-2019 season. MacArthur Award-winning saxophonist Steve Coleman premieres a new Library of Congress commission with his band Five Elements. Trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, winner of multiple Doris Duke Foundation awards, appears with his quartet in May. Library of Congress Jazz Scholars for 2016-2017 are Ingrid Monson, Quincy Jones Professor of African American Music at Harvard University, and John Szwed, John M. Musser Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, African American Studies and Film Studies at Yale University. Their spring 2017 residencies provide opportunities for in-depth research in the Music Division’s jazz collections, public lectures and conversations. Saxophonist and John Coltrane scholar Andrew White will give a talk Nov. 3.

The Cecilia String Quartet’s concert on Dec. 17 marks an important milestone for the series, the 80th anniversary of Gertrude Clarke Whittall’s gift to the Library of five superb Stradivari instruments. Whittall endowed funds to support their use in concerts, part of her gift to the nation.

Vocal music will also be part of the season’s offerings. English tenor Mark Padmore opens the season with Lieder by Beethoven and Schubert in a recital with pianist Andrew West. One of the world’s most admired choral ensembles, the Tallis Scholars, performs vocal masterworks from the Renaissance; and a concert by Musicians from Marlboro offers Ralph Vaughan Williams’s rarely-heard song cycle “On Wenlock Edge,” with tenor Nicholas Phan as soloist. Music theater lovers can catch a cabaret evening with Broadway legend Jason Robert Brown, performing his own music (“The Last Five Years,” “The Bridges of Madison County”).

Highlights for the season include early music luminary Jordi Savall’s “Gateway to the East: The Millenarian Venice 790-1797,” chronicling a thousand years of Venetian musical history. Curating a dialogue among musical cultures, Savall brings an orchestra of 31 musicians: artists from Turkey and Greece, the Orthodox-Byzantine Vocal Ensemble, and players from his ensembles Hèsperion XXI, Les Concert des Nations, and La Capella Reial de Catalunya. Other remarkable offerings will include BUSONI at 150, in which pianist Sandro Ivo Bartoli will pay homage to the great Italian composer and pianist Ferruccio Busoni with a recital that includes the fabled “Fantasia contrappuntistica.” Further, a special project with The Shigeyama Kyogen Troupe will include an evening of comic “kyogen” plays from a Japanese theater tradition half a millennium old. A collaboration among the Library and the Japan Information Centre, Embassy of Japan and the Japan Foundation, the project will be presented as part of the 2017 National Cherry Blossom Festival.

Two film series are part of the season lineup: Film Nights with Pat Padua offers “Shooting Stars: Prince and Bowie on Film;” and classic cartoons are featured in “Toon Tunes” with Solomon HaileSelassie, including three special family-friendly screenings.

Throughout the season patrons can sample lectures and book talks on an intriguing range of musical topics, from heavy metal to Rachmaninoff. These include two events co-presented with the American Musicological Society. The University of Sheffield’s Dominic McHugh presents “In the Workshop of Lerner and Loewe: Archival Sources for the Genesis of ‘My Fair Lady’.” “Johnnies, Tommies, and Sammies: Music and the WWI Alliance,” will be presented by Christina Bashford and Gayle Sherwood Magee, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; William Brooks, composer and musicologist; Laurie Matheson, vocalist; and Justin Vickers, Illinois State University. Kofi Agawu, Professor of Music at Princeton University, will speak on “The Rhythmic Imagination in African Music.”

The "Concerts from the Library of Congress" series is made possible through the generous support of endowments given to the Library by private donors. The series is presented free of charge to the public but requires tickets for admission. Tickets for "Concerts from the Library of Congress" events are distributed through Eventbrite, and may be accessed via or via the free Eventbrite mobile app for iOS or Android devices ( Tickets are not required to attend pre-concert presentations or weekday daytime programs.

Starting Sept. 14 at 10 a.m. Eastern time, patrons can order tickets for any events or films from October through December. Starting on Jan. 4, 2017, at 10 a.m. Eastern time, patrons may order tickets for events or films scheduled between January and May. A special ticketing policy may apply to select programs. A calendar listing with details of each program in the series is available here.


PR 16-133
ISSN 0731-3527