August 8, 2019 Library of Congress Announces 2019-2020 Concert Season

Series Celebrates Billy Strayhorn, Beethoven at 250

Press Contact: Sheryl Cannady (202) 707-1639 | Bryonna Head (202)707-3073
Public Contact: Anne McLean (202) 707-8432
Website: Library of Congress Concerts
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Performers for the 2019-2020 Library of Congress Concert Season. Clockwise: Midori (photo by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders), Asko | Schönberg, Chucho Valdés (photo by Carol Friedman) and Jörg Widmann.

The Library of Congress is launching a spectacular and richly diverse 2019-2020 season with a concert by jazz icon and master pianist Chucho Valdés on Oct. 12, 2019. Marking the 95th season of the “Concerts from the Library of Congress” series is an impressive roster of more than 95 free events features classical music, jazz, pop, musical theater and dance. Concerts, lectures, film screenings and conversations with artists and scholars will connect concertgoers with the 25 million-plus treasures of the Library’s extraordinary music collections.

Two major programs anchor the season. The first is the “Beethoven at 250” festival, running from Feb. 2020 to the composer’s birthday in December. The Phaeton Trio will launch the festival with the world premiere of a newly completed Beethoven trio fragment. Many events will focus on the Library’s significant Beethoven holdings, including manuscripts and sketches in the composer’s hand, letters and artifacts. The Takács Quartet will perform the Op. 131 string quartet and a concert by pianist Adam Golka and the Verona Quartet will present two performances of the masterly “Hammerklavier” Sonata, Op. 106: a version transcribed for string quartet and the composer’s original version for piano. In July 2020, a festive midsummer concert by the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra will feature fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout and violinist Isabelle Faust.

The second program is the “Salute to Billy Strayhorn” in May 2020, which will showcase the Bill Charlap Trio, appearing with Jon Faddis and Cécile McLorin Salvant. Loren Schoenberg will conduct a big-band evening of classics and unveil a few rare and reconstructed scores from the Library’s Billy Strayhorn Collection. Film screenings and talks by biographer David Hajdu and A. Alyce Claerbaut, president of Strayhorn Songs, Inc., will be accompanied by a symposium on the composer’s life and legacy. See a listing of the complete season at

An exciting lineup of significant women performers and composers will enhance the Library’s two major exhibits on female changemakers – “Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote” and an exhibit displaying items from the Rosa Parks Collection. Two Library of Congress commissions by women will receive world premieres. Violinist Midori will perform a work by Tamar Diesendruck, supported by a Library fund endowed by American violinist Leonora Jackson McKim. Appearing with the International Contemporary Ensemble, Suzanne Farrin will perform her own commission for ondes Martenot and ensemble. The program is supported by the Library’s Carolyn Royall Just Fund.

Violinists Leila Josefowicz, Baibe Skride and Miranda Cuckson, singer and poet Tarriona “Tank” Ball, violist Tabea Zimmermann and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, among others, will also perform at the Library this season. Concertgoers will hear compositions by Julia Wolfe, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Ashley Fure, Sofia Gubaidulina, Anna Clyne, Gabriella Smith, Caroline Shaw and others. In Dec. 2019, pianist Anne-Marie McDermott will curate a special project honoring the 200th anniversary of 19th-century composer Clara Schumann.

New music is a major focus for the year with a January mini-residency for Amsterdam’s distinguished Asko | Schönberg ensemble, led by the eminent conductor Reinbert de Leeuw. Bang on a Can All-Stars brings an interesting range of field recordings featuring short multimedia works commissioned from 10 American composers. The Flux Quartet will offer back-to-back concerts of works by musical visionaries and iconoclasts, with legendary saxophonist and composer Oliver Lake as guest artist for a “Library Late” 9 p.m. event on May 1. Pianist and composer Conrad Tao will perform his own music in a special collaboration with tap dancer Caleb Teicher, along with pieces by George Gershwin, Ray Noble and J.S. Bach.

Scotland’s acclaimed Dunedin Consort will make its first Washington appearance in a concert of Bach cantatas and Brandenburg concerti. The top American group Quicksilver presents “Bach’s Library” and Concerto Köln’s four excellent concertmasters shine in Baroque violin concerti.

Jazz programming, made possible by the Revada Foundation of the Logan family, includes a tribute to an American legend, “Fly Higher: Charlie Parker @100,” led by saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington. For Jazz Month in April, the Library will screen a trio of recent jazz documentaries, including Stanley Nelson’s “Miles Davis: The Birth of the Cool.”

Produced in cooperation with Signature Theatre, “As Ever, Oscar: Letters and Lyrics of Oscar Hammerstein II,” scheduled Oct. 28, weaves a sparkling revue from the Library’s 20,000-item Oscar Hammerstein correspondence. Theater historian Ben West lectures on “Diversity and the Birth of Broadway,” a look at early female and African American creators of the American musical.

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 free, but tickets are required and special restrictions may apply. Tickets for the concert series are available through Eventbrite at
Tickets also may be accessed via or the free Eventbrite mobile app for iOS or Android devices. Tickets are not required to attend preconcert presentations, lectures, films or weekday daytime programs.

Highlights of the season include:

  • A stunning Tank & the Bangas show featuring hip-hop, R & B, jazz and spoken word (Oct. 25, 2019)
  • The Irish Chamber Orchestra with clarinetist/conductor Jörg Widmann and conductor/clarinetist/soprano Claron McFadden (Nov. 20, 2019)
  • Sphinx Virtuosi’s 18 young African American and Latino musicians performing new works by their colleagues Jessie Montgomery and Xavier Foley (Feb. 28, 2020)
  • Countertenor Iestyn Davies partnering with viol consort Fretwork (Oct. 16, 2019)
  • Miró Quartet performing on the Library’s Stradivari instruments (Dec. 18, 2019)
  • A rare American recital by violist Tabea Zimmerman and pianist Javier Perianes (March 18, 2020)
  • An intimate cabaret evening with Broadway star Norm Lewis (Nov. 14, 2019)
  • Moroccan pianist Marouan Benabdallah’s “Arabesques” recital (March 14, 2020)
  • Chamber music “supergroup” Skride Quartet, led by violinist Baiba Skride (Feb. 5, 2020)
  • “Fly Higher: Charlie Parker @ 100” with Rudresh Mahanthappa and Terri Lyne Carrington (April 11, 2020)
  • Bang on a Can All-Stars’ “Field Recordings”: 10 new multimedia works (April 17, 2020)

Ticketing for fall concerts and events will start at 10 a.m. ET on Sept. 11. Patrons can order tickets for events scheduled between October and December.

Ticketing for spring concerts and events will start at 10 a.m. ET on Dec. 11. Patrons can order tickets for events scheduled between January and June.

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PR 19-077
ISSN 0731-3527