March 17, 1997 Library of Congress To Honor Robert Mann on April 7
Press Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940
The Library of Congress will celebrate Robert Mann's 50 years as founder and first violinist of the Juilliard String Quartet with a special concert on Monday, April 7, at 8 p.m. The concert will be presented at the National Academy of Sciences auditorium, 2100 C St. N.W. There will be a reception immediately following the concert.
Mr. Mann will join his colleagues in the Juilliard Quartet that evening for a program featuring Franz Joseph Haydn's Quartet in D major, Op. 76, No. 5; Ralph Shapey's Quartet No. 8; and the Quartet in A minor, Op. 51, No. 2 of Johannes Brahms. The National Academy of Sciences Arts in the Academy program is co-sponsoring the concert with the Library of Congress. The concert is free and open to the public; no tickets are required, and seating is by general admission.
"Robert Mann has been a great friend to the Library of Congress for almost five decades," said Jon Newsom, chief of the Library's Music Division. "We are proud that the Juilliard String Quartet has been in residence at the Library of Congress since 1962. But our relationship with Robert Mann began with the early days of the quartet; he first performed in our Coolidge Auditorium on Dec. 10, 1948, when the Juilliard String Quartet was brand-new. Since then he has made more than 550 appearances here with the Juilliard -- playing our Stradivari violins.
"Robert Mann has also appeared at the Library in several other roles," Mr. Newsom continued. "We've heard him perform as a soloist, and as a duo violinist with his son, Nicholas; we've also known him as a composer and as a co-host of our radio broadcast series. It would be hard to exaggerate his importance to our concert series over the years.
Robert Mann is a well-loved figure at the Library, and we are now in the process of establishing a Robert Mann Fund for Chamber Music to honor his 50 years of distinguished music-making here."
Born in 1920 in Portland, Ore., Robert Mann began his study of the violin at age nine; at 13, he was accepted into the class of Edouard Hurlimann, concertmaster of the Portland Symphony. In 1938, he moved to New York City to enroll in the Juilliard School, where he studied violin with Edouard Dethier, composition with Bernard Wagenaar and Stephan Wolpe, and conducting with Edgar Schenkman. Mr. Mann won the prestigious Naumburg Competition in 1941 and made his New York debut two days after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Shortly after his graduation from Juilliard, he was drafted into the army.
At the invitation of Juilliard's president, William Schuman, Robert Mann formed the Juilliard String Quartet in 1946, and he has been the ensemble's first violinist ever since. The quartet, which celebrates its Golden Jubilee this season, has played approximately 5,000 concerts and performed more than 450 works, including some 75 premieres. Its discography includes recordings of more than 100 compositions.
Mr. Mann has composed more than 30 works for narrator with various instruments that he performs with his wife, the actress Lucy Rowan; several have been recorded on the Musical Heritage label. He has also composed an Orchestral Fantasy performed by Dimitri Mitropoulos with the New York Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic, and at the Salzburg Festival; a Duo for Violin and Piano premiered at Carnegie Hall by Itzhak Perlman and Samuel Sanders; and a string quartet included in the repertoires of both the La Salle and the Concord string quartets. Other works include a Duo for Cello and Piano written for Joel Krosnick and Gilbert Kalish, a Concerto for Orchestra, and "Lament" for two solo violas and orchestra.
Robert Mann's solo discography includes Bla Bartk's Solo Violin Sonata, the Sonata No. 1 for violin and piano, and Contrasts; Beethoven's complete violin sonatas (with pianist Stephen Hough); many of Mozart's violin sonatas, with pianist Yefim Bronfman; and Elliott Carter's Duo for Violin and Piano, with Christopher Oldfather.
Mr. Mann has conducted throughout his professional career; he led the Boston Symphony Orchestra in a Peter Bartk recording of Bla Bartk's Piano Concerto No. 1. He made his public debut as a conductor with the Seattle Symphony during the 1988-89 season, and conducted the Jupiter Symphony, a musical group, the following season in New York City.
As a mentor to younger generations of string musicians, Mr. Mann has worked intensively with the Alexander, American, Concord, Emerson, New World, Mendelssohn, Tokyo, Brentano, Lark, and St. Lawrence strings quartets, as well as with members of the Cleveland String Quartet and other ensembles. In recent years, he has expanded his teaching to include violin majors at the Juilliard School. Among his students are Juliette Kang, who recently won the Indianapolis International Violin Competition, and Mark Steinberg, the first violinist of the Brentano String Quartet.
Founder and first artistic director of the Ravinia Institute for Young Artists at Chicago's Ravinia Festival, Mr. Mann has also served as chairman of the Chamber Music Panel of the National Endowment for the Arts. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the New York Philharmonic, and president of the Walter W. Naumburg Foundation. In 1990, Mr. Mann was honored as the recipient of the Chamber Music America Service Award and the annual award of the American String Teachers Association. He has received honorary doctorates from Oberlin College, Michigan State University, Earlham College, Jacksonville University, and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Mr. Mann's son, Nicholas, a violinist and violist with whom Mr. Mann often plays duo recitals, is a founding member of the Mendelssohn String Quartet.
In recognition of his contributions to the arts, Robert Mann was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in April 1996.
For further information about the special April 7 concert in Robert Mann's honor, please call the Library of Congress Concert Line at (202) 707-5502.