June 4th was the birthday of Cuban-born composer and reed player Paquito D’Rivera. His clarinet and saxophone work has graced a diverse range of ensembles, from the incendiary Cuban-jazz group Irakere to the National Symphony Orchestra. A performance of “Merengue” by cellist Yo-Yo Ma won D’Rivera a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental in 2004. Other Grammy Award winning recordings include Funk Tango (Best Latin Jazz Album, 2007) and Riberas, with the Buenos Aires String Quartet (Best Classical Recording, 2005). The Paquito D’Rivera Ensemble performed at the Library of Congress in 2002. This concert marked the premiere of D’Rivera’s “Fiddle dreams,” commissioned by the McKimFund and performed by guest violinist Regina Carter. You can watch a video of the entire performance here, in a selection from Library of Congress Concerts in the Performing Arts Encyclopedia.
Today, June 8th, is the birthday of composer Robert Schumann (1810-1856). Read about Schumann’s Burla in G Minor in the Moldenhauer Archives in American Memory. Watch this space for news of more Robert Schumann materials to be made available online as we celebrate his bicentennial year.