Between April 7 and 12, the Library of Congress will present a lineup of performances, talks and educational programs dedicated to the Librarys collection riches in contemporary music. The week features leading performers of the international music scene, the world premieres of two Library of Congress commissions, and the Washington, D.C., premiere of American composer Elliott Carters final work, Epigrams.
April 7 marks the beginning of the Librarys 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 Librarys Dina Koston and Roger Shapiro Fund for New Music, with additional support from the British Council. Instruments from the Librarys Stradivari collection will be used in performance throughout the residency.
Presently artist-in-association with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Knussen will be joined for two concerts by Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (BCMG) in its Washington, D.C., debut. The groups April 8 concert will be attended by the Lord Mayor of Birmingham (England), Councillor Mike Leddy, and, his wife, the Lady Mayoress, Mrs. 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. The groups two concerts will feature works commissioned by the Librarys Koussevitzky Music Foundation and works with original manuscripts housed in the Music Division, including Schoenbergs Serenade and Stravinskys Septet.
Oliver Knussen conducts the April 8th concert, which features mezzo-soprano Lucy Schaufer, baritone Andrew Sauvageau and Knussen’s own Ophelia Dances. On April 11, British pianist and composer Huw Watkins joins BCMG for the world premiere of American composer Marc Neikrugs Tiger’s Nest for piano trio, a Library of Congress commission, and the D.C. premiere of Carters Epigrams.
Knussen and BCMG will lead a special composition workshop for four student composers from the University of Maryland and the Peabody Conservatory, 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 in the Coolidge Auditorium on April 7.
Local favorite The Presidents Own United States Marine Band will return to the Library on April 12 as part of the Knussen residency. The concert was curated by Knussen and features gems from the wind-ensemble repertoire, including Stravinskys Symphonies of Wind Instruments, Liebersons Wind Messengers and Wind Rose by Carter, which is dedicated to Knussen.
On April 10, The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center presents an evening of innovative contemporary music. The concert features the world premiere of a string quintet by leading Finnish composer, Einojuhani Rautavaara, commissioned by the Library. Closing the evening is French composer Olivier Messiaens Quartet for the End of Time, which he composed while imprisoned in a German P.O.W. camp during World War II.