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Five Questions: Solomon Haile Selassie, Concert Office

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Inspired by a regular interview feature on In Custodia Legis, the blog of the Law Library of Congress; and modelled after a feature on the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s blog, In the Muse brings you the first in a series of Five Questions. Our first participant is Solomon Haile Selassie, who works in the Music Division’s Concert Office.

Solomon, what are you working on these days?

We, in the Concert Office, are feverishly working to finish the first half of our 85th Anniversary season! I’m working hard on two really exciting projects! First, I’m so happy to help bring the Country Music Association’s Songwriters with LITTLE BIG TOWN (one of my favorites) to the Coolidge on December 4th.  The second is taking the Library concerts on the road to the  Atlas Performing Arts Center on H Street! This one really is a labor of love.  Atlas is such a great institution in this city and there are only a few like it in the country. The neighborhood that it’s in is really thriving and I think it’s super cool that the Library is moving (if only for a few days a year) down to the other end of the Capital. It fits right in with the mission of the Library and makes us look awesome and invested in the communities of the city as a whole, not just our little area around First Street.

What do you listen to while you work?

When I’m not listening FOR work; to get me through the day I must admit that I’ve found instrumental soundtracks to be super motivating. Composers like Hans Zimmer (The Dark Knight, Sherlock Holmes), John Murphy (Sunshine), Two Steps From Hell (Star Trek), Michael Giacchino (Lost), and Cliff Eidelman (Star Trek VI) really know how to move time.

Solomon's favorite treasure in the Music Division: Violoncello by Antonio Stradivari, Cremona, 1699, "Castelbarco." Photograph by Michael Zirkle.

Do you have a favorite treasure in the Music Division’s collections?

The Castlebarco Cello. Not only because it’s always a treat when I get to let an artist use it and see the look on their face, but also because it’s deep-belly tones float from the stage to the back of the house in the Coolidge Auditorium. Sometimes, when I’m sitting way back and the cello is on stage it sounds like the music is floating over the heads of the audience directly to my ear. It’s transfixing and intoxicating. I cannot wait until Dec 18 [when the Sybarite5 come to the Coolidge -ed.], when it comes back out to play!

Tell me of your musical interests outside the Library.

I do a lot of theatre, so musical theatre is obviously of interest (or an occupational hazard, depending). Caroline, or Change by Tony Kushner is my absolute favorite, although it is not really a musical. It’s more like a chamber opera. Besides that, for some reason it surprises people that I love country music – musicians like Luke Bryan, Little Big Town, Sugarland, Laura Bell Bundy and Reba [McEntire].  I also love rock bands. Florence and the Machine, Story of the Year, 30 Seconds to Mars, Carolina Liar, Alter Bridge, and The National, are among my favorites. And I have an affinity for DJs Justice, Deadmau5 and Eric Prydz. It’s all over the place, a very hard question to answer.
What would you like me to ask you about?

The beauty and splendor of Montana. I’ll tell you all about it right now… it is awesome beyond belief. End of story. Go there!

Comments (2)

  1. Hi, Solomon–I still think the Music Division should softly play Hadyn’s Surprise Symphony in the Whittall when the numbers are called out and everyone is anxiously waiting to see if they will get in to the concert. Keep up the great work!
    –Volunteer Docent

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