Samuel Barber: Serendipitous Discoveries

Dr. Barbara Heyman

Next Tuesday, October 2, 2012, Dr. Barbara Heyman will present a lecture in Coolidge Auditorium entitled “Samuel Barber: Serendipitous Discoveries.” This is another in a series of lectures co-sponsored by the Library of Congress and the American Musicological Society that provides an opportunity for scholars, students and enthusiasts to hear about the kinds of research musicologists pursue after spending time with the Music Division’s unparalleled collections. Tuesday’s talk will focus on the life and music of American composer Samuel Barber (1910-1981), specifically on how inscriptions and quotations on primary source material reveal striking aspects of his compositional approach, as well as recent discoveries including music manuscripts, sketches, and correspondence. You can read a more detailed description of Dr. Heyman’s lecture on the American Musicological Society’s website.

The Library of Congress is the preeminent repository for manuscripts by Barber. His works have been performed in the historic Coolidge Auditorium countless times, the most significant performance being the premiere of Barber’s Hermit Songs, op. 29 with soprano Leontyne Price and Barber himself at the piano. The song cycle was commissioned by Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge and the performance took place on October 30, 1953, Coolidge’s birthday and the date of the annual Founder’s Day concert. You can read more about Barber’s music, connections to the Library of Congress, and even view digitized manuscripts in our online presentation, Samuel Barber at the Library of Congress.

The Library of Congress-American Musicological Society lecture series is now in its fourth year and past lectures are available as webcasts – read more about past lectures and find links to the webcasts here. The lecture series is free and open to the public, so if you live in the DC area and love Samuel Barber, consider coming to the Thomas Jefferson Building next Tuesday at 12:00 noon for what promises to be an enlightening talk!

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