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Irving Fine Centennial Preview

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Fine Copland Brandeis
Irving Fine and Aaron Copland teaching at Brandeis University, 1961 (Irving Fine Collection, Library of Congress)

Library of Congress Commemorates Irving Fine

World Premiere Performances, Lecture, Symposium and Film

December 2-6, the Library of Congress, home to the Irving Fine Collection, commemorates the 100th anniversary of the birth of this important American composer, whom Aaron Copland described as “the greatest of us all.”

The weeklong celebration includes panel discussions, a lecture, a film screening and several performances that shed light on Fine’s musical accomplishments and the artistic world he inhabited–made possible, in part, by his work as an educator. The events will feature multiple generations of scholars, performers and members of the Fine family.

A leading voice in the American Neoclassical School, Fine was a member of the Boston Group of composers–Arthur Berger, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Lukas Foss and Harold Shapero–who electrified the international scene during the mid-20th century. A student of Boulanger, Koussevitzky and Piston, Fine wrote compositions that range in style from populist Americana to serialism. As the founder of the Brandeis University School of Creative Arts, Department of Music, and its internationally renowned Festival of the Creative Arts, Fine transformed the Brandeis campus into a global destination for innovative performers.

Throughout the celebration, the Library’s Stradivari instruments will be used in performance by the Chiara String Quartet. Fine’s Library of Congress commissions will be performed, as well as two new works composed for this commemoration: a string quintet called The Heart Wakes Into by American composer Jefferson Friedman and Fine’s Toccata Concertante transcribed for two pianos by David H. Plylar of the Library’s Music Division.

Fine was a colleague and friend of two figures central to the Library’s special collections: Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, who commissioned his Romanza for Wind Quintet–to be performed Dec. 2 by “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band–and Serge Koussevitzky, who commissioned Fine’s String Quartet, to be performed Dec. 5 by the Chiara String Quartet.

Unless otherwise noted, all events and concerts will be held in the Coolidge Auditorium located on the ground floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street, SE, Washington, D.C. All programs are subject to change without notice. Tickets, for those programs requiring them, are distributed by TicketMaster at (202) 397-7328, (410) 547-7328 and (703) 573-7328. Various ticketing service charges apply. Tickets are also available at TicketMaster outlets and online at

Although the supply of tickets may be exhausted, there are often empty seats at concert time. Interested patrons are encouraged to come to the Library up to two hours prior to concert start times to obtain rush tickets.

Digital Program

Library of Congress Irving Fine Centennial Festival
December 2-6, 2014

Tuesday, Dec. 2, noon, (new venue) Coolidge Auditorium
Lecture-Recital: “Irving Fine and the American Woodwind Quintet”

Nicholas Alexander Brown, Library of Congress Music Division
“The President’s Own” United States Marine Band Woodwind Quintet performs works by Fine.
No tickets required

Thursday, Dec. 4, 2 p.m., Mary Pickford Theater, James Madison Building
Film Screening

Charles Munch conducts the Boston Symphony Orchestra performing works of Fine and Debussy.
Tickets required

Friday, Dec. 5, 8 p.m., Coolidge Auditorium
Chiara String Quartet with Simone Dinnerstein, piano

The Chiara String Quartet performs on the Library’s Stradivari instruments, joining forces with pianist Simone Dinnerstein to commemorate the Fine centennial with works by Mozart, Fine and a Library of Congress commission by Jefferson Friedman. Presented in association with Cassaday & Company, Inc.
Tickets required
Friedman | The Heart Wakes Into (world premiere), commissioned by the Verna and Irving Fine Fund in the Library of Congress
Fine | String Quartet, commissioned by the Koussevitzky Music Foundation in the Library of Congress
W.A. Mozart | String Quartet in C major, K. 465, “Dissonance”

*Preconcert Presentation (6:30 p.m. Whittall Pavilion): Jefferson Friedman and members of the Chiara String Quartet discuss Friedman’s Library of Congress commission with David H. Plylar of the Music Division. No tickets required

Saturday, Dec. 6, 2 p.m., Coolidge Auditorium
Irving Fine Centennial Celebration: Symposium and World Premiere Performance

Irving Fine experts and scholars, including Pulitzer Prize-winner Yehudi Wyner, convene to discuss the noted composer’s music and life, his contemporaries and his place in the American Neoclassical School. The Chiara String Quartet, with pianists Daniel Pesca and Oliver Hagen and clarinetist Alan R. Kay, performs Fine’s Toccata Concertante, transcribed for two pianos, and Copland’s Sextet. Presented in association with the Brandeis Alumni Association. Tickets required

Saturday, Dec. 6, 7 p.m. Coolidge Auditorium
The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, U.K.

The Choir of Clare College, Graham Ross, director, makes its Library of Congress debut with a commemoration of Irving Fine’s legacy as one of the preeminent American composers of choral music. Presented in association with Songs of America and the British Council USA.
Tickets Required
Fine | The Hour-Glass; A Short Alleluia; Three Choruses from Alice in Wonderland (First Series)
Monteverdi | Nisi Dominus from the 1610 Vespers
Britten | A Ceremony of Carols
Bernstein | Chichester Psalms
Schoenberg | “Friede auf Erden,” op.13.

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