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Two Weeks and Some Change: Upcoming Events at the Library of Congress

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You can’t beat the next two weeks of Concerts from the Library of Congress programming, during which we will offer eight musical experiences that showcase a breadth of artistry and perspectives. Here’s a quick run-down so you can make your plans:

Ben West

Wednesday, October 23, 2019, 7pm
Montpelier Room, Madison Building
“Diversity and the Birth of Broadway: Early Female Authors of the American Musical”
Ben West, musical theater artist and historian

This first of a two-part lecture sequence by Ben West, creator of the new documentary musical series The Show Time! Trilogy, offers an exciting account of the American musical’s early female authors, from vaudeville headliner Nora Bayes to legendary hostess Elsa Maxwell. In the first three decades of the 20th century, amidst the climax of the women’s suffrage movement and the aural revolutions of ragtime and jazz, these often-overlooked female trailblazers – librettists, lyricists, composers – were instrumental in opening doors for future generations and laying the foundation for an American art form.

The second lecture in the sequence, “Diversity and the Birth of Broadway: Early Black Authors of the American Musical,” takes place on Wednesday, February 19, 2020.


Tank and The Bangas. Photo: Josh Cheuse

Friday, October 25, 2019, 8pm
Coolidge Auditorium, Jefferson Building
Tank and The Bangas

Coming from New Orleans, Tank and The Bangas grew up surrounded by grand musical traditions. Steeped in a rich mix of styles, the group has a rare knack for combining fiery soul, deft hip hop, deep-groove R & B and subtle jazz into one dazzling cohesive whole, evoking the scope of their hometown music while retaining a distinctive feel all its own. Powerhouse singer and poet Tarriona “Tank” Ball is a “protean storyteller” (San Francisco Chronicle) and a two-time winner of the National Slam Poetry Championship. Her vivid charisma helped the band win NPR’s 2017 Tiny Desk Concert Contest by unanimous acclaim—beating out 6,000 competitors. Since then their reach has exploded: an ever-widening tour path recently took in a spot with Jimmy Fallon and concerts in 11 European cities. Rolling Stone writes, “Seeing a Tank & the Bangas show is an exercise in positivity.” And as one fan put it: “If you can’t dig this show, you should probably take up stamp collecting.”

Saturday, October 26, 2019, 11am
Coolidge Auditorium, Jefferson Building
Tank and The Bangas | Educational Workshop

Tank and The Bangas will conduct a special educational workshop for a group of invited students.  The workshop will focus on spoken-word poetry and will feature demonstrations of the participants’ work.

To maintain an intimate experience, the audience will be limited to 100 guests first come, first served.


Oscar Hammerstein II Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress

Monday, October 28, 2019, 8pm
Coolidge Auditorium, Jefferson Building
“As Ever, Oscar: Letters and Lyrics of Oscar Hammerstein II”
Jon KalbfleischMusic Director
Conceived and Narrated by Mark HorowitzMusic Division
Tracy Lynn Oliverasoprano | Awa Sal Secka, mezzo soprano
Ben Pattison, tenor | Christopher M. Richardsonbass/baritone
Harry Winter Oscar

Oscar Hammerstein virtually invented the modern musical with his lyrics and librettos for Show Boat, Oklahoma!CarouselSouth PacificThe King and ICinderella, and The Sound of Music. The Library is home to the Hammerstein Collection, which includes over 20,000 letters from and to Oscar. Mark Horowitz has designed a concert that intersperses readings from these letters with songs that relate to them. You’ll hear well-known and much-loved songs while getting rare insights into the extraordinary man behind them.

This program is presented in association with Signature Theatre and with generous support from the Kluge Center.

PRE-CONCERT LECTURE with Mark Horowitz, Music Division (and former Kluge Staff Fellow)
“Inside the Envelope: Behind the Scenes with Oscar Hammerstein Correspondence”
6:30 pm – Whittall Pavilion


Art Kane: Harlem 1958

Tuesday, October 29, 2019, 7pm
Montpelier Room, Madison Building
“Art Kane: Harlem 1958”
Benny Golsonsaxophonist and composer
Jonathan Kanemusician and photographer
Larry AppelbaumMusic Division

A handsome new art book marks the 60th anniversary of Art Kane’s iconic photograph, a glimpse of jazz history documenting a now-legendary gathering of 57 jazz artists on the steps of a Harlem brownstone. Larry Appelbaum talks with the photographer’s son, Jonathan Kane, and saxophonist and composer Benny Golson, one of two living musicians captured in this eloquent image.  “Not only is this photo important to the people in it, but it should be a reminder of where we need to be: together” (Quincy Jones).

Presented through the generous support of the Revada Foundation of the Logan Family

*Books will be available for sale.


Quicksilver. Photo: Teresa Tam

Wednesday, October 30, 2019, 8pm
Coolidge Auditorium, Jefferson Building
Founder’s Day Concert

J.S. Bach was very much aware of his musical heritage, especially of those German composers who had come before him.  Quicksilver’s program explores the extraordinarily inventive 17th-century music that influenced Bach’s development. From Northern Germany, the elaborate inventions of masters like Dieterich Buxtehude and the highly imaginative Weckmann caught Bach’s imagination and prompted him to make his epic hike to Lübeck.  From Southern Germany, Quicksilver investigates the ingenious chamber music of J.J. Fux as well as the elegant French-influenced dance music of Johann Pachelbel and the virtuosic inventions of Johann Schmeltzer and H.I.F. von Biber. And from Leipzig itself we will hear from the eloquent Johann Rosenmüller — a man who would have been Bach’s predecessor at the Thomaskirche had he not had to flee the city due to persecution.

“Quicksilver signifies something unpredictable and swiftly responsive. It’s the perfect name for an ensemble that revels in music of the highest quality – and that demands exceptional instrumental skills.” (Gramophone)


Midori. Photo: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

Saturday, November 2, 2019, 8pm
Coolidge Auditorium, Jefferson Building
Midori and Ieva Jokubaviciute

Global cultural ambassador, activist, dedicated music educator and a musician who is never at rest, Midori brings dynamic innovation and an expressive insight to performances that have made her one of the pre-eminent violin soloists of her generation. As part of our focus on women composers, Midori has created a program with pieces by prominent living female composers. Tamar Diesendruck’s new Library commission will be premiered on this program, which also includes an earlier Library commission by Sofia Gubaidulina. Midori is joined by pianist Ieva Jokubaviciute.


Dan Morgenstern

Thursday, November 7, 2019, 7pm
Montpelier Room, Madison Building
“Reminiscing in Tempo: Some Highlights from Nine Decades with Jazz”
Dan Morgenstern, Library of Congress Jazz Scholar

Dan Morgenstern returns as a Library of Congress Jazz Scholar in the 2019-2020 season, invited to lecture and do research in the Music Division’s collections in a mini-residency underwritten by the Revada Foundation. Jazz historian, author and archivist, former Director of the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University, and longtime editor of Downbeat magazine, Morgenstern has made major contributions to jazz criticism and scholarship that have set the tone for contemporary jazz studies. His talk will reflect on his lifelong fascination with jazz.

Presented through the generous support of the Revada Foundation of the Logan Family.

As always, tickets for our concerts are free. Tickets for 2019 events were available starting on Wednesday, September 11 at 10 am ET. This year all films, lectures and preconcert events will again be general admission, with no tickets needed. Seating will be first-come, first-served. We will still offer registration for films and lectures, so that we can send a reminder and notify you of any schedule changes.

Click here for more information about ticketing and what to do if you don’t have a ticket (HINT: you should still come!)

Click here to see the Season-At-A-Glance, where you can click on each event to learn more.

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