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Image of four musicians onstage performing with a city backdrop
Wet Ink Ensemble performing IPSA DIXIT; photo: Eric Brucker

Founder’s Day 2023: Piece Offerings—Focused Encounters with Recent Works by Roger Reynolds and Kate Soper

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Each year on Founder’s Day (October 30th) we celebrate the legacy of Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, the visionary patron whose gifts of the Coolidge Auditorium and an endowment to support a concert series in that space have helped make Concerts from the Library of Congress such a successful venture to this day. By offering our concerts free to the public and not relying on ticket sales, the Library has been able to support adventurous programming that showcases music at the vanguard.

This year we continue that tradition with a Founder’s Day focus on recent music by two fascinating living composers: Roger Reynolds and Kate Soper. Instead of a traditional concert, we will explore a new format and inaugurate what we hope may be a continuing series called “Piece Offerings.” With each composer we will be presenting a single work or part of a work, to be followed immediately by an onstage discussion of the piece with the composer and the performers. We will be given the chance to learn more about the compositional and interpretive processes directly from the artists involved, and right after we have heard the selected work.

Photo of Eric Huebner at the piano while Roger Reynolds observes
Eric Huebner at the piano while Roger Reynolds listens

The first item on the program is part of Roger Reynolds’ Sharespace series—a recent addition for pianist and computer musician called ACTIONS. This work, performed by pianist Eric Huebner and computer musician Jacob Sundstrom, will feature spatialized sound with a six-speaker setup that turns the Coolidge into a playground for the ears. After the performance the artists will discuss the work and the collaborative process that brought it into its current state, which is receiving its world premiere at this event. The Library of Congress is the home of Roger Reynolds’ papers, where researchers have access to Reynolds’ meticulous documentation of his works.

Image of Jacob Sundstrom holding his hair while performing with a computer
Jacob Sundstrom

The second half of the program will feature selections from Kate Soper’s monumental IPSA DIXIT, performed by Wet Ink, with the composer as vocalist. Soper’s work is a virtuosic engagement with art and the intellect; Alex Ross in The New Yorker described it as “Comprehensively astounding…a tour de force in which ideas assume sound and form. Call it philosophy-opera.” The ensemble will perform excerpts from the larger work in a concert version. Afterwards the musicians will speak about the piece and their process of developing the work into its final state over a period of years.

Image of four musicians onstage performing with equations in the background
Wet Ink Ensemble performing IPSA DIXIT; photo: Eric Brucker

We hope that you will join us for this special opportunity to hear exceptional recently composed music, with the composers and performers offering insight into their creative processes. Please note that this event starts at 7 p.m.


Monday, October 30, 2023, 7 p.m.
Coolidge Auditorium
Founder’s Day: Piece Offerings—Focused Encounters with Recent Works by Roger Reynolds and Kate Soper

There will be no pre-concert talk, as conversations with the artists will be part of the concert experience.


Click here for more information and to register.

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