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Be a 2024 Junior Fellow in the Music Division!

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2017 Junior Fellow Chava Lansky shows off boxes from the Pearl Lang Collection.
2017 Junior Fellow Chava Lansky shows off boxes from the Pearl Lang Collection. Photo credit: Libby Smigel.

Are you an undergraduate, graduate, or recently graduated higher education student? If you’re also a U.S. citizen, check out the two unique 2024 Junior Fellows projects our staff have put together for this summer! Fellowships are paid full-time positions for 10 weeks.

I’m excited to lead the in-person project Mind the Gap: Taking Stock of Contemporary Composer Voices with my invaluable colleague David Plylar from the Concert Office. The Junior Fellow will conduct a gap analysis of the Music Division’s print musical scores by major 20th- and 21st-century composers of Western concert music. This gap analysis will ensure that American composers especially from Black, Indigenous, Hispanic or Latin American, and Asian communities who have been historically underrepresented in the Library’s collections are documented, especially self-published composers. Staff will use this information to guide future collection development decisions.

What’s the inspiration for this project? As a contemporary music specialist both onstage and in the Music Division, I always search our score holdings to see how I can highlight and learn about the wealth of contemporary and avant-garde music shelved in our stacks for reading room patrons, lecture attendees, concert audiences, and display visitors. David does likewise for the Music Division’s concert series. However, there have been many occasions when we have come up dry looking for key pieces and composers both alive today and active during the 20th century. One of the reasons is the rise of self-publishing in the past 30-plus years.

An example of one such composer relevant to November, Native American Heritage Month, is Raven Chacon (b. 1977). He is a Diné composer and visual artist, 2022 Pulitzer Prize Winner, and 2023 MacArthur Fellow. Many of his scores are only available through his website as opposed to a traditional music publisher or score distributor. This information is exactly what our Junior Fellow can record so that we can work towards acquiring such works for future patrons.

The second Junior Fellows project in the Music Division this summer centers dance: Martha Graham Legacy Project. Our Dance Curator Libby Smigel will lead this project with Music Reference Specialist Heather Darnell. The Martha Graham Legacy Project 2024 will generate new resources to highlight the Library of Congress materials on iconic modern dance choreographer Martha Graham. Deserving of greater attention is Graham’s commitment to cross-cultural artistic collaboration with Japanese American sculptor Isamu Noguchi for set design and Columbian-born artist Umaña for costumes. Also worthy of more recognition are artists of color promoted by Graham’s company, such as African American Mary Hinkson and Japanese American Yuriko. The Junior Fellow will survey the Music Division’s collections on Graham and her artistic collaborators, as well as related photographs, books, videos, and other materials throughout the Library. 

You can learn about our rich history of dance-focused Junior Fellows projects on our blog, including: Pearl Lang: A Choreographer Between Two Worlds, A Musical Artifact Rediscovered for Nagrin and Starer’s Indeterminate Figure, Sophie Maslow and the Chanukah Festivals for Israel, Severed Limbs and Other Findings in the Daniel Nagrin Collection, and “A Plan and a Hope:” Woody Guthrie, Sophie Maslow, and the Many Gifts of Modern Dance.

Visit the Junior Fellows Internship page for more information about the program. Apply for these on-site opportunities through this USA Jobs posting. Applications close on November 27, 2023. Send questions about the application process to [email protected].

Libby, Heather, David, and I look forward to seeing your applications on our desks!

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