It feels great to be able to announce the full return of Concerts from the Library of Congress to the Coolidge Auditorium! We have a wonderful series planned for you this year, to be revealed in two parts. You can read the press release for the fall segment here. While we will continue to have a few virtual releases this spring, almost all of our events will be taking place in the singular Coolidge Auditorium or the warmly familiar Whittall Pavilion, with some performances and conversations to become available online as time passes.
To those who were able to attend our in-person concerts from April through August: welcome back! For those new to the Library’s events or considering a return at long last, we invite you to join us at any or all of the concerts that interest you; there is nothing quite like the shared experience of live music. Following our explosive opening weekend (October 14 & 15, 2022) that pairs super-suave Banda Magda alongside the Apollon Musagète Quartet with pianist Garrick Ohlsson (who joins for a performance of the Shostakovich piano quintet), you will encounter an intimate sequence of solo and chamber music concerts that we have designed to reacquaint you with the marvels of the Coolidge Auditorium. In a sense, it is a series of love letters to the space; with each concert you can learn to listen anew to the delicate and powerful worlds of our guest artists.
On the solo front we will have eminent violinist Rachel Podger exploring repertoire familiar and perhaps less so; pianist Margaret Leng Tan in a tribute to the late George Crumb; keyboardist Benjamin Alard in two Bach-centric concerts that feature the harpsichord and Wanda Landowska’s own clavichord; and Thomas Dunford with a treasury of works on offer that you will want to “lute” yourself. For duos we have singer Aymée Nuviola with pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba in a tribute to their homeland of Cuba; flutist Emmanuel Pahud and Alessio Bax with music from Bach to Bacri; and cellist Jamal Aliyev with composer and pianist Fazil Say in a concert of transcriptions and Say’s own cello sonata, inspired by four Turkish cities. On the chamber music side we will hear the renowned Smetana Trio playing music by its namesake and the Aizuri Quartet will perform a selection of transcriptions and original works for our Stradivari Anniversary concert. Which of our instruments will they play? Place your Betts! Participation is its own ‘Ward.
We decided to do something a little different this year for Founder’s Day, the annual event honoring the person responsible for the Library’s acoustically superb auditorium and the creator of our series, Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge. The celebration on October 29 will kick off with a lecture sponsored by the American Musicological Society given by Mark Pottinger, entitled “Concert Hall Acoustics and the Sonic Ideal in Early Twentieth-Century America: The Coolidge Auditorium (1925).” This lecture will be given in the eponymous auditorium, and will be followed by a Liederabend with singers from the Curtis Opera Theatre led by bass-baritone Eric Owens. They will sing quartets, duets and solo Lieder drawn largely from the Library’s manuscript holdings, including a special excerpt from a song cycle composed by Coolidge herself.
Lastly, or rather firstly—we are excited to offer a special pre-season event in collaboration with Washington Performing Arts and Dance Theatre of Harlem: “Celebrating Hazel Scott: Pianist, Singer, Actress and Activist.” This will take place in the Coolidge on Wednesday, September 28, 2022 and will include a panel, a ballet excerpt danced onstage, and an appearance by the Janelle Gill Trio to honor this amazing figure.
We encourage you to join us, to reconnect with one of the great spaces in which to hear the music you love. We want to see our old friends and make new ones. If this is your first time, be warned—you do run the risk of getting hooked by these amazing, free programs. Check out the full list of concerts here and learn more about each event.