Dexter Gordon

“Jazz to me is a living music. It’s a music that since its beginning has expressed the feelings, the dreams, hopes, of the people.”  Those are the words of tenor saxophone great Dexter Gordon, born in Los Angeles on Feb. 27, 1923. Gordon performed with Lionel Hampton’s and Louis Armstrong’s bands in the 1940s, and […]

What do Dmitri Shostakovich, John Zorn, and fur accessories have in common?

Thanks to Tomas Hernandez, Senior Music Producer in the Music Division, for assistance with this post. Next Friday, April 16th,  the Coolidge Auditorium hosts the Alexander String Quartet and the Afiara String Quartet in a program that practically defines eclecticism.  Free tickets for this must-see event are still available, with a nominal service charge,  from Ticketmaster. […]

Jazz in the spring: Raymond Scott

You may not know the name Raymond Scott (1908-1994), but if you spent any of your formative years, and perhaps some of  your adult years, watching Warner Brothers cartoons, you’ve heard his music.  Scott’s “Powerhouse” is among the iconic cartoon music compositions, featured in any number of assembly line scenes – not just in Warner […]

Take me out to the Ball Game

The following post is taken in part from an article written by Susan Clermont, Music Specialist, for the Performing Arts Encyclopedia. Like no other American sport, baseball has been glorified and preserved in musical form by inspired songwriters and poets since its beginnings. In 1858, the year when amateur baseball teams in the northeast established […]

Happy Easter

The glorious weather we’re having in Washington gives us much to celebrate in both the secular and spiritual realms. See Easter hymns from the Coptic tradition in Coptic Orthodox Liturgical Chant & Hymnody in the Performing Arts Encyclopedia. Remember Passover with the Yiddish play,  The mother of the world, or, Children come home in The American […]

I’m Frozen and I Can’t Play a Thing!

The following post is by Norman Middleton, Senior Concert Producer in the Music Division. Concert hall conniptions. High note heebeegeebees. Booze, drugs, and wastepaper baskets. The issues surrounding performance anxiety, commonly known as “stage fright” will be examined by Senior Concert Producer Norman Middleton on April 9th at 6:15 p.m. in the Jefferson Building’s LJ119 […]

Laughter is the best Music

“Hardly had the first song been composed before someone invented singing it out of tune. ” — Victor Borge, My Favorite Comedies in Music This April Fool’s Day, before asking your chum if she’d like to hear your musical henway,  read  what Leonard Bernstein said about Humor in Music in a script for one of […]

Jazz in the Spring: My Name is Albert Ayler

During the month of April, the Pickford Theater will host Jazz in the Spring at the Nation’s Library, curated by Larry Appelbaum, Reference Specialist in the Music Division.  The series begins Monday April 5th with the Washington Premiere of My Name is Albert Ayler. The prophetic free jazz saxophonist Albert Ayler, who today is seen as one of […]