Great Mustaches of the Library of Congress: Music Division Edition

Our present-day fascination with the facial hair of yore may have behind it a number of reasons: a yearning for the sartorial elegance of by-gone days; an urge to lampoon the historical patriarchal hegemony;  the deep-seated instinct, like that found among birdwatchers and trainspotters, to catalogue the varieties of hirsute experience; a lot of spare […]

An’ a one, an’ a two …

Bandleader-accordionist Lawrence Welk  was the musical voice of a faraway time in America, before  punk rock, hip-hop, and Lady Gaga.  The son of German immigrants from the Ukraine, Welk was born in Strasburg, North Dakota on March 11, 1903.  The first big break in Welk’s long and storied career came in 1927, when Lawrence Welk […]

Happy 100th Birthday, Samuel Barber!

The following post is by James Wintle, Reference Specialist. The Music Division of the Library of Congress, in cooperation with the Samuel Barber estate and G. Schirmer, Inc., have created an online exhibition of original manuscripts, correspondence, and performances to commemorate the birth of one of America’s most beloved composers. The web presentation is available […]

Women’s History Month: Katherine Dunham

Katherine Dunham was an American dancer-choreographer who was best known for incorporating African American, Caribbean, African, and South American movement styles and themes into her ballets. The Katherine Dunham Collection at the Library of Congress consists of moving image materials that document the extraordinary journey of a woman who changed the face of American modern […]

Stop! In the Name of Music!

In Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation of the Anthony Burgess novel A Clockwork Orange, Malcolm Macdowell is memorably conditioned to veer from his life of ultra-violence with generous doses of Ludwig Van.  But does music really sooth the savage breast? Does blasting Barry Manilow at high volume  drive away delinquent teenagers? The answer may surprise you. […]

Our National Anthem

On this date in 1931, President Herbert Hoover signed the Act establishing “The Star Spangled Banner” as the National Anthem of the United States of America.  The Library of Congress has in its collections a treasure trove of  sheet music (including a Spanish-language edition), song sheets (including two in German), and recordings of  “The Star […]

Roger Reynolds: Artists and Technology

Today, March 3rd, at 2:00 pm in the Whittall Pavillion, adjacent to the Coolidge Auditorium in the Jefferson Building, the Music Division plays host to a forum on Artists and Technology.  A presentation by composers Steve Antosca and Roger Reynolds will be moderated by Professor Thomas DeLio from the University of Maryland, College Park. This […]

Happy Birthday Chopin!

The following post is by Robin Rausch, Senior Music Specialist. If you have ever been a serious student of the piano, you have likely had the pleasure of playing Frédéric Chopin’s music.  He wrote almost exclusively for the instrument; his ballades, etudes, mazurkas, nocturnes, polonaises, preludes, scherzos, and waltzes count among the staples of the pianist’s […]

African-American History Month: James Reese Europe

“He was our benefactor and inspiration. Even more, he was the Martin Luther King of Music.” Pianist Eubie Blake said this of  composer/bandleader James Reese Europe,  who was born in Mobile, Alabama on February 22, 1881. Europe’s accomplishments run from the grand “Concert of Negro Music” that he conducted for a 125-man orchestra at Carnegie Hall in […]