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A Composer for All Seasons: Benjamin Britten

This blog is a brief look at some of Benjamin Britten’s compositions and relevant materials from the NLS Music Section.

American Composers and Musicians from A to Z: G (Part 1 – Gershwin, George)

This week, we will take a look at American composer George Gershwin. George Gershwin was one of the first American composers to use both popular and classical idioms. Years before his most famous compositions were penned, he worked on Tin Pan Alley as a song plugger—that is, someone who was hired to play and promote […]

A Blast of Brass!

Last year we discussed method books available from the NLS Music collection for most band and orchestra instruments. We’ve even done some posts on specific instruments, like saxophone and violin. Today, though, I decided to focus a post specifically on brass instruments. “Why brass?” you ask. Well for one, brass instruments are near and dear […]

Getting Over the Hump with Midweek Music

At NLS, we have an unoccupied cubicle with an electric piano and a small couch in the corridor leading to the music section. Shortly after the completion of the building renovations early this year, a sign saying “Piano Lounge” appeared on the outside wall of this cubicle. Now and then, people would stop in to […]

Nashville Sound: Hargus “Pig” Robbins

Hargus “Pig” Robbins might be the most famous piano player you’ve never heard of, though you’ve likely heard his work. The National Conference of Librarians Serving Blind and Physically Handicapped Individuals will begin in a matter of days in Nashville, Tennessee, so today I want to tell you about a musician who is blind and […]

American Composers and Musicians from A to Z: E (Part 1 – Ellington, Duke)

Continuing our series of American composers from A to Z, we come to the letter E. Personally, I can think of no better example than Duke Ellington. I consider him to be one of the first great quintessential “American” composers of his time, who wrote music in a true American idiom, rather than copying Western […]

Carnegie Hall of the South: Nashville’s Musical Legacy, Part 2

This is the second half of a two-part post on Nashville’s musical history and related books in the NLS Music Collection. Read the first part here: Athens of the South: Nashville’s Musical Legacy, Part 1. Nashville’s most famous music venue, the Ryman Auditorium, was completed in 1892 and was originally a church called the Union […]

American Composers and Musicians from A to Z: D (Part 2 – Davis, “Blind” John and Dranes, Arizona)

Blind John Davis Blind John Davis was born in Mississippi in 1913, but moved to Chicago with his family at a young age.  He lost his sight shortly thereafter at age 9. He began to learn the piano as a teen, and later became a regular session musician for famous blues record producer Lester Melrose […]

Immortal Swing: The Music of Glenn Miller

While thinking about a topic for this week’s blog post, I made a happy discovery: American bandleader and musician Glenn Miller shares a birthday with Frédéric Chopin! Although these two musicians come from very different places and eras, they do share another thing in common besides a birthday: memorable music. We’ll talk about Glenn Miller […]

Veterans Day and Armistice Day – Composers in World War I

This blog takes a look at composers who were affected by World War I and the music that they composed.