Concerts from the Library of Congress, 2011-2012


The Library of Congress is an unbeatable destination for music-lovers, with a reputation for extraordinary concerts in extraordinary surroundings. Our concert series, established by Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge in 1925, has enjoyed an enviable set of advantages: unequalled music collections, a superb concert hall, and a vault of rare instruments. Painting of Franz LisztWe invite you to join us this season for a year of exceptional performances–classical, jazz, pop, country, and more. Plus lectures… thoughtful conversations with musicians, composers, scholars, and curators… exhibits, film screenings… and master classes and workshops for students of all ages. You can experience and enjoy them all, FREE, here at the Nation’s Library.

For the 2011-2012 season, Concerts from the Library of Congress draws the listener deep into the treasure trove of the world’s largest musical archive. A few highlights for the coming year:

We celebrate the 200th birth anniversary of Franz Liszt, opening our vaults for a fascinating display of Lisztiana and convening some of the world’s best known Liszt interpreters. From October 19 through November 5, our Franz Liszt Bicentenary Project presents performances, Image of Dina Kostenlectures and discussions about an iconic figure – perhaps the most charismatic performer of the 19th century – whose life defines the concept of celebrity and continues to fire our imaginations.

The Library’s newly-established Dina Koston and Roger Shapiro Fund for New Music honors the life and legacy of a noted composer and pianist, Dina Koston, known for her integrity as a performer and presenter. Two events acknowledge her eloquent style as a programmer: Joy Zinoman directs a production of Samuel Beckett’s ephemeral short play Ohio Impromptu as a prelude to Koston’s last composition, Distant Intervals, and other new works from the Cygnus Ensemble. And pianist Leon Fleisher, Koston’s longtime artistic partner and friend, performs and conducts a wonderful evening of Ligeti, Koston, and Brahms, featuring the Liebeslieder Waltzes.

Image of Desi Arnaz and Lucille BallBABALU! An admiring homage to two of America’s legendary entertainers, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Hosted by singer Lucie Arnaz, with guest artists Desi Arnaz, Jr., Raúl Esparza and Valarie Pettiford, this terrific evening recreates the sizzling, snazzy orchestrations of the Desi Arnaz Orchestra, now preserved in the Library’s collections – and makes a bow to the sixtieth anniversary of one of the best-loved shows in television history.

A 6-part BachFest makes a special Musical Offering for the season – we have invited top-drawer Bach specialists for events designed to spotlight the Library’s substantial resources related to the composer: Concerto Köln (with a Master Class for the audience); Juilliard Baroque; Painting of J.S. Bach by E.G. HaussmannBaroque cellist Tanya Tomkins, violist Roberto Díaz; marimbist Pius Cheung; and a screening of Bach & Friends by filmmaker Michael Lawrence.

And at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, a trio of exciting jazz and world music concerts: Gretchen Parlato shares the stage with Gerald Clayton; Nguyên Lê’s Saiyuki Trio imagines an “Asia without borders” and singer José James deconstructs the definitions of jazz, hip hop and performance art.

Our Talking About Music series shares the knowledge and insight of scholars, performers, composers, critics, and other experts. Thursday Noontime Lectures by the Music Division’s staff curators provide intriguing snapshots from our collections – more music per square foot than anywhere else in the world. And a partnership with the American Musicological Society offers events by distinguished presenters: William Meredith, Malcolm Bilson, and Thomas Brothers.

Concerts are presented in the Library’s historic Coolidge Auditorium, located in the Thomas Jefferson Building, 1st and Independence, S.E., unless otherwise noted (view Library of Congress maps & floor plans). All events are free of charge to the public, but tickets are required, available through TicketMaster for a nominal service charge, and from the Atlas Performing Arts Center box office for onLOCation at the Atlas events. For updated concert listings, and details about repertoire and preconcert presentations, please visit this Web site frequently and subscribe to the concert series mailing list. All programs are subject to change without notice.