Press contact: Erin Allen (202) 707-7302
Public contact: Donna Williams (202) 707-2329
Website: Concerts at the Library of Congress

Aug. 3, 2009 (REVISED November 2, 2009)

Library of Congress Announces 2009-2010 Concert Season

The Art of the Quartet, Premieres of Commissions by Caleb Burhans, Simon Shaheen and Ezequiel Viñao, and onLOCation at the Atlas Highlight the Season

The Concerts from the Library of Congress series presents a definitive look at the intimate art of the string quartet as the centerpiece of its 84th concert season, which offers 32 concerts, three film series, and 25 lectures by notable scholars, scientists and other experts.

The Library has commissioned two new works for string quartet, from Caleb Burhans and Ezequiel Viñao, to be premiered by the Jack and St. Lawrence quartets, respectively. Composer and pianist Robert Greenberg partners with the Alexander Quartet in a special lecture-demonstration on the Beethoven quartet. Two concerts feature larger-scale combinations: the Mendelssohn Octet—a unique period-instrument performance—and Shostakovich’s "Two Pieces for String Quartet."

Capping the Library’s year-long Mendelssohn Bicentenary celebration, two fall concerts explore the composer’s original conception for two landmark works—his op. 20 Octet and the op. 49 piano trio. Marking the anniversary of Robert Schumann’s birth in 2010 are concerts presenting the complete Schumann piano trios, as well as a seldom-heard trio by Clara Schumann. The Woodley Ensemble salutes Schumann and Samuel Barber in an evening of partsongs for mixed choir by both composers, and the Henschel Quartet performs Barber’s op. 11 string quartet.

The Library goes "onLOCation" to the Atlas Performing Arts Center (1333 H. St. N.E., Wshington, D.C.) for jazz and world music concerts, showcasing three visionary composer-performers: drummer Dafnis Prieto, violinist and oud player Simon Shaheen—who premieres his Library of Congress McKim Fund commission for violin and keyboard—and pianist Uri Caine. Classically trained, with commissions from prestigious ensembles and institutions, the three are recognized for a command of technique and expression across musical cultures, and for their strong influence on musicians and composers of their generation.

Experts in Medieval music, the performers of the Sequentia ensemble bring alive the ancient Edda saga in "The Rheingold Curse," a riveting re-creation involving lighting, staging and surtitles. Accompanying the performance, a pre-concert roundtable headed by the Ambassador of Iceland discusses the Library’s Edda sources, including a manuscript fragment from a 13th-century copy, and a vast cache of books, music, films and other artifacts relating to this mythic story, which was a precursor of "The Nibelungenlied" that inspired Wagner and Tolkien.

Favorite artists return to the Coolidge for special projects: Menahem Pressler invites three colleagues from the top tier of international chamber artists—Alexander Kerr, Kim Kashkashian and Antonio Meneses—for an evening of Mozart and Dvorák. Also, the esteemed Juilliard Quartet, with strong ties to the Library from a 40-year residency, returns with new first violinist Nicholas Eanet and offers a Saturday string workshop, open to the general public.

An ongoing series, "Insights: Exploring the Collections," opens the archives of the Music Division to provide unique educational opportunities for study and performance for the community at large and for students at the nation’s top-ranked music schools and conservatories. Under these auspices, Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music sends a talented team of honors students to experience the Library’s treasures first-hand and present their research in a special performance cosponsored by the university.

The popular Music and the Brain series returns for a second season of 18 lectures, panel discussions, film screenings and several "Mind of the Musician" encounters with composers and performers. Presented as part of the umbrella series, "Talking About Music," these events are co-sponsored by the Library’s Music Division and the Science, Business and Technology Division, through the generous support of the Dana Foundation.

The Library’s concert series is presented free of charge to the public but requires tickets for admission, distributed by TicketMaster at (202) 397-7328, (410) 547-7328 and (703) 573-7328. Each ticket carries a nominal service charge of $2.80, with additional charges for phone orders and handling. Tickets are also available at TicketMaster outlets and online at Although the supply of tickets may be exhausted, there are often empty seats at concert time. Interested patrons are encouraged to come to the Library by 6:30 p.m. on concert nights to wait in the standby line for no-show tickets. Tickets for events at the Atlas Performing Arts Center will be available through the Atlas Box Office, 202-399-7993. For further information, please call the concert information line at (202) 707-5502, or visit

Unless otherwise noted, all concerts will be held at 8 p.m. in the Coolidge Auditorium, located on the ground floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street, S.E., Washington, D.C. All pre-concert lectures will be held at 6:15 p.m. in the Thomas Jefferson Building. Programs are subject to change without notice.


Wednesday, Sept. 16
Homegrown Concert at Noon
Wayne Newell and Blanche Sockabasin perform traditional Passamaquoddy music from Maine
No tickets required

Wednesday, Oct. 7
Homegrown Concert at Noon
Rodeo poet Paul Zarzyski and cowboy singer-composer Wylie Gustafson from Montana
No tickets required

Friday, Oct. 9
A trio of virtuoso soloists—violinist Frank Huang, cellist Alisa Weilerstein, and pianist Ron Regev—come together for a concert with a Mendelssohn focus: the first public performance of the composer’s original version of his D minor Trio.
Mendelssohn: Cello Sonata no. 2
Adams: "Road Movies" (McKim Fund commission)
Mendelssohn: Piano Trio in D minor, op. 49
Tickets available Sept. 9

Pre-concert presentation: Ron Regev compares Mendelssohn’s two versions for op. 49.
No tickets required

Friday, Oct. 16 at noon in the Mumford Room
Insights: Exploring the Collections
Chris Hillman
Country rock pioneer and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Chris Hillman talks about his four-decade career and takes a look at his songs covered by such artists as Sheryl Crow, Tom Petty, EmmyLou Harris and KD Lang.
Co-sponsored by the American Folklife Center
No tickets required

Friday, Oct. 16
Winner of the Concert Artists Guild and the Kuhmo, London, and Bordeaux International chamber competitions, the Carducci belongs to the cream of young chamber groups in Great Britain.
Haydn: Quartet in E-flat Major, op. 33, no. 2 ("Joke")
Moeran: Quartet no. 2 in E-flat Major
Beethoven: Quartet in C Major, op. 59, no. 3 ("Razumovsky")
Tickets available Sept. 16

Monday, Oct. 19
The first period-instrument performance of Felix Mendelssohn’s masterly Octet, informed by the Library’s original score for the work, and a lecture by musicologist Clive Brown. Britain’s Eroica quartet brings along four colleagues from Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique.
Spohr: Double String Quartet no. 3 in E minor, op. 87
Mendelssohn: Octet in E-flat Major, op. 20
Tickets available Sept. 16

Pre-concert presentation: Clive Brown, Leeds University, United Kingdom, discusses Spohr and Mendelssohn.
No tickets required

Wednesday, Oct. 28 at noon in the Coolidge Auditorium
WALTER FRISCH of Columbia University discusses "Arnold Schoenberg: The Early Years, Through Verklärte Nacht and Pierrot Lunaire."
Arnold Schoenberg’s extraordinary development in the early years of his career is the focus of this lecture, cosponsored by the Music Division and the American Musicological Society. During this period Schoenberg went from being little known outside a small circle in Vienna to gaining wide recognition across Europe, and even beyond, as a leading musical modernist. His compositions reflect profound transformations from styles influenced by Brahms, Wagner, and Mahler, to an intuitively developed atonality and a novel method of text-setting. The lecture will draw on correspondence and on autograph musical sources held at the Library of Congress.
No tickets required

Friday, Oct. 30
Coolidge Auditorium Founder’s Day
ONE MINUTE MORE with pianist Guy Livingston
60 composers, 60 Films, 60 seconds each—one pianist. "Don’t Panic" is the project title for this fascinating multimedia production from American pianist Guy Livingston, who recruited a team of five Dutch filmmakers and 60 composers from 23 countries. Livingston will discuss his work following the concert.
Tickets available Sept. 23

Tuesday, Nov. 3
Steeped in the Czech quartet tradition, the Zemlinsky received top prizes in the Banff, London and Prague Spring international competitions.
Mozart: Quartet in C Major, K.465 ("Dissonance")
Viktor Kalabis: String Quartet no. 7
Zemlinsky: String Quartet no. 1 in A Major, op. 4
Tickets available Sept. 23

Friday, Nov. 6
This Warsaw foursome, notable for "unusually sweet and immaculately tuned sound," has been honored with the Szymanowski Award by the Karol Szymanowski Foundation, the first string quartet to receive it.
Haydn: Quartet in C Major, op. 76, no. 3 ("Emperor")
Szymanowski: Quartet no. 2, op. 56
Mendelssohn: Quartet in D Major, op. 44, no. 1
Tickets available Sept. 23

Saturday, Nov. 14
Collaborators in Yo Yo Ma's Silk Road Project, the master kamancheh (spike fiddle) player/composer Kayhan Kalhor tours with an adventurous young quartet.
Ascending Bird, arr. Colin Jacobsen and Siamak Aghaei
Jacobsen: Brooklesca and Beloved, Do Not Let Me Be Discouraged
Kalhor: Silent City and Parvez
Excerpt from Giovanni Sollima's "Viaggio in Italia"
Tickets available Sept. 30

Wednesday, Nov. 18
Homegrown Concert at Noon
Barbara Lynn and friends perform Texas Rhythm and Blues
No tickets required

Friday, November 20
HAYDN TRIO EISENSTADT with Lorna Anderson, soprano, and Jamie MacDougall, tenor
Wrapping up the Library’s celebration of the Haydn bicentenary, this trio appears with two Scottish singers, its partners in a project to record the composer’s complete piano chamber music—and all 429 Scottish songs—at the Esterházy Castle.
Joseph Haydn: Scottish Songs Project
Haydn: Trio in C Major, Hob. XV:27; Scottish Songs for George Thomson; Trio in G Major, Hob. XV:25
Lalo Schifrin: Piano Trio 2009 (U.S. premiere)
James MacMillan: Lament of Mary, Queen of Scots (U.S. premiere)
Tickets available Oct. 7

Pre-concert presentation: Norman Middleton of the Library’s Music Division presents "‘Rattling Roaring Willy!’: the Scottish Songs of Joseph Haydn."
No tickets required

Thursday, Dec. 3
Homegrown Concert at Noon
The Bernstsons perform traditional Norwegian-American dance music from Virginia
No tickets required

Friday, Dec. 4
Haydn: String Quartet in C Major, op. 54, no. 2
John Adams: String Quartet (Washington premiere)
Ezequiel Viñao: String Quartet (world premiere): co-commissioned by the Library of Congress and Stanford Lively Arts
Tickets available Oct. 21

Thursday, Dec. 10
DIAZ TRIO with Rodrigo Ojeda, piano
Dohnányi: Serenade in C Major for String Trio, op. 10
Rochberg: Sonata for violin and piano
Beethoven: String Trio no. 1 in G Major, op. 9
Tickets available Oct. 28

Pre-concert presentation in the Coolidge Auditorium: In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Ernest Bloch’s death, Roberto Diaz gives a pre-concert performance of Ernest Bloch’s Suite for Viola and Piano (Coolidge commission).
No tickets required

Friday, Dec. 18
Stradivarius Anniversary
Winners of the Concert Artists Guild and Bordeaux competitions, this young quartet from Boston plays a program inspired by the natural world.
Haydn: Quartet in C Major, op. 33, no. 3
Dutilleux: "Ainsi la nuit "(Koussevitzky commission)
Dvorák: "Cypresses"
Piazzolla: "Four Seasons of Buenos Aires"
Tickets available Nov. 4

Pre-concert presentation: BowmakerYung Chin talks about the endangered Pernambuco tree, traditionally used to create the finest string bows.
No tickets required


Thursday, Jan. 21
Menahem Pressler, piano; Alexander Kerr, violin; Roberto Diaz, viola; Paul Watkins, cello
One of the world’s most distinguished and honored musicians has started an ongoing series of not-to-be-missed collaborations with musical colleagues of international renown.
Mozart: Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, K. 493
Hoiby: Serenade, op. 44 (McKim Fund commission)
Dvorák: Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, op. 87
Tickets available Dec. 9

Thursday, Jan. 28
"The Rhinegold Curse"
Conceived and Directed by Benjamin Bagby and Ping Chong
English Text co-adapted by Ping Chong and Victoria Abrash
Musical reconstructions by Benjamin Bagby
Sequentia unveils a dramatic recreation of the Edda, the powerful Norse saga that fired Richard Wagner’s transformation of ancient myth into a new art form. The Edda was probably the first European poetry and music performed on this side of the Atlantic, when settlers to Vinland brought to the New World the earliest-known literary traces of the indigenous culture of pre-Christian Europe.
Tickets available Dec. 16

Friday, Feb. 19
Laurie Monahan, mezzo-soprano, Cristi Catt, soprano, Daniela Tosic, alto
with guest artists Diana Brewer, mezzo and fiddle; Shira Kammen, mezzo, fiddle and vielle; Takaaki Masuko, percussion
Part of A Festival of American Music for the Voice
Tapestry peforms works by Samuel Barber, Aaron Copland, Anton Dvorak, Alan Hovhannes, Billie Holiday and today’s rising composers, paired with American folk songs and hymns.
Tickets available Jan. 6

Thursday, Feb. 25
Presented in cooperation with the French American Cultural Foundation
The collaboration between Maria Cristina Kiehr and organist Jean-Marc Aymes sparked the founding of this ensemble specializing in Italian music of the early baroque.
A. Scarlatti: Cantata "Gia vicina è quell-ora"
Caldara: Sonata for cello
A variety of works by Handel
Tickets available Jan. 13

Friday, Feb. 26
Schumann Anniversary
Named for a Viennese poet, the Altenberg Trio offers a series each year in the Brahms Saal of the city’s famous Musikverein. Its honors include the Edison Award and the Robert Schumann Award of the City of Zwickau, for admirable recordings of the complete Schumann piano trios.
Rachmaninov: Trio élegiaque no. 1 in G minor
Dvorák: Trio no. 1 in B-flat Major, op. 21
Martin: "Trio sur des airs populaires irlandaises"
Schumann: Trio no. 1 in D minor, op. 63
Tickets available Jan. 13

Thursday, March 4
Part of the Library’s Insights educational series, which opens the vaults of its music collections to talented students from music schools and conservatories around the country.
Tickets available Jan. 27

Pre-concert presentation: Rice University musicology honors students present their music research done at the Library. No tickets required.

Friday, March 5
Schumann Anniversary
For two decades the Vienna Piano Trio has been performing regularly in virtually every major music center in Europe, the Americas, Australia and the Far East, with an annual residency at the Wiener Konzerthaus and a presence at the world’s top festivals.
Clara Schumann: Piano Trio in G minor, op. 17 (1846)
Schumann: Piano Trio no. 2 in F Major, op. 80 (1847); Piano Trio no. 3 in G minor, op. 110 (1851)
Tickets available Jan. 27

Pre-concert presentation: Steve Soderberg of the Library’s Music Division gives a lecture on Schumann chamber music.
No tickets required

Friday, March 12
Two leading performers of the young generation of French classical musicians share an evening of virtuosic solo and duo works by Bach, Chopin, Schubert and Debussy.
Concert presented in cooperation with the French American Cultural Foundation
Tickets available Feb. 3

Friday, March 26
VOCES INTIMAE (fortepiano trio)
Hummel: Piano Trio in F Major, op. 22
Mozart: Piano Trio in G Major, K. 564
Schubert: Piano Trio in E-flat Major, D. 929 (op. 100)
Tickets available Feb. 10

Friday, April 9
The internationally acclaimed Juilliard Quartet, in residence at the Library of Congress for four decades, returns with its new first violinist, Nicholas Eanet.
Schubert: Quartet in A minor, D. 804 ("Rosamunde")
Davidovsky: Quartet no. 3
Beethoven: Quartet in F major, op. 135
Tickets available Feb. 24

Saturday, April 10
10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Open to the public. Seating is first come, first served.

Wednesday, April 14
Barber and Schumann anniversaries
Schumann: String Quartet in A minor, op. 41, no. 1; Quartet in A Major, op. 41, no. 3
Barber: String Quartet no. 1, op. 11
Tickets available March 3

Friday, April 16
Julia Wolfe: "Mink Stole" (McKim Fund commission)
Lou Harrison: "Quartet Set"
Zorn: "Cat o' Nine Tails"
Aleksandra Vrebalov: "Pannonia Boundless"
Tickets available March 3

Saturday, April 17, at 2 p.m.
Insights: Exploring the Collections
The Alexander Quartet and its long-time colleague Robert Greenberg unravel the mysteries of Beethoven’s quartets, bringing to life the history, art, politics, intrigue and romance that shaped them.
No tickets required

Saturday, April 24
onLOCation at the Atlas
Tickets available March 10 through the Atlas Performing Arts Center Box Office, (202) 399 7993

Friday, April 30
Jeff Myers: "Dopamine"
Lachenmann: String Quartet no. 2 ("Reigen Seliger Geister")
Caleb Burhans: Library of Congress commission world premiere, title tba
Xenakis: "Tetras"
Tickets available March 17

Saturday, May 8
onLOCation at the Atlas
Recipient of the prestigious NEA National Heritage Award, the violin and oud virtuoso and composer appears with Qantara, his all-star group that fuses Arab, jazz, Western classical, and Latin styles. Shaheen unwraps the world premiere of a violin and keyboard work commissioned by the Library of Congress McKim Fund.
Tickets available March 24 through the Atlas Performing Arts Center Box Office, (202) 399 - 7993

Friday, May 14
Barber and Schumann anniversaries
Part of "A Festival of American Music for the Voice"
Performing a variety of Barber and Schumann selections
Tickets available March 30

Saturday, May 22
onLOCation at the Atlas
Jazz pianist and composer Uri Caine brings an eclectic array of disciplines and influences to his music. Admired for his reimaginings of the music of Mahler, Wagner, Beethoven, Bach, and Schumann, as well as original jazz compositions, he has been commissioned by the Vienna Volksoper, the Beaux Arts Trio, Concerto Köln and the American Composers Orchestra, and appeared at top classical and jazz venues worldwide.
Tickets available April 7 through the Atlas Performing Arts Center Box Office, (202) 399 7993

Friday, May 28
The Montreal-based period instrument ensemble brings an unusual program illustrating the influence of anonymous gypsy virtuosi on the works of two great Baroque composers.
Bach: Polonaises; Concerto in F minor, BWV 1056; Italian Concerto, BWV 971
Anonymous: Selections from the Uhrovska collection of 1730
Telemann: Concerto in E minor for recorder, flute, strings, and basso continuo
Tickets available April 14

Saturday, May 29, at 2 p.m.
MAHAN ESFAHANI, harpsichordist
Tribute to Wanda Landowska
Young Washington native, Esfahani, now based in London, is on the roster of both the Borlotti-Buitoni Trust and the BBC Radio 3 Young Artists Program, and has earned praise for his appearances with such early music groups as The English Consort and The King’s Noyse. His matinée recital will feature music from Landowska’s 1927 Library concert, including Rameau, J.S. Bach, and Couperin, all performed on Landowska’s own, newly restored Pleyel harpsichord, which is part of the Library’s Wanda Landowska Collection.
Presented in association with the American Music Instrument Society conference, May 26-28.

Reservations may be made by phone, beginning one week before any given show. Call (202) 707-5677 during business hours. Reserved seats must be claimed at least 10 minutes before showtime, after which standbys will be admitted to unclaimed seats. All programs begin at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted and are free, but seating is limited to 60 seats. The Mary Pickford theater is located on the third floor of the Library of Congress Madison Building. For more information, visit the theater’s website at

Frank Scheffer: Composer Documentaries
The Dutch documentary filmmaker Frank Scheffer is internationally recognized as a master of sound and image. His films paint not only compelling portraits of major musical thinkers—Gustav Mahler, Igor Stravinsky, John Cage, Pierre Boulez, Elliott Carter, Louis Andriessen, Frank Zappa and others—but a view of the history of modernism in 20th-century music.

Nov. 5: "Conducting Mahler" (1996) and "Wagner’s Ring" (1987); Nov. 12: "From Zero: Four Films on John Cage" (1995); and Nov. 19: "Karlheinz Stockhausen: Helicopter String Quartet" (1995) and "In the Ocean" (2001).

Motown in the Fall at the Nation’s Library: Nov. 16: "The Temptations Get Ready!"; Nov. 23: "The Supremes: Reflections" and "The Four Tops: Reach Out"; Nov. 30: "Lady Sings the Blues" (1972); Dec. 7: "Motown 25" (1983); and Dec. 14: "Standing in the Shadows of Motown" (2002).

Jazz in the Spring at the Nation’s Library
Mondays, April 5-26, 2010 (To be announced)

MUSIC AND THE BRAIN 2009-2010 Season
Project Chair Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, psychologist and professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and codirector of the Johns Hopkins Mood Disorders Center

The Library’s popular "Music and the Brain" series continues this season, examining themes relating to the central role of music across cultures; the relationship of music to spirituality and the divine through performance, trance, and meditation; music’s effect on our health and wellbeing, including the often mysterious work of the music therapist in treating diseases of the body, mind and spirit; music and medicine; and music as a new tool in fighting the deterioration of the aging brain, reducing stress and promoting mental fitness. In addition, the series will present new research on the intricate relationship of sound and memory. And, crucially, how do we learn music? New evidence from studies of musicians and non-musicians explores how music training and practice literally grows and changes the brain. In wide-ranging conversations, live and on screen, a subset of the series, "Mind and the Musician," looks at the mind of the musician: are musicians different from the rest of us?
All events will be presented at 6:15 p.m. in the Thomas Jefferson Building, unless otherwise noted. No tickets are required.

Oct. 16
"Beethoven’s Deafness: A Medical Mystery"
Dr. Charles J. Limb and Patrick J. Donnelly, both of Johns Hopkins University
The compositions of Ludwig van Beethoven are widely regarded as seminal masterpieces that changed not only the course of musical history but also human history more broadly. The tremendous impact of his musical output is even more striking in the context of the composer's well-known hearing loss. Despite recent advances in medical understanding, however, the cause of Beethoven's deafness remains a mystery. Limb discusses its effect in the context of medical diagnoses based on modern otologic principles. Recent data, including analyses of Beethoven's hair, will also be discussed as part of this investigative study of one of the great mysteries of classical music.

Tuesday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. in the Coolidge Auditorium
"Music and Grief"
Panel and book signing
Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison of The Johns Hopkins Mood Disorders Center, Ara Guzelimian of The Juilliard School and Dr. J. Raymond DePaulo of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and The Johns Hopkins Hospital
Music and the Brain project chair Kay Redfield Jamison invites two distinguished colleagues for a special presentation centered on music and the experience and expression of grief. Her recent book, "Nothing Was the Same," opens a discussion of the distinctions between grief and depression, the consolations of music and literature, and crosscurrents related to arts and the brain.

Oct. 30
"Wednesday is Indigo Blue: How Synesthesia Speaks to Creativity"
Dr. Richard E. Cytowic, George Washington Medical Center
Author-neurologist Richard Cytowic rediscovered the involuntary joining of different senses in 1980 and returned it to the scientific mainstream. In his recent book, "Wednesday is Indigo Blue," Cytowic sums up 30 years of exploration into synesthesia's place in both science and art. Brains are already highly cross-wired, and with 1 in 23 people having the trait, synesthesia may hold a key to human creativity. Book signing to follow the presentation.

Nov. 3
"Trance Formation: Music, Trance, Religious Experience, and the Brain"
Dr. Robin Sylvan, director of The Sacred Center, El Cerrito, Calif.
Music is one of the most universal and powerful tools for inducing trance states and triggering religious experiences. Sylvan examines the relationship among music, trance and religious experience in a number of different religious and musical cultures, identifies key features of this phenomenon, and explores recent brain science research that confirms the "trance forming" power of music.

Nov. 6
"Dangerous Music III: ‘Suckers, Firestarters, and Cultural Anarchists, Oh My!’"
Norman Middleton, Music Division, and Jessica Krash, George Washington University Examined will be "dangerous classical music" and marketing, the relationship between high art and popular art and the mental and emotional intensity of classical music, followed by a discussion of arson and murder associated with Heavy Metal music and the highly controversial and contemporary issue of music and torture.

Nov. 14
"States of Mind: Music in Islamic Sufi Rituals"
Dr. Taoufik ben Amor, Gordon Gray Jr. Senior Lecturer in Arabic Studies, Columbia University

An active musician, educator and producer, ben Amor grew up in Tunis surrounded by Sufi music and rituals. Some recent research topics include "Beur Rap in Paris: Language and Identity Among French-Maghrebian Musicians," "The Politics of Language: Formalization of the Iraqi Maqam 1960-Present" and "Turning Point: Tarab as a Doorway to the Sufi Experience of the Divine."

Dec. 4
"Making Music Changes Brains"
Dr. Gottfried Schlaug, chief of the Division of Cerebrovascular Diseases at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School
Making music is an intense, multi-sensory and motor experience that is typically initiated at an early age and practiced throughout a musician’s lifetime. Emerging research over the years has shown that long-term music making and continuous practice of learned skills can be a strong stimulator for neuroplastic changes in the developing, as well as the adult brain and has positive effects on motion, emotion and cognition. This suggests that music-making engages, links and changes brain regions and may provide an alternative entry point that could be useful for remediating impaired neural processes.

Jan. 21
"Music, Memories and the Brain"
Dr. Petr Janata, associate professor of psychology at the Center for Mind and Brain, University of California, Davis
Music-evoked autobiographical memories and associated emotions are poignant examples of how music engages the brain. Janata binds music theory, cognitive psychology and computational modeling to generate intuitive animations of music moving about in tonal space (the system of major and minor keys). He then shows how the unique tonal movements of individual excerpts of popular music can be used in conjunction with neuroimaging experiments to identify brain networks that support the experiencing of memories and emotions evoked by the music.

Jan. 28
"The Icelandic Edda: Myth and the Mind–Wagner, Tolkien and Beyond"
Roundtable discussion with Ambassador of Iceland H.E. Hjálmar W. Hannesson, Dr. Alexander Stein, psychoanalyst with The Boswell Group, and the Library’s Taru Spiegel
Presented to accompany the Sequentia Ensemble’s production of "The Rheingold Curse," this discussion examines the Edda’s place in Iceland’s culture, past and present, and the symbolic use of archetype and leitmotif to bypass the conscious mind and reach the heart to convey meaning.

Feb. 26
"Why Do Listeners Enjoy Music That Makes Them Weep?"
Dr. David Huron Head, Cognitive and Systematic Musicology Laboratory, Ohio State University
Tearing of the eyes, nasal congestion, a constriction in your throat, erratic breathing—your doctor would conclude that you are suffering from a several allergic reaction. But in special circumstances, music can evoke precisely these symptoms. Music-induced weeping represents one of the most powerful and potentially sublime experiences available to us. How does music evoke feelings akin to sadness or grief? And why do people willingly listen to music that may make them cry? Modern neuroscience provides helpful insights into music-induced weeping, and why such sounds might lead to "a good cry."

March 12
"The Positive Effects of Music Therapy in Health"
Dr. Concetta Tomaino, executive director and co-founder of the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function
Lecture presented in cooperation with the American Music Therapy Association

Why can someone with Alzheimer's disease recall lyrics to songs when they can't remember the names of their children? Why can a stroke survivor sing words to a familiar song even though they cannot speak? Drawing from more than 30 years of clinical experience and current research into the therapeutic applications of music for persons with acute or chronic health conditions, Tomaino explains how and why music is an effective tool to enhance neurologic function, ability and quality of life.

April 9
"‘I'm Frozen and I Can't Play a Thing!’: Stage Fright and the Brain"
Norman Middleton, Music Division
An examination of performance anxiety ("stage fright") and performance degradation ("choking" or "freezing" onstage) caused by certain brain processes. Middleton recalls famous artists with the afflictions and discusses recent research into solving these issues for musicians, through medication and altering thinking patterns that exacerbate the problems.

April 14 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. N.E., Washington, D.C.
"Mind of the Musician"
Jazz scholar Larry Appelbaum interviews drummer-composer Dafnis Prieto before a concert by his Si o Si quartet.

April 30
"Mind of the Musician"
Composer Caleb Burhans discusses his new Library of Congress commission with members of the Jack Quartet.

May 14
"Music, Health and Development: Acoustic Medicine and Music Therapy"
Dr. Jayne Standley, director of the Music Therapy Program at Florida State University, and Dr. Vera Brandes, Music Medicine Research Program at the Paracelsus Institute in Austria

Saturday, May 15, from 2 – 4 p.m., in the Mumford Room, sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C.
"Music, Stress and the Brain: Conversation and Workshop"
Dr. Don du Rousseau of Human Bionics LLC and music therapist/consultant Anne B. Parker
Presented in association with the American Association of Music Therapy
Reservations required for this session; Call (202) 707-8432

May 22 at the Altas Performing Arts Center
"Mind of the Musician"
The composer-pianist Uri Caine talks with Larry Appelbaum before appearing with his trio, drummer Ben Perowsky and bassist Drew Gess.


The 39th Annual Meeting of the American Musical Instrument Society (AMIS) hosted by the Library of Congress, May 26-29, 2010.

AMIS is an international organization founded in 1971 to promote the study of the history, design, and use of musical instruments in all cultures and from all periods. Membership includes collections, historians, curators, performers, instrument makers, restorers, dealers, conservators, teachers, students, and institutional members. For more information, visit

America Sings in the Nation’s Capitol—A Festival of American Vocal Music

March-May 2010

The Vocal Arts Society of Washington, D.C., in collaboration with performing groups, arts presenters, and educational institutions in the National Capitol Region, celebrates vocal music created in America—from concert song to Broadway, opera to folksong, jazz to cabaret, and much more. For up-to-date information, visit

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PR 09-148
ISSN 0731-3527

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