December 21, 2014

Today in History: Stravinsky & Balanchine

Agon

Today in History–December 1–the Library of Congress features the New York City Ballet premier of Agon, a collaboration between Igor Stravinsky and George Balanchine, on this date in 1957. Both Russian émigrés and colleagues from the Paris Ballet Russes, Stravinsky was a top composer of ballet music and Balanchine a leading ballet choreographer. Learn more by visiting the Today in History section and clicking the links to related resources below. A Ballet for Balanchine American Treasures of … [Read more...]

Featured Source: Leonard Bernstein illustrated letter

letter to Jennie Bernstein from Israel, illustrated by Jossi Stern

Leonard Bernstein was a famous American composer and conductor. Don't read the words, just study the illustrations. What is the setting? What is the story? If you like, zoom into the image online. Next, look carefully at the rest of the illustrated letter pages. What more can you learn solely by analyzing the illustrations? Now read the letter. Challenge yourself to decipher the writing on the pages, then read the transcript. (Teacher note: the end of the letter contains one word of strong … [Read more...]

Today in History: George M. Cohan

Over there

Today in History–July 3–the Library of Congress features theater maestro George M. Cohan, born on this date in 1878. The multitalented Cohan was a playwright, songwriter, dancer, actor, theater owner, and producer. He also was awarded the Congressional medal of honor for his World War I song "Over There". Find out more by visiting the Today in History section, then click the links below to access numerous primary sources. "Over There" sheet music and audio recordings George M. Cohan sheet … [Read more...]

Today in History: Duke Ellington

Through the Looking Glass Down Beat magazine (Sept. 23, 1946)

Today in History–April 29–the Library of Congress features jazz great Duke Ellington, born on this date in 1899. Ellington started to play piano at age 7 and wrote his first song–Soda Fountain Rag–at age 15. By his late teens, he was earning enough money to help his parents move into a better house. Ellington's musical versatility was astounding and not limited to jazz; he also wrote oratorios, suites, concertos, and even opera, as well as for the Broadway stage, movies, television, nightclubs, … [Read more...]

Featured Image: Leonard Bernstein illustrated letter

bernsteinillustratedletter

10,000 Intimate Friends: Leonard Bernstein’s Life in Letters Library webcast … [Read more...]

Today in History: American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers

ASCAP meeting 1924

Today in History–February 13–the Library of Congress features the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) founded on this date in 1914 by composer Victor Herbert. Learn more about Herbert and other ASCAP artists by visiting the Today in History section, then listen to songs by Victor Herbert and take a look at Herbert's compositions (sheet music). … [Read more...]

Today in History: Dizzy Gillespie

Portrait of Dizzy Gillespie, Famous Door, New York, N.Y., ca. June 1946

Today in History–January 6–the Library of Congress features jazz great Dizzy Gillespie, who died on this date in 1993. Learn more about the terrific trumpeter-composer-bandleader who was one of the key figures in modern jazz music by visting the Today in History section, then click the links below for related primary sources. Dizzy Gillespie, Carl Van Vechten image set Dizzy Gillespie, William Gottlieb image set William P. Gottlieb: Photographs from the Golden Age of Jazz More jazz … [Read more...]

Today in History: Aaron Copland

Aaron Copland by candlelight, studio in the Berkshires, September, 1946

Today in History–November 14–the Library of Congress features composer Aaron Copland, born on this day in 1900. Copland created scores that simplified music and expressed the American experience. Learn more about this prolific artist by visiting the Today in History section, then click the links below to access more Copland treasures. Primary sources The Aaron Copland Collection (selections from Copland's music sketches, correspondence, writings, and photographs) Fanfare for the Common … [Read more...]

Today in History: W.C. Handy & the Blues

Memphis blues. 1913

Today in History–September 28–the Library of Congress features William Christopher Handy, whose song the "Memphis Blues" was published on this date in 1912. Handy introduced the blues into mainstream music and became known as the father of the blues. Find out more by visiting the Today in History section, then click the links below to access a rich collection of blues music resources. W.C. Handy song recordings W.C. Handy sheet music W.C. Handy images "Now What a Time": Blues, … [Read more...]