Press Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940
Concert Line: (202) 707-5502

April 11, 1995

Library of Congress Celebrates Gershwin Collection with Free Concert at Warner Theatre May 25

The Music Division of the Library of Congress is presenting a special concert celebrating the lives and works of George and Ira Gershwin at 8 p.m., Thursday, May 25, at the Warner Theatre, 1299 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.

Free tickets for the concert (two per customer), will be distributed to the public on a first-come, first-served basis on Monday, May 15, at the Warner Theatre box office, beginning at 10 a.m. All seats for the concert are reserved.

The program for the gala, "'S Wonderful! The Library of Congress Celebrates the George and Ira Gershwin Collection," will feature familiar tunes from the brothers' many shows, as well as seldom-heard songs and unpublished melodies, including several that will be performed in concert for the first time.

Tommy Krasker, archivist for the Ira and Leonore Gershwin Trusts, is the executive producer and director of the event, and Scott Thompson is the choreographer. Andrew Litton, renowned conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, will be the musical director for the evening. Mr. Litton, former National Symphony Orchestra Exxon/Arts Endowment Assistant Conductor, will conduct the Gershwin Gala Orchestra and Chorus and some of the finest singers from today's Broadway and concert stages, including Philip Chaffin, Shawn Daywalt, David Garrison, Audra McDonald, Wanda Richert, and Lara Teeter. Special guest stars for the concert will be the celebrated singer and guitarist John Pizzarelli and two-time Grammy-award winning operatic soprano Dawn Upshaw.

Bandleader, guitarist, and a veteran of numerous television appearances, singer-composer John Pizzarelli has toured with the Benny Goodman Band and with Frank Sinatra. He is known for his virtuoso instrumental performances and is considered to be one of the most fluid improvisers working in the jazz mainstream today.

Since making her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1984, Dawn Upshaw has been engaged throughout the world for leading roles in the lyric soprano repertoire, including all of the Mozart lyric roles. She was a winner of the Naumburg Competition in 1985 and gave her first recital at Alice Tully Hall in 1986. Ms. Upshaw frequently performs contemporary music in concerts and on recordings with a variety of colleagues, including the Kronos and Arditti quartets, and she has appeared in New York and on tour with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. She has recorded leading roles in numerous operas, and her first solo album won the 1989 Grammy Award for Best Classical Album. Her second solo recording, "The Girl with Orange Lips," won a second Grammy in 1991.

The songs of George and Ira Gershwin -- "'S Wonderful," "I Got Rhythm," "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off," "Someone to Watch Over Me," "Fascinating Rhythm," and so many others -- have long been a part of our national musical consciousness and will be a part of this program.

The Gershwin Collection in the Library of Congress is the world's preeminent collection of primary source materials for the study of the life and work of the George and Ira Gershwin. Most important is the music -- that written by George and Ira together, that written by the two with other collaborators, and George's concert works. There are orchestrations, piano-vocal scores, and sketches as well as lyric sheets and librettos in the collection. Much of this material is in the Gershwins' own handwriting. In addition to the music, the collection includes scrapbooks, photographs, paintings and drawings, contracts, business correspondence, royalty statements, programs, posters, scripts for radio broadcasts, other biographical texts, and even the Congressional Gold Medals struck in honor of the Gershwins in 1988 to honor their "outstanding and invaluable contributions to American music, theatre, and culture."

This celebration in concert is sponsored by the Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin Fund in the Library of Congress.

The Warner Theatre opened as a movie palace named the "Earle" in 1924 and has recently been restored to highlight its lush neoclassical decor. It offers seating for approximately 1,800 people.

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PR 95-039
ISSN 0731-3527

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