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May 3, 1996

Library of Congress Honors Composer Milton Babbitt

80th Birthday Celebration Features Pianist Robert Taub

Pianist Robert Taub will be the featured artist in a Library of Congress concert honoring a major figure in 20th-century American music, composer Milton Babbitt.

Titled "A Babbitt Birthday Celebration," the May 15 chamber concert will be presented in the Terrace Theater of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C., at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free, but tickets are required. Ticket distribution will begin in the lobby of the Terrace Theater that evening at 6 p.m.

Joining Robert Taub for the concert are three distinguished artists known for a strong commitment to new music: violinist Rolf Schulte, violist Toby Appel, and cellist Fred Sherry.

The evening will include the world premiere performance of Milton Babbitt's Quartet for piano and strings, which is dedicated to the four artists. The work was commissioned by the Carolyn Royall Just Fund in the Library of Congress to mark the composer's 80th birthday. The program will also include the Quartet for piano and strings in C minor, Op. 60, of Johannes Brahms.

Mr. Babbitt is William Shubael Conant Professor of Music Emeritus at Princeton University, and a member of the composition faculty of the Juilliard School. Among his honors and awards are a MacArthur Award and a Pulitzer Prize citation for his "life work as a seminal American composer," and Musical America's designation as "Composer of the Year, 1996." Mr. Babbitt has been a consultant to the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundation of the Library of Congress.

Robert Taub has performed throughout the United States, Europe, the Far East, and Latin America. His orchestral appearances include performances with the San Francisco and Montreal Symphonies, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Los Angeles, BBC, and Bonn Philharmonic orchestras, and the Orchestra of St. Luke's. His New York recital of October 1992 was the only recital highlighted by the New York Times' year-end review, "Year in the Arts."

In 1994 Mr. Taub was appointed Artist-in-Residence at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton; he is the first musician to be so honored in the Institute's sixty-year history. This prestigious appointment involves Mr. Taub in performing the complete cycle of Beethoven Sonatas in nine programs over a three- year period in the Institute's newly-opened Wolfensohn Auditorium.

Robert Taub's repertoire embraces composers from the Baroque era to the present. In January 1990 he gave the world premiere of Mel Powell's Concerto for Two Pianos with pianist Alan Feinberg and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He is admired for his championship of the music of Milton Babbitt, with a number of critically- acclaimed premieres and recordings of the composer's works. As part of the Kennedy Center concert on May 15, Mr. Taub will perform a Babbitt work written in 1974, Reflections for piano and synthesized tape, as well as the Sonata in E-flat major, Op. 31, No. 3 of Ludwig van Beethoven.

Robert Taub is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Princeton, where he was a University Scholar. As a Danforth Fellow he was awarded his doctoral degree from the Juilliard School, where he received the highest award in piano performance. He has served as Blodgett Artist-in-Residence at Harvard University.

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PR 96-70
ISSN 0731-3527

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