Press Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940

March 10, 1998

Gershwin Festival Marks Opening of Gershwin Room at Library of Congress

A four-day Gershwin Festival symposium, "The Gershwins and Their World," will be held at the Library of Congress March 13-16 to celebrate the opening of the Library's new George and Ira Gershwin Room in the recently renovated Thomas Jefferson Building. Admission to the symposium is by invitation only, but the press is invited to attend and cover the event.

The program will include performances, talks, and panel discussions and will bring together a wide range of people actively working with and interested in the cultural milieu of the Gershwins. There will be performances of works by composers who were close to and collaborators with George and Ira Gershwin, as well as performances of the Gershwins' words and music, including some unpublished material.

Program participants include William Bolcom and Joan Morris, Anne Brown, Angie Dickinson, Michael Feinstein, Kitty Carlisle Hart, Ned Rorem, Michael Tilson Thomas, and historians Gerald Bordman, Charles Hamm, Edward Jablonski, Robert Kimball, and Lawrence Stewart. The full schedule for the symposium is below.

The Gershwin Collection at the Library of Congress is the world's preeminent resource for the documentary legacy of George and Ira Gershwin. The continually growing Gershwin Collection contains a wealth of materials that provide insight into the brothers' careers and personalities: manuscript and printed music, lyric sheets and librettos, personal and business correspondence, photographs, paintings and drawings, scrapbooks, contracts, royalty statements, programs, posters, the drafts and printer's galleys of Ira's Lyrics on Several Occasions, scripts for radio broadcasts, other biographical writings and the Congressional Gold Medals that honor the Gershwin brothers and their contribution to American life and culture.

The George and Ira Gershwin Room will open to the public on March 17 with the exhibition "Here to Stay: The Legacy of George and Ira Gershwin." It is in the northwest corridor of the ground floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, across from the Coolidge Auditorium. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

The George and Ira Gershwin Room will be a permanent exhibition area for materials from the Library's George and Ira Gershwin Collection. The exhibition will include George's piano and desk, Ira's typing table and typewriter, and a self-portrait oil painting of each brother, as well as documents that chronicle the lives and careers of George and Ira Gershwin. Porgy and Bess will be featured for the first few months of the exhibition, with photographs, musical manuscripts, a stage diagram and libretto related to the show. A selection of musical manuscripts from stage and screen shows such as Lady Be Good, Funny Face, Girl Crazy and Of Thee I Sing will also be on display as well as the holograph score for Rhapsody in Blue.

The room will contain an interactive audio-video kiosk where visitors can view film footage as well as additional documents from the Gershwin Collection and hear narrative text about the Gershwins and recordings of their music.

The Gershwins and Their World

Friday, March 13
Coolidge Auditorium, Thomas Jefferson Building
(Program subject to change)

7:30-10:30 p.m. - Opening Program

Remarks: James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress; Jon Newsom, chief of the Music Division; and Michael Strunsky, nephew of Ira and Leonore Gershwin

Panel: Resources that Document the Gershwins and Their World

Library of Congress and Ira Gershwin Trust - Raymond White, Music Division; Mark Trent Goldberg, executive director of the Ira and Leonore Gershwin Trusts;

Audio and Film - Michael Feinstein;

Vernon Duke and Vincent Youmans - Mark Horowitz, Music Division;

Moderator: Wayne Shirley, Music Division

Demonstration of Gershwin Room Interactive Kiosk - Chris Pino, Automation Consultant to the Music Division; Elizabeth Auman, Music Division

Introduction to the Gershwin Room - Jon Newsom, Michael Strunsky, and Raymond White, curator of the Gershwin Room

Reception, Great Hall

Saturday, March 14

Events, unless otherwise stated, are in the Coolidge Auditorium. The Whittall Pavilion or an adjacent area will be kept open as a second venue/place to chat, and there will be coffee, tea, and water available there through the day from 9 a.m. until the dinner break. There will be a staff member available in the Gershwin Room throughout the Festival.

9:30 a.m. -- Performance: Singer and pianist Michael Feinstein offers songs by Oscar Levant, Johnny Green, Burton Lane, and others whose careers were connected with the Gershwins

10:15 a.m. - Reminiscences of the Gershwin Brothers: Angie Dickinson, Michael Feinstein, Kitty Carlisle Hart, David Raksin and English Strunsky, brother of Leonore Gershwin

11:15 a.m. - Broadway in the 1920s: Mary C. Henderson, theater historian

Noon - Lunch on your own

1:30 p.m. - Piano rolls: Artis Wodehouse, music historian

2:15 p.m. - George Gershwin and Porgy and Bess: The Original Production: Anne Brown (the original "Bess" in the 1935 production)

2:45 p.m. - Panel: Restoration/ Orchestration/ Performance: Larry Moore, orchestrator; Jonathan Tunick, orchestrator; John McGlinn, conductor; and Russell Warner, orchestrator

Moderator: Rob Fisher, conductor

3:45 p.m. - Break

4 p.m. - Performance: Unpublished Gershwin: New York Festival of Song, with director/pianist Steve Blier and three singers

4:45 p.m. - Ira's Journal and the Family Trip to Europe, 1928: Lawrence Stewart, secretary to Ira Gershwin and co-author of The Gershwin Years

5:30 p.m. - Performance: Piano Works by Composers the Gershwins Met on the 1928 European and Other Trips: Pianist Marthanne Verbit plays Tansman, Dukelski, Antheil and others

6:15 p.m. - Dinner on your own

8:30 p.m. - Performance: An Evening of Vernon Duke Songs: Kay Duke-Ingalls (widow of Vernon Duke); Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, British composer; and singer Mary Cleere Haran talk about and perform songs by Vernon Duke

Sunday, March 15

9:30 a.m. - Performance: Songs by the Gershwins and Their Circle: Bill Bolcom, pianist, and mezzo-soprano Joan Morris

10:20 a.m. - Performance: Alban Berg's Lyric Suite, 2nd movement: Commonwealth String Quartet

10:25 a.m. - Reflections on the Connection Between George Gershwin and Alban Berg: Allen Forte, music theorist, Yale University

11 a.m. - Break

11:15 a.m. - The Musical Marriage of Note and Word: Two Songs by the Gershwins: Allen Forte

Noon - Lunch on your own

1:30 p.m. - Panel: Influences on the Gershwins: Gerald Bordman, theater historian; John McGlinn, conductor; Charles Hamm, music historian on Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern and the Princess Theatre shows

2 p.m. - Panel: Authors of Books for Gershwin Shows, Guy Bolton and George S. Kaufman: Anne Kaufman Schneider, daughter of George S. Kaufman; Laurence Maslon, theater historian; Lee Davis, theater historian

2:30 p.m. - The Gershwins and Aaron Copland: Vivian Perlis, musicologist, Yale University

3:15 p.m. - Yip Harburg and the Gershwins: Deena Rosenburg

3:30 p.m. - Performance and Discussion: Music by Gershwin: Robert Kimball, Gershwin Consultant to the Library of Congress in American Musical Theater; George Gershwin's 1934 radio show, featuring Peter Mintun, pianist, and the music of Dana Suesse

4:15 p.m. - The Gershwins and Their World: Michael Tilson Thomas, music director, San Francisco Symphony

5 p.m. - Performance: The Ira Revues: "Life Begins at 8:40" and "The Ziegfeld Follies of 1936": Selections by Rob Fisher and 3-4 singers.

6 p.m. - Dinner on your own

8 p.m. - Performance: "Great Day," Vincent Youmans: Aaron Gandy and company

Monday, March 16

9:30 a.m. - Performance: Gershwin's Keyboard Colleagues: Dick Hyman, pianist

10:15 a.m. - The Gershwins and Harold Arlen (and others): Ed Jablonski, author and historian of American musical theater

11 a.m. - Panel: Collectors and Dealers: David Lowenherz, Lionheart Autographs, dealer; Donald Stubblebine, collector; Steven Suskin, collector; Elizabeth Auman, Music Division

Noon - Lunch on your own

1:30 p.m. - Performance: George's Small Piano Works: Alicia Zizzo, pianist

2:15 p.m. - Poets of Tin Pin Alley: Phillip Furia, University of North Carolina at Wilmington

3 p.m. - The World of George Gershwin: Ned Rorem, composer

3:45 p.m. - Break

4 p.m. - The Gershwins' Predecessors in Tin Pan Alley: Max Morath, singer and pianist

4:45 p.m. - Panel: Kay Swift and the Gershwins: Kathy Weber, granddaughter of Kay Swift; Russell Warner, orchestrator; Bill Bolcom, Joan Morris and Max Morath

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PR 98-037a
ISSN 0731-3527

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