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October 14, 1999

Da Camera of Houston to Perform at Library of Congress Founder's Day Concert

The Library of Congress celebrates the birthday of the founder of its chamber music series, Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, with a special concert by Da Camera of Houston on October 30. Works to be performed include Maurice Ravel's Chansons madécasses; a Coolidge Foundation commission, Heartsounds, by George Tsontakis; and Olivier Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time. The concert will take place in the Library's Coolidge Auditorium, Thomas Jefferson Building, First Street and Independence Ave. S.E.

Tickets are required for all Library of Congress concerts. They are distributed by TicketMaster, at (301) 808-6900 or (202) 432-SEAT, for a nominal service charge of $2 per ticket, with additional charges for phone orders and handling. Tickets are also available at TicketMaster outlets. Tickets for Library of Congress events sell out quickly, but there are often empty seats at concert time. Patrons are encouraged to try for no-show tickets at the door on concert nights.

Both the choice of ensemble and the program are especially appropriate for the Founder's Day concert. An important figure in the history of music in America, Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge was a visionary philanthropist responsible for establishing the distinguished commissioning program at the Library of Congress. Directed by pianist Sarah Rothenberg, Da Camera of Houston is widely admired for imaginative, vibrant programming that has brought the group international acclaim.

Ms. Rothenberg enjoys one of the most creative careers of her generation, admired as both performer and artistic director. A longtime member of the Da Capo Chamber Players, she was the co-founder of the innovative Bard Music Festival. In 1994 she became artistic director of the Da Camera of Houston series. In the 1998-99 season she directed the European premiere of her "Music and the Literary Imagination" project, presented by De Ijsbreker in the Netherlands. She has received the medal of the Order of Arts and Letters, with the distinction of Chevalier, from the government of France.

Joining Sarah Rothbenberg for Da Camera of Houston's appearance at the Library of Congress are Milagro Vargas, mezzo-soprano; Nadine Asin, flute; Alan Kay, clarinet; Ida Levin, violin; Toby Appel, viola; and John Feeney, doublebass.

The 1999-2000 "Concerts from the Library of Congress" season kicks off a special three-year series of concerts, broadcasts, recordings, and educational programs conceived to celebrate the 200th birthday of the nation's Library. Taking its theme from a Walt Whitman poem, "I Hear America Singing," the series encompasses classical and popular compositions, sacred and secular, music from America's cities and from its heartland. Exploring the breadth and significance of the American musical heritage from Colonial days to the end of the 20th century, the Bicentennial Music Project will be presented by the Library's Music Division, which won the ASCAP-Chamber Music America Award for Adventuresome Programming in 1998. The American Classical Music Hall of Fame inducted the Music Division of the Library of Congress in 1999, one of only two institutional members to be so honored.

The Library of Congress, founded April 24, 1800, is the nation's oldest federal cultural institution. It preserves a collection of 115 million items -- more than two-thirds of which are in media other than books. These include the largest map, film and television collections in the world. In addition to its primary mission of serving the research needs of the U.S. Congress, the Library serves all Americans through its popular Web site at and in its 21 reading rooms on Capitol Hill.

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PR 99-156
ISSN 0731-3527

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