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March 20, 2007
Library of Congress Presents Schedule of Programs Highlighting Northern Ireland, March-May
Featured Are Concerts, Lectures from the Music Division, American Folklife Center
From its population of more than one and a half million people, Northern Ireland has produced many remarkable musicians, artists and folklorists living and working in the world today. The Library of Congress will present several events featuring such notables throughout March, April and May as part of the Rediscover Northern Ireland Program co-sponsored by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure Council (DCAL) of Northern Ireland.
Kicking off the Library’s schedule of events will be a pre-concert talk with pianist Barry Douglas at 6:15 p.m. on Friday, March 23. No tickets are required for this event.
Following will be a concert featuring Douglas and his orchestra Camerata Ireland at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 23. The program will include works by Mozart and Beethoven, along with the world premiere of a newly commissioned work, "The Magnificent Peak" ("An Speic Seoigheach"), by Irish composer David Morris. Although the supply of tickets for this concert had been exhausted, interested patrons are encouraged to try for standby seats at the will-call desk in the Jefferson Building by 6:30 p.m.
Composer and conductor Brian Irvine is the featured speaker in another pre-concert talk at 6:15 p.m. on Friday, April 27. At 8 p.m., the Brian Irvine Ensemble will perform original works blending jazz, improvisation, classical, pop, punk and rock reminiscent of Frank Zappa, Carl Stalling, the Pistols and Leonard Bernstein. Tickets are required for this event; they are distributed by Ticketmaster at (301) 808-6900 or (410) 752-1200 and are limited to two per call. Each ticket carries a service charge of $2.75, with additional charges for phone orders and handling. Tickets are also available through Ticketmaster.com.
All talks and concerts are in the Whittall Pavilion and Coolidge Auditorium, respectively. Both are located on the ground floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 101 First Street, S.E., Washington, D.C.
In May, a series of lectures, concerts and a symposium round out the Rediscover Northern Ireland at the Library of Congress schedule. Unless otherwise noted, all events are at noon, with concerts in the Coolidge Auditorium and lectures and the symposium in the Mumford Room, sixth floor of the Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave., S.E. They are free and open to the public; no tickets are required.
On Wednesday, May 2, John Moulden, singer and author, lectures on Irish traditional song and his work on the Sam Henry Collection, the largest collection of Irish songs ever to be published. On Wednesday, May 9, singer Rosie Stewart performs in concert. On Wednesday, May 16, members of the Francis McPeake family present a concert with former pupils from their music conservatory in Belfast.
"All Through the North, As I Walked Forth…," a symposium on Northern Ireland’s place names, folklife and landscape, begins at 2:30 p.m., on Wednesday, May 16. Featured speakers are Kay Muhr, Senior Research Fellow with the Northern Ireland Place-Name Project in Irish and Celtic Studies at Queen’s University in Belfast, and Henry Glassie, professor of folklore at Indiana University. Register by visiting www.loc.gov/folklife/northern-ireland/nIreland_registration.php.
Culminating the Library’s Rediscover Northern Ireland events are two final concerts. On Wednesday, May 23, singer and guitarist Dáithí Sproule performs with highland bagpiper Robert Watt. On Tuesday, May 29, singer Brian Mullen performs with flautist Gary Hastings.
Launched at the Northern Ireland Bureau’s St. Patrick’s Day event on March 15, the Rediscover Northern Ireland program includes more than 40 cultural events highlighting the region’s trade and business, arts and culture, tourism and education. The program is anchored by Northern Ireland’s participation in the 2007 Smithsonian Institution’s Folklife Festival from June 27 to July 28 on the National Mall. Some 160 of the region’s musicians, storytellers, craftspeople, chefs and cultural experts will be on hand to share their traditions with festival-goers. For more information about the Rediscover Northern Ireland Program, visit www.rediscoverni.com.
Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, with more than 134 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. Thomas Jefferson's private library provided the seed to what is now the world’s largest repository of knowledge and creativity, including the world’s largest musical archive, with unparalleled collections numbering approximately 20 million items. Among these holdings are some 400 volumes of Irish songs and instrumental music, in both traditional and popular styles, as well as Irish popular sheet music – approaching 1,000 items, dating from the early 20th century to the present. The Library is also home to America’s first national archive of traditional life, which is one of the oldest and largest such repositories in the world. Its collections contain documentation of traditional culture from all 50 states and from around the world, with many collections pertaining to Irish culture generally and materials from Northern Ireland in particular. Today the Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on site in its 21 reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning Web site at www.loc.gov.
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