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The American Musicological Society and the Music Division of the Library of Congress are pleased to present a series of lectures highlighting musicological research conducted in the Division’s collections.


13 May: Candace Bailey (North Carolina Central Univ.) presents Silencing the Guns of War: Women’s Binder’s Volumes in the Library of Congress.

In this lecture, Candace Bailey examines bound collections of printed music from the Library of Congress to illustrate the music performed during the Civil War in Union areas near the nation’s capital. She hones in on those compiled by Annie Houseal, a music teacher in central Pennsylvania; Minna Blair, the daughter of Lincoln’s postmaster general Montgomery Blair; and Laura Cooke, the daughter of financier Jay Cooke. She demonstrates that “musicking” during the Civil War did not necessarily include music of the Civil War, even among those invested in its quotidian machinations. In light of these findings, Dr. Bailey explores the meaning of “musicking” in Civil War parlors, considering such motivations as music to soothe trauma, to entertain, and to please.


19 May: Marta Robertson (Gettysburg College) presents “A Gift to Be Simple”: Japanese American Influence in Appalachian Spring.”

Professor Marta Robertson looks at the iconic ballet Appalachian Spring (1944) through the lens of Japanese-American influences on the initial production, especially via the dancing of Yuriko [Kikuchi] and set design of Isamu Noguchi. Having been detained in incarceration camps, Yuriko and Noguchi offer political and cultural perspectives on the frontier and Americana that contrast with those of choreographer Martha Graham and composer Aaron Copland.


26 May: Mackenzie Pierce (Univ. of Michigan) presents “Tadeusz Zygfryd Kassern’s Opera The Annointed, the Koussevitzky Foundation, and the Music of Holocaust Memory in the Early Cold War.”

Professor Mackenzie Pierce analyzes one of the earliest operas that commemorates the Holocaust, The Annointed (1951) by Tadeusz Zygfryd Kassern. Drawing on unexamined materials from the Koussevitzky papers and Koussevitzky Foundation’s collection at the Library of Congress, Pierce examines how Holocaust survivors deployed music to navigate the often incompatible personal, political, and commemorative demands of the early postwar period.


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