Skip to content

Library Concert Series Goes Beyond Bach

If you attended a Library of Congress concert series program 10 years ago, you would most likely have heard a traditional string or brass group playing sets of well-known classical selections.

This year you’ll still get your Bach and Beethoven, but you can also check out flamenco and jazz pianists, hip-hop break dancers, Chinese percussionists and bluegrass banjos.

The Library will kick off its 2003-2004 Concert Series on Wednesday night — and this year’s lineup is being called the most diverse and eclectic schedule of performances in the history of the program.

Why the shift?

“Because the times they are a changin’,” said Helen Dalrymple, senior public affairs specialist for the Library. “This year we’re trying to represent all kinds of music from the American musical tradition.”

The series, which begins this week and runs until May, includes composer-performer Richard Rodney Bennett, singer and songwriters Buddy and Julie Miller and Laura Cantrell, and Full Circle Souljahs, a beatboxing, break dancing hip-hop group. Next month, the Library will host an ensemble of musicians from China featuring “silk strings and bamboo winds,” and in May the Library will offer a program from its Leonard Bernstein collection “Man About Town.”

But if you want to see famed pianist and composer Dave Brubeck at Wednesday night’s opening show, you’re out of luck. The show has been sold out since last week. You will have better luck catching him at a special Library workshop Tuesday night.

A pioneer of the West Coast jazz movement, the 82-year-old Brubeck has been on stage for more than 60 years. He has toured with jazz legends Duke Ellington and Dizzy Gillespie, and his record “Take Five” was the first jazz recording to hit 1 million record sales.

Tuesday’s jam session, which is open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis, will feature the Dave Brubeck Quartet and bassist Christian McBride giving hands-on instruction and critiquing work of attendees.

On Wednesday night, the Library will honor Brubeck’s contributions to American culture with a Living Legend award, one of about 85 such awards given out since the Library began the effort in 2000. Past recipients include Johnny Cash, Hank Aaron, Colin Powell and Sally Ride.

LOC concerts are free but require tickets for admission, and Dalrymple said stand-by seating is often available. Tickets carry a $2 service charge and are distributed through Ticketmaster at (800) 551-7328. Most concerts take place at 8 p.m. in the Coolidge Auditorium in the Thomas Jefferson Building.

A printed schedule of this year’s Concert Series is available free of charge through the Library’s musical division at (202) 707-5502.

Recent Stories

Eight questions for elections in five states on Tuesday

Paul Pelosi attacker sentenced to 30 years in prison

House Over-slight Committee — Congressional Hits and Misses

Biden kicks off outreach to Black voters as protest threat looms at Morehouse

Editor’s Note: Stock market no panacea for Biden, Democrats

Photos of the week ending May 17, 2024