Library Awards Musical Commissions

Posted February 11, 2004 at 1:47pm

The Library of Congress’ Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation recently awarded commissions for new musical works to six composers.

The commissions, awarded annually in conjunction with the Koussevitzky Music Foundation Inc. and granted in tandem with the performing organizations that will present the new works, are open to composers of all national origins.

This year’s winners and their sponsors include: William Kraft and Earplay; Philippe Leroux and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players; Nicholas Maw and the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra; Tison Street and the Boston Classical Orchestra; David Taddie and the Cleveland Chamber Symphony; and Barbara White and the Chameleon Arts Ensemble of Boston.

The Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation and the Koussevitzky Music Foundation of New York were founded to preserve the legacy of Serge Koussevitzky, the veteran conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, who died in 1951. Works commissioned by him and the two foundations include masterpieces such as Benjamin Britten’s “Peter Grimes” and Béla Bartók’s “Concerto for Orchestra.”

Those groups wishing to commission a work must submit an application for the composer, and must perform the work within two years. Manuscripts of winning works are archived in the Library’s Music Division. Applications for the next competition are due by March 1.

Mary Pickford Theater Closes for Renovations

After its last film screening in December, the Library of Congress’ Mary Pickford Theater has closed its doors for a major overhaul project which will make the James Madison Building’s popular film screening room more accessible for guests with disabilities.

Renovations began last month, and the theater is not scheduled to reopen until July.

“One side of the stairs are being removed to put in a ramp that will be accessible for wheelchairs,” said Helen Dalrymple, a Library spokeswoman. “Some seats are being taken out for wheelchairs in the front as well. … Basically it’s closed so that some changes can be made to make it [Americans with Disabilities Act] compliant.”

The renovations are being coordinated through the Architect of the Capitol’s office.

Illustrator Offers Black History Month Lecture

In a tribute to the spirit of youth, the Library of Congress will host Jerry Pinkney, one of today’s leading illustrators of children’s books, who will present in a special program next week for Black History Month.

Pinkney, an award winning artist, has been illustrating children’s books since 1964 and has created images for more than 80 titles.

On Feb. 17, Pinkney will present his lecture titled “A Sense of Place” in the Mumford Room of the Library’s James Madison Building. The program will feature a discussion of Pinkney’s career and creative process along with a slide show of some of his work. Pinkney will also comment on his newest book, “God Bless the Child,” and his other books with African-American themes.

Pinkney’s work has included classics like “Noah’s Ark” (2003) and “John Henry” (1994), and he has developed a reputation for historical accuracy in his striking watercolor compositions. In addition to his children’s book work, Pinkney has created illustration for the U.S. Postal Service’s Black Heritage series, National Geographic and the National Park Service’s African-American history and culture projects.

Tuesday’s program is free and open to the public. A book signing in Dining Room A will follow the lecture.

— Bree Hocking and John McArdle