The Library of Congress opens a stellar 81st season of free concerts on Oct. 5, adding special theater and dance events to its traditional emphasis on superb chamber music. A tribute to composer Jonathan Larson, creator of "Rent"; Benjamin Bagby's one man show "Beowulf"; and spoken-word performance artist Marc Bamuthi Joseph's "The Living Word" will transform the Library's historic Coolidge Auditorium into an intimate performance space.
Woven throughout the 35-event season is the theme of metamorphosis-transformation in music and society and the potent music mix that is the 21st century soundscape. "American Creativity: The Composer," another thematic thread, looks at the intersections of classical music with jazz, pop, rock and roll, folk and world music.
Composer and violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain, described as a "classical experimentalist" whose works reference jazz, rock and roll and hip hop, premieres his Library of Congress McKim Fund commission in March 2007. He appears with The Mission, an electro-acoustic ensemble whose forces include a string quartet, turntables and laptop.
Musical group Opus 21 offers "New Works Inspired by Motown," a collection of works from composers Fred Hersch, Michael Daugherty, Richard Adams, Eve Beglarian, Tom Knific and Motown pianist Joe Hunter.
Launching a major collaboration with the "Rediscover Northern Ireland Programme" are weeklong residencies for two major Irish performing arts forces: Camerata Ireland, with pianist-conductor Barry Douglas, and the 15-player Brian Irvine Ensemble, an avant-garde orchestra whose members include a sound artist and a rapper.
A Seeger Family Tribute, jointly sponsored by the Library's Music Division and the American Folklife Center, will honor the remarkable legacy of composers and performers who have shaped America's music for three generations. Pete, Mike and Peggy Seeger will perform on March 16 preceded by a symposium and screenings of films by Pete and Toshi Seeger.
Continuing the Library's musical journey begun with baritone Thomas Hampson's 11-city "Song of America" tour, several performances will spotlight choral singing in the United States. Concerts by the all-male choruses Chanticleer and Cantus showcase American composers from Stephen Foster, Leonard Bernstein and Henry Cowell to Carlos S‡nchez GutiŽrrez, Steven Stucky, Gordon Lightfoot and Smokey Robinson. A co-ed group, Canada's Nathaniel Dett Chorale, performs classical compositions, spirituals and jazz and pop compositions by distinguished African American composers.
A few of the season's other highlights include:
¥ Yuri Bashmet and the Moscow Soloists perform music by Tan Dun, Toru Takemitsu and Hikaru Hayashi with Wu Man performing as soloist in Tan Dun's Concerto for "pipa," a plucked Chinese stringed instrument
¥ The Luciana Souza Quartet, appearing with guitarist Romero Lubambo in Brazilian Duos
¥ A spectacular group of string quartets that includes the Mandelring, Euclid, Cassatt, Enso, Aron, Jerusalem and Borromeo, plus a special Robert Mann and Friends quartet evening
¥ Music from the Bard Festival, a symposium and concert from the 2006 Bard Festival of Music, "Franz Liszt and His World"
¥ Sangam: jazz meets world music in saxophonist Charles Lloyd's trio with percussionist partners tabla player Zakir Hussain and Eric Harland on piano and drums
¥ Bill Charlap Trio with Sandy Stewart performing jazz and the Great American Songbook are the fare in thi