A Message from Dr. Melanie Zeck of the Library of Congress American Folklife Center

As National Philharmonic’s 2023 – 2024 season concludes, I invite you to celebrate its formal collaboration with the Library of Congress’s American Folklife Center (AFC), which brought AFC holdings into dialog with the orchestra’s repertoire to provide cultural context.

I had the privilege of exploring these archival resources with you through a combination of preconcert lectures, trivia shows, intermission presentations, research workshops, exhibits, video content, and written annotations. Together, we patted the juba rhythm from Florence Price’s Concerto in One Movement, decoded a “hidden” message in Valerie Coleman’s Phenomenal Women (and bounced a bunch of tennis balls), and viewed a series of images depicting the Polish dances referenced in Frédéric Chopin’s solo piano works. Regardless of our formal or informal musical training, each of us had the opportunity to learn – together.

I’ve enjoyed sharing my own love of music with you—at concerts, at Potter Violins, and most notably—onsite at the AFC. Our musical journey has, indeed, been exciting . . . but I’d venture to say that we’re just getting started.

Reach out and tell us about your experiences this season. Continue to explore all of the annotations and resources through NatPhil’s website. And, be sure to join us again in the fall.

Dr. Melanie Zeck

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