AMS - Library of Congress Lecture Series

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.

Upcoming Lectures

Dominic McHugh describes his lecture as follows: "Sixty years after its premiere, Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s My Fair Lady (1956) remains an important landmark in the history of the Broadway musical. Its original run of 2,717 performances far exceeded that of any other musical of its generation, while its positive critical reception was almost unprecedented. Yet surprisingly little is still known about the background to the musical, or indeed the wider cultural resonances of the Lerner-Loewe collaboration as a whole. Curiously, My Fair Lady is such a lauded work that it is almost impenetrable: its lasting presence in culture and society often masks its daring and imagination. This lecture delves into the Library of Congress’s extensive musical theatre collections, which provide a unique window into the workshop of Lerner and Loewe. Unusually, over a dozen boxes of music reveal the gruelling process of producing scores for a Broadway musical in the 1950s, placing the emphasis not on the creation of a work but rather on achieving an effective performance. The lecture examines the particularities of the team’s creative process, focusing on their collaborations with the dance and choral arrangers, as well as the musical’s orchestrators."

Dominic McHugh is Senior Lecturer in Musicology and Director of Performance at The University of Sheffield, UK. His publications include the books Loverly: The Life and Times of ‘My Fair Lady’ and Alan Jay Lerner: A Lyricist’s Letters, both published by Oxford University Press. His other publications include chapters in The Oxford Handbook of the British Musical, The Routledge Companion to Music and Visual Culture and The Palgrave Handbook of Musical Theatre Producers, as well as articles for Journal of the American Musicological Society, The Wagner Journal and New Theatre Quarterly. He is a graduate of King’s College London, winning the Purcell Prize, and also studied piano performance at the Royal Academy of Music. He has also appeared numerous times on BBC TV and radio and has acted as a consultant for Christie’s, the Sydney Opera House and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Call for Lecture Proposals

Follow this link for full instructions if you are interested in participating in the AMS/LC Lecture Series.

Past Lectures

Click here for information on previous lectures, including links to the webcasts:

  • Spring 2016: R. Larry Todd (Duke University), “Revisiting Mendelssohn’s Octet, or the Maturing of Precocity”
  • Fall 2015: Ryan Raul Bañagale, "The Ongoing Composition of Rhapsody in Blue"
  • Spring 2015: Paul Laird, "'A Hint of West Side Story': The Genesis of Bernstein's Chichester Psalms as Seen in the Library of Congress Bernstein Collection"
  • Fall 2014: Carol Hess, "Copland as Good Neighbor: Cultural Diplomacy in Latin America During World War II"
  • Spring 2014: Nancy Newman, "'A program not greatly to their credit': Finding New Perspectives on the Germania Musical Society through the American Memory Sheet Music Collection"
  • Fall 2013: Kendra Preston Leonard, "Meaning and Myth in Louise Talma’s First Period Works"
  • Spring 2013: Todd Decker, "Making Show Boat: Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein II, and the Power of Performers"
  • Fall 2012: Barbara Heyman, "Samuel Barber: Serendipitous Discoveries"
  • Spring 2012: Thomas Brothers, "Louis Armstrong: The Making of a Great Melodist"
  • Fall 2011: William Meredith, "What the Autograph Can Tell Us:
    Beethoven’s Sonata in E Major, opus 109"
  • Winter 2011: Carol J. Oja, "Bernstein Meets Broadway:
    Race, the Blues, and On the Town (1944)"
  • Fall 2010: W. Anthony Sheppard, "American Musical Modernism and Japan"
  • Spring 2010: Steve Swayne, "William Schuman’s Puzzling Seventh Symphony"
  • Fall 2009: Walter Frisch, "Arnold Schoenberg's Creative Journey, 1897-1912"
  • Spring 2009: Jeffrey Magee, "Now It Can Be Told: The Unknown Irving Berlin"
  • Fall 2008: Annegret Fauser, "After Pearl Harbor: Music, War, and the Library of Congress"
  • Spring 2008: Judith Tick, "Ruth Crawford Seeger, Modernist Composer in the Folk Revival:
    Biography as Music History”
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