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.
Open to the public, the series is held in the Library’s famed Coolidge Auditorium in the Jefferson Building.
- Fall 2014: 7 October. Carol Hess (University of California, Davis) will present "Copland as Good Neighbor: Cultural Diplomacy in Latin America During World War II"
Carol Hess describes her lecture as follows:
Scholars and the general public have long acknowledged Aaron Copland’s attraction to Latin America, noting his associations with several composers from that region and his Latin-themed works such as El salón México, Danzón cubano, and Three Latin-American Sketches. Between 1932 and 1972, Copland made eight visits to Latin America, four as a cultural diplomat under the auspices of the U.S. State Department (1941, 1947, 1962, 1963). His cultural diplomacy in Latin America remains largely unexamined, however, despite the rich trove of materials in the Aaron Copland Collection of the Library of Congress. Here we find the diaries Copland kept during these visits, his reports for the State Department, correspondence with Latin American musicians, concert programs of his performances, reviews of his works from Spanish- and Portuguese-language presses, and scripts of the radio broadcasts he gave in various Latin American capitals.
My talk will focus on Copland’s 1941 trip, the most extensive and, from the standpoint of cultural diplomacy, the most urgent. It took place at the height of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Good Neighbor policy, which sought to counter Nazi infiltration in the Western hemisphere. Copland, who had enthused over “a new world with its own new music” that could challenge the European tradition, was ideally suited to promote a fundamental tenet of the Good Neighbor policy, namely, the idea that the Americas are united by shared historical and cultural experiences. Analyzing the Library of Congress materials enables us to explore the musical ramifications of this principle as manifested in Latin American reaction to Copland’s works. I will propose that the 1941 trip, undertaken when U. S. cultural diplomacy was in its fledging stages, anticipates the ultimately ephemeral nature of Good Neighborly ideology, which Copland nonetheless enthusiastically promoted during this most overtly political of his Latin American trips.
Call for Lecture Proposals
Follow this link for full instructions if you are interested in participating in the AMS/LC Lecture Series.
Click here for information on previous lectures, including links to the webcasts:
- 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”