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"The President's Own"

United States Marine Band

Colonel Jason K. Fettig, Director
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Marine Band Concert at Library of Congress: Curated by British Composer

By Staff Sgt. Rachel Ghadiali | | April 11, 2014

This week the Marine Band has teamed up with British composer Oliver Knussen and the Library of Congress to offer a concert at 2 p.m., Saturday, April 12 in the Library of Congress Coolidge Auditorium. A renowned composer and staunch advocate of new music, Knussen has selected the program himself, programming contemporary works which will feature chamber-sized groups throughout the performance.

Knussen attended a Marine Band rehearsal to offer insight on the music with his preferences and interpretations. Upon his introduction to the band, he stood to applaud the group, saying, “I’ve heard your recordings on the internet, and I’m absolutely gobsmacked with the way you play!”

A baron of contemporary music, Knussen programmed selections from the 18th centuries including Peter Lieberson’s Wind Messengers for 13 players, Elliott Carter’s Wind Rose for woodwind ensemble, and Gunther Schuller’s Double Quintet. Balancing these more recent works are Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Serenade No. 10 in B-flat, Gran Partita; Igor Stravinsky’s classic Symphonies of Wind Instruments; and Stravinsky’s arrangement of Jean Sibelius’ Canzonetta.

Conducted by Director Colonel Michael J. Colburn, the concert will celebrate Knussen’s music and career. “We really look forward to not only performing the music chosen by Mr. Knussen, but also collaborating and learning from his experiences as a champion of contemporary music,” said Col. Colburn.

According to Nicholas Brown, Library of Congress Music Specialist/Concert Producer, Knussen requested the Marine Band perform as part of his residency at the Library of Congress since wind ensemble music has shaped his work as a composer. “The pieces he selected have special connections to [him],” Brown explained.

“Knussen was a close friend of Gunther Schuller, Peter Lieberson, and Elliott Carter ... Carter’s Wind Rose was dedicated to [him]. Stravinsky’s music has been particular influential to Knussen, and the Mozart offers a gem from the wind ensemble repertoire.”

“The Library is excited to feature our regular partner, the United States Marine Band, and wind ensemble repertoire that is rarely heard in our Coolidge Auditorium,” Brown continued. “The Marine Band is at the forefront of contemporary wind ensemble performance and commissioning. We are pleased to include them in the Knussen Residency.”

The free concert will take place at 2 p.m., Saturday, April 12 in Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress. The auditorium is located on the ground floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street, S.E., Washington, D.C. No tickets are required. To learn more about Oliver Knussen and his residency at the Library of Congress, visit www.loc.gov/concerts or call (202) 707-5502.
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