July 28, 2014 --
On Thursday, July 31 a Marine string quartet will explore America’s musical heritage at the National Museum of American History as part of the museum’s Star-Spangled American Music Series. The quartet will provide a lineup of stirring American music in free 20-minute concerts which will take place in the Flag Hall at the National Mall entrance of the museum at 12:30, 1:30, and 2:30 p.m.
Coordinated by group leader violist Staff Sgt. Tam Tran, the patriotic concerts will begin with the National Anthem followed by the sounds of ragtime and jazz with George Gershwin’s “Fascinating Rhythm” and Scott Joplin’s “Country Club.” The program will highlight Jay Ungar’s “Ashokan Farewell,” a piece that uses the fiddle and elements of bluegrass to transport the listener back in time to the 1860s. Composed in 1982, “Ashokan Farewell” was used as a theme in Ken Burns’ film The Civil War and the PBS television miniseries by the same name. In addition to the American works, Tran programmed Czech composer Antonin Dvorak’s “American” string quartet, a piece he composed while vacationing in Spillville, Iowa, in 1893.
“We wanted to feature American composers who carved out a unique style that would easily be recognized as distinctively American,” Tran said. “When you hear this music, you’ll say yes, this is American. And of course we’ll conclude with none other than Sousa’s march ‘The Stars and Stripes Forever.’”
The concerts are free; no tickets are required. The National Museum of American History is located at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. For more information visit http://americanhistory.si.edu.