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Damien Sneed Tapped By Library Of Congress

Multi genre artist Damien Sneed is one of ten performers commissioned by the Library of Congress to premiere new music.

The Library of Congress will premiere a series of 10 commissions of new music from composers across America in The Boccaccio Project, inspired by a similar literary effort in the mid-14th century by Giovanni Boccaccio.

The new commissions will premiere on the Library’s website and social media channels on FacebookTwitter and YouTube on weekdays from June 15 to June 26, and the commission manuscripts will become part of the Library’s music collections. The full schedule will be announced soon at this website: loc.gov/concerts/boccaccio-project.

In the mid-14th century Boccaccio (1313-1375) wrote the “Decameron,” a collection of 100 stories shared among a group of 10 acquaintances who had removed themselves from society during the darkest period of a plague. This early artistic response to an outbreak provided context and a means of expression. That moment in history parallels the quarantine and social distancing phenomena we have been experiencing worldwide in recent months.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, curators in the Library’s Music Division drew on Boccaccio’s example to offer some musical responses. The curators asked 10 pairs of composers and performers to write brief solo works to be premiered over the course of 10 days. The composers and performers are working remotely, and once the new commissions have been recorded, they will be released on the Library’s digital platforms and by the artists.

The release of the commissions over 10 days is a nod to the “Decameron’s” structure.

The following participants will compose and perform new works as part of the Boccaccio Project:

Del Sol String Quartet (San Francisco)

  • Kathryn Bates (cello) and Miya Masaoka (composer, New York City)
  • Charlton Lee (viola) and Luciano Chessa (composer, Berkeley, California and New York City)

Flutronix (Chicago)

  • Nathalie Joachim (flute) and Allison Loggins-Hull (composer)

Grossman Ensemble (Chicago)

  • Andrew Nogal (oboe) and Richard Drehoff (composer, Baltimore)
  • Daniel Pesca (piano) and Aaron Travers (composer, Bloomington, Indiana)

Independent

  • Jenny Lin (piano, New York City) and Cliff Eidelman (composer, Santa Monica, California)
  • Jeremy Jordan (piano, New York City) and Damien Sneed (composer, New York City)

PUBLIQuartet (New York City):

  • Jannina Norpoth (violin) and Niloufar Nourbakhsh (composer, Brooklyn, New York)

Wet Ink Ensemble (New York City)

  • Erin Lesser (flute) and Erin Rogers (composer, Astoria, New York)
  • Mariel Roberts (cello) and Ashkan Behzadi (composer, Chicago)

Participants were chosen by the Library’s concert and commission committees, with composers selected in consultation with the performers. The program is made possible by the Dina Koston and Roger Shapiro Fund at the Library of Congress.

The Library’s Music Division has a long and distinguished history of commissioning new works, dating to the founding of the Library’s concert series in 1925. To date, more than 600 works have been commissioned under the auspices of the Library’s gift funds. 

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office.

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