Concerts from the Library of Congress

Various Sundays, 4 to 5 pm
  • Hosted by Bill McGlaughlin

Host Bill McGlaughlin and the knowledgeable curators of the Library of Congress delve into the collections of the Library’s Music Division, re-discovering eloquent manuscripts, magnificent instruments, and artifacts that tell the stories behind the music.

Their encounters with rarities like the manuscript of a Bach cantata or an original Beethoven portrait illuminate the listener’s experience, and moments of music history come alive in landmark performances by legendary figures such as Béla Bartók and Leopold Stokowski. This season, you’ll hear three of the world’s top period instrument ensembles: Bach Collegium Japan, Apollo’s Fire, and Boston’s famous Handel and Haydn Society; opera star Anne Sofie von Otter; violinist Jennifer Koh; the Ensemble Intercontemporain, with Matthias Pintscher; and pianist Richard Goode.

Tune in to hear the 2016 Concerts from the Library of Congress, celebrating a remarkable 90 years on the air!

Continuing a distinguished broadcast tradition that began in 1925, the series presents 13 one-hour programs produced from the Library's splendid 2015-2016 anniversary concert season. Listeners experience performances by world-class artists, recorded in the superb acoustic environment of the Library's historic Coolidge Auditorium.

Each program offers an insider's look into the vast collections of the world's largest music library. With its intimate, 500-seat concert hall, admired worldwide for its acoustics, a notable collection of rare instruments, and the world’s largest music archive, the Nation’s Library is also a major performing arts center with a long track record of media innovation.

That first broadcast in 1925 was carried by a fledgling pre-network group anchored by the Naval Broadcasting Service in Arlington, Virginia, and stations in Schenectady and New York City. Two years before the Federal Communications Commission was established, the Library’s pioneering thinkers had already harnessed the astonishing power of what was then a new medium to take its concerts to a broad audience across the American heartland. 

In the 1930s, entrepreneurial partnerships with the five-year-old National Broadcasting Company, and later, CBS and  the Mutual Broadcasting Network, ensured a national audience for live concert broadcasts from the Coolidge, drawing millions of listeners.