The “Song of America” project, initially developed by Thomas Hampson in collaboration with the Library of Congress in 2005, and now a program of the Hampsong Foundation, examines connections between poetry, music, history and culture from the perspective of classic song.
Drawing on resources from the Library’s unparalleled collection, the project has so far presented two national tours (in 2005-2006 and 2009-2010); independent recitals in 22 states and 13 countries; numerous master classes, exhibitions and broadcasts; the Song of America radio series; the database www.songofamerica.net; and two recordings: Song of America – Music from the Library of Congress and Wondrous Free – Song of America II.
The Song of America database, located at http://www.songofamerica.net, is the keystone of the American song project. Launched in November 2009, Song of America seeks to tell the story of our culture and nation, through the eyes of our poets and the ears of our composer. A project of the Hampsong Foundation, its goal is to build and curate a comprehensive archive of American song with text and multimedia resources.
“The ‘Song of America’ project has been a dream come true for me,” says Hampson, “giving me unforgettable opportunities to tour our country while singing the songs born of our life experiences as Americans in the language of our hearts and minds. These songs – our songs – say everything, through the eyes of our poets and the ears of our composers, about the culture we call American. We need these songs in our cultural landscape.”
For more information about the Song of America project, please visit SongofAmerica.net
This 13-program series is a documentary series which explores the history of American culture through the eyes of American poets and the ears of American composers.
Explore Song of America on the website of the Library of Congress. The site includes audio, essays, past concert tour information, and other resources.
LOC Performing Arts Encyclopedia: Song of America
PDF: LOC Bulletin, Oct. 2005 (SOA spotlight)
This free online presentation lets visitors explore American song artifacts of the Library of Congress. Users can search by time period, location and format; listen to digitized recordings; watch performances of artists interpreting and commenting on American song; and view sheet music, manuscripts and historic copyright submissions
Purposeful singing is what concerns most composers most of their lives. Purposeful singing to me signifies that a composer has come into possession of musical materials of related orders of experience; given these, the composer’s problem then is to shape them coherently so that they are intelligible in themselves, and hence, communicable to an audience. — Aaron Copland, Music and Imagination