'ASCAP: One Hundred Years and Beyond' Exhibition to Open 2/13 at Library of Congress
The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), one of the world's leading performing-rights organizations, through the past 100 years has been protecting the use of its members' musical works, monitoring broadcast, online and live usage and ensuring that music creators are fairly compensated. In the last five years, ASCAP has distributed more than $5 billion in royalties to its songwriters, composers and music publishers.
An exhibition at the Library of Congress, "ASCAP: One Hundred Years and Beyond," will celebrate the ASCAP Collection at the Library of Congress on the occasion of the organization's centennial, recalling notable moments and artists in its history, exploring its current work and challenges, and looking to its future as a force in mentoring and inspiring the creativity of new generations.
"ASCAP: One Hundred Years and Beyond" opens Thursday, Feb. 13 and runs through Saturday, July 26, 2014, in the Performing Arts Reading Room Gallery on the first level of the James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The exhibition is free and open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
The exhibition will then travel to Los Angeles, opening at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in its Library of Congress Ira Gershwin Gallery on Aug. 23, 2014 and running through Feb. 14, 2015.
The exhibition features 45 objects, including sheet music, photographs, pamphlets, posters and more. Some highlights include the first ASCAP license, which was issued to Rector's Restaurant in New York City (Broadway and 44th Street) in 1914; the original manuscript of "The Pink Panther," in the hand of composer Henry Mancini; Paul Williams' lyrics for "The Rainbow Connection"; and the original lyrics, including drafts and revisions, for "The Way We Were" by Alan and Marilyn Bergman.
An audio station will offer selections from ASCAP's first 25 years, and an interactive timeline station will explore 100 years of ASCAP. A video screen will display a film-featuring artists Lady Antebellum, Ne-Yo and others-who explain how ASCAP's work enables them and other musical artists to be creative. The video screen also will show highlights from The ASCAP Foundation's annual musical evening at the Library of Congress to celebrate the ASCAP Collection. Several display items will describe ASCAP's mission of inspiring and mentoring young musicians and writers-which it does through master classes, competitions and scholarships-and encouraging musical arts in schools.
Artists represented in the exhibition include Victor Herbert, Irving Berlin, Aaron Copland, Lyle Lovett, Garth Brooks, Hal David, Marvin Hamlisch, Barbra Streisand, Duke Ellington, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Stephen Schwartz, Adam Guettel, Carolina Chocolate Drops and more.
Also on display will be three pages from the U.S. Supreme Court 1917 landmark decision in Herbert v. Shanley Co., written by Associate Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Songwriter Victor Herbert, one of the founders of ASCAP, sued Shanley's Restaurant in New York City over its use of his musical work during dinner service. Holmes said whether the business made a direct profit from the use of this music did not matter, since "the purpose of employing it is profit and that is enough."
The decision forced Shanley's Restaurant to pay a fee to Herbert for playing his song, and also represented a much broader victory for the new ASCAP organization. In the wake of the successful court decision, ASCAP was able to embark upon its mission to license, collect and distribute royalties for its members' public performances, while championing the right of creators to be paid for their work.
The exhibition is made possible through the sponsorship of the Library's Music Division and the generous support of The Ira and Leonore Gershwin Trust for the benefit of the Library of Congress. The exhibition curators from the Music Division are Loras Schissel and Kate Rivers. The exhibition directors from the Library's Interpretive Programs Office are Betsy Nahum-Miller and Carroll Johnson.
In 2009, the Music Division of the Library of Congress acquired archival materials from The ASCAP Foundation. The collection contains video and audio materials, photos, scores, documents and artifacts relevant to the rich history of ASCAP and its members as contributors to American culture.
The Music Division holds the world's largest music collection, with more than 21 million items. Particular areas of strength include opera (scores and librettos), stage and screen musicals, chamber music, jazz and American popular song. The division is home to approximately 600 archival collections, most of them the personal papers (including music scores, correspondence, photographs, legal and financial documents, programs, clippings and other materials) documenting the lives and careers of stellar composers and performers. The division also holds a significant and growing body of materials documenting dance and theater. For more information, visit www.loc.gov/rr/perform/.
For more information about ASCAP and its 100th anniversary, visit www.ascap.com.
The Library of Congress, the nation's oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 158 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at www.loc.gov.