Andrew Granade: An Introduction to Virgil Thompson

Soul of a People: Writing America's Story
Musicologist Andrew Granade introduces two short documentaries scored by Kansas City composer Virgil Thomson
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
8:30 pm
RSVP Required

Musicologist Andrew Granade for an introduction to the life and work of composer Virgil Thompson on Wednesday, October 14, at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.

A native of Kansas City, Virgil Thomson became a leading voice in American music whose influence rivaled that of Aaron Copeland. He joined the Lost Generation in Paris – cavorting with James Joyce, Ezra Pound, and future collaborator Gertrude Stein – then returned to America to unveil his major work, an opera called Four Saints in Three Acts. An established music critic for the New York Herald-Tribune, he also mentored younger composers like Leonard Bernstein and John Cage.

Recommended reading:
Federal Writers' Project

Some of Thomson’s best-known critically acclaimed works are documentary film scores, including The Plow that Broke the Plains (1936) and The River (1938) – which were produced by the U.S. Resettlement Administration and its successor the Farm Security Administration, both New Deal agencies created to assist poor farmers during the Great Depression.

Both short documentaries will be screened following remarks from Granade, who will also introduce and contextualize each film.

Granade is assistant professor of musicology at UMKC, where he specializes in 20th century music.

Admission is free. Call 816.701.3407 to RSVP. Free parking is available in the Library District Parking Garage located at 10th and Baltimore.

The Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) helped define America and American literature by supporting literary talent during the Great Depression. In association with the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association, the Kansas City Public Library commemorates the 75th anniversary of this New Deal program with a series of free events throughout September and October 2009, including a screening of the documentary Soul of a People: Writing America’s Story.

Soul of a People programs at the Kansas City Public Library are sponsored by the American Library Association Public Programs Office with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities: great ideas brought to life.