WASHINGTON, DC– The Library of Congress has announced the Spring and Summer 2023 concert series, Series Presents. It will feature a June 8th, 9th and 10th tribute to Billy Strayhorn and to celebrate the 2018 acquisition of the Billy Strayhorn Manuscripts along with an array of Strayhorn archival material. The 3 day celebration will include musical tributes by some of the great jazz artists of today, as well as a panel discussion and movie screenings highlighting Billy Strayhorn’s contribution to both films cinematic success. The events will be presented live in the historic Coolidge Auditorium unless otherwise noted:

Thursday, June 8th, 8 p.m.: Bill Charlap Trio, Jon Faddis, trumpet, and Samara Joy, vocals
The Bill Charlap Trio with trumpeter Jon Faddis and the amazing Samara Joy perform Strayhorn’s unforgettable songs — and some piano solos.

Friday, June 9th, 7 p.m. Screening of “Anatomy of a Murder”
Mary Pickford Theater, James Madison Building
The music of Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington plays an important role in this film nominated for seven Academy Awards.

Saturday, June 10th, 2 p.m.: Screening of “Paris Blues”
Mary Pickford Theater, James Madison Building
“Paris Blues” is a classic love story about American expatriate jazz musicians in Paris, with memorable performances by acting legends including Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Sidney Poitier, Diahann Carroll and Louis Armstrong.

Saturday, June 10th, 4 p.m.: Strayhorn Known and Unknown Symposium
Room 119, Thomas Jefferson Building
David Hajdu, Author of “Lush Life: A Biography of Billy Strayhorn”
Robert G. O’Meally, Zora Neale Hurston Professor of English, Columbia University
Lisa Barg, Associate Professor, Schulich School of Music of McGill University
A. Alyce Claerbaut, President, Billy Strayhorn Songs, Inc.

Join for the keynote lecture at 4 p.m. by Strayhorn biographer David Hajdu, followed by a panel discussion at 5 p.m. Presented through the generous support of the Revada Foundation of the Logan Family. Part of the Library’s “Salute to Strayhorn” celebration. Register for tickets here.

Saturday, June 10th, 8 p.m.: Big Band Evening
Strayhorn Known and Unknown
Loren Schoenberg, conductor, Russell Malone, guitar

PlayBill, the go to website for up and coming Broadway caliber plays, recently announced The Acting Company’s Louanna O. Carlin and the John MacDonald Reading Series will showcase a reading for a potential big stage play: Billy Strayhorn: Something to Live For.  

Billy Strayhorn: Something to Live For,  is directed by Broadway veteran Kent Gash. The play reading will be March 6th at 7 PM at the Mainstage Theater in New York City.  Featuring music from the jazz legend, and a book by playwright Robert Zellers with Kent Gash, the work explores Strayhorn’s collaboration with Duke Ellington and his life as an openly-gay jazz innovator. We look forward to hearing more about this play heading to the Big Stage and Broadway! 

Each year, The Acting Company hosts a series of staged readings to showcase the works of their alumni. The Acting Company has launched the careers of nearly 500 actors, including Kevin Kline, Patti LuPone, Mary Lou Rosato, Keith David, and Rainn Wilson.

2023 got off to a great start for Billy Strayhorn Songs Inc. and the Billy Strayhorn Foundation as exhibitor participants in the 2023 Jazz Education Network Conference (JEN) in Orlando, Florida January 4th thru January 7th. Plenty of conference visitors stopped by the Strayhorn exhibitor booth to learn more about the life and legacy of composer, arranger, lyricist and pianist Billy Strayhorn. The jazz education study series “Ever Up and Onward: A Tribute to Billy Strayhorn”, was made available, as well as a Library of Congress article highlighting the Strayhorn Archives they now have available for research. Information about the Billy Strayhorn Jazz Education Scholarship Award, beautiful postcard size 2023 calendars and a raffle for the book ‘Strayhorn: An Illustrated Life’ were also booth attractions.

Thanks to JEN for a great conference. This was the 14th Annual JEN conference event, highlighting jazz educators, music students, jazz artist performers and exhibitors to celebrate the jazz music we all love and contribute to the collective advancement of jazz education. Looking forward to the 2024 conference that will be held in New Orleans!