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Library of Congress Launching ‘Boccaccio Project’ With 10 New Works Inspired by COVID-19

A new series of original works commissioned by the Library of Congress in response to the devastating global COVID-19 pandemic is slated to launch next week.

Titled “The Boccaccio Project” in honor of a similar effort from the mid-14th century, in which Giovanni Boccaccio wrote the 100-story collection Decameron and circulated it among a group of 10 friends who had taken shelter during the Black Death, the series will present 10 original works of new music from composers across America according to a release announcing the ambitious work.

“In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, curators in the Library’s Music Division drew on Boccaccio’s example to offer some musical responses. The curators asked 10 pairs of composers and performers to write brief solo works to be premiered over the course of 10 days,” reads the statement. “The composers and performers are working remotely, and once the new commissions have been recorded, they will be released on the Library’s digital platforms and by the artists.”

The new commissions will premiere on the Library’s website and social channels on weekdays beginning on June 15 and running through June 26, with the commission’s manuscripts becoming part of the Library’s permanent music collections. The full schedule will be announced soon here.

In the meantime, check out descriptions of the some of the participants below:

Del Sol String Quartet (San Francisco)

Kathryn Bates (cello) and Miya Masaoka (composer, New York City)
Charlton Lee (viola) and Luciano Chessa (composer, Berkeley, California and New York City)

Flutronix (Chicago)

Nathalie Joachim (flute) and Allison Loggins-Hull (composer)

Grossman Ensemble (Chicago)

Andrew Nogal (oboe) and Richard Drehoff (composer, Baltimore)
Daniel Pesca (piano) and Aaron Travers (composer, Bloomington, Indiana)


Jenny Lin (piano, New York City) and Cliff Eidelman (composer, Santa Monica, California)
Jeremy Jordan (piano, New York City) and Damien Sneed (composer, Cambria Heights, New York)

PUBLIQuartet (New York City):

Jannina Norpoth (violin) and Niloufar Nourbakhsh (composer, Brooklyn, New York)

Wet Ink Ensemble (New York City)

Erin Lesser (flute) and Erin Rogers (composer, Astoria, New York)
Mariel Roberts (cello) and Ashkan Behzadi (composer, Chicago)

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