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Mystic Chords of Memory: Abraham Lincoln and the Performing Arts


A series exploring Lincoln's love for the performing arts, the music of his time, and works that have been inspired by him.

"The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature." – Abraham Lincoln, March 4, 1861, from his first inaugural address.

Participants in the series include Eliot Feld, who choreographed a ballet based on Copland's "Lincoln Portrait;" Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University; Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer, who serves as Co-Chair of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission; Baritone James Martin; Arthur Mitchell, Artistic Director of the Dance Theatre of Harlem; Copland scholar Vivian Perlis, Founding Director of Yale's Oral History, American Music (OHAM); and many actors and musicians. The Library is deeply grateful to the participants, who are among the thousands of artists and lecturers who donate their time and talent to the Performing Arts Library's public programs.