Jazz violin virtuoso to headline Curley Memorial Lecture

Contact: Steve Zalusky

Communications Manager, ALA Public Information Office



For Immediate Release

December 4, 2007

Jazz violin virtuoso to headline Curley Memorial Lecture

CHICAGO - The 9th Annual Arthur Curley Memorial Lecture promises to be one of the highlights of the ALA's Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia in January. Grammy-nominated jazz violinist Regina Carter, described by Time Magazine as "taking the listener into the future of jazz," will add a new chapter to the lecture's history of distinguished guests, when she appears at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12, in the Lecture Hall at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

The American Library Association's Arthur Curley Memorial Lecture series is a cultural event attended by approximately 500 people each year and known to many thousands.

It honors Arthur Curley, director of the Boston Public Library from 1985 to 1996. He served as president of the ALA in 1994-95. Mr. Curley, who died in 1998, was a champion of the arts and believed the library played a key role in presenting the arts to the community.

Carter has distinguished with such albums as her critically acclaimed Paganini: After a Dream and I'll Be Seeing You: A Sentimental Journey. Her collaboration with jazz pianist Kenny Barron, Freefall, was nominated for a Grammy in 2002.

In addition to her acclaimed work in the jazz idiom, Carter has explored a wide repertoire, ranging from pop-funk to classical, associating with a diverse group of artists ranging from Mary J. Blige to the Boston Pops.

Carter, who grew up in Detroit, honed her skills in master classes with violin giants Yehudi Menuhin and Itzak Perlman and as a member of the Detroit Civic Symphony Orchestra. She widened her range by playing with the pop-funk group Brainstorm. Her ability to perform in a variety of musical idioms is reflected in her collaborations with Wynton Marsalis and Billy Joel.

During a 2001 trip to Genoa, Italy, she made history by becoming the first jazz musician and African American to play the Guarneri del Gesù violin owned by classical music virtuoso and composer Nicolo Paganini. She later recorded an album using the violin. Her collaboration with jazz pianist Kenny Barron, Freefall, earned her a Grammy nomination in 2002.

In 2006, she was chosen as a fellow by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, an honor that, according to the foundation, provides "no-strings-attached" grants to individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary originality in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.

Carter's appearance in the Curley lecture series adds her name to a distinguished list of past lecturers: radio commentator and author Jim Hightower; Lewis H. Lapham, editor of Harper's Magazine; poet, humorist and essayist Andrei Codrescu; dancer and scholar Brenda Dixon Gottschild; author and essayist Richard Rodriguez; the Mendelssohn String Quartet; ragtime composer and historian Reginald R. Robinson; and journalist Joe Klein.

Inaugurated in 2000, the lecture is underwritten by ALA's Public Information Office, Campaign for America's Libraries, ALA Champions, Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science and individual donors.

This lecture series is arranged by the Arthur Curley Memorial Lecture Subcommittee of ALA's Public Awareness Committee, Judith Gibbons, chair. The Curley committee is composed of: John W. Berry, chair, Lawrence Corbus, Theresa Fredericka, Ann Hamilton, Norman Maas, Cheryl McCoy and Susan Ralph.

Visit the Curley lecture website: