Classical music during presidential inauguration ceremonies

Posted on: January 20, 2017

“Like inaugural ceremonies of years past, Donald Trump’s ceremony will include live music [with] confirmed names including Jackie Evancho, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and … the Piano Guys,” writes James Bennett II on Wednesday (1/18) at New York classical radio station WQXR. “Let’s look back at the classical presence during some [previous] inaugural events. United States Marine Band (1801): An amateur violinist and cellist, Thomas Jefferson … was the first president to have the Marine Band play at the inauguration. Marian Anderson (1957): On April 9, 1939 she performed on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, for a crowd of 75,000 people.… 18 years later … Anderson was invited back to Washington to sing the national anthem at the second inauguration ceremony of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Four years later, she graced the Capitol again to perform at the Kennedy inauguration…. Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Anthony McGill and Gabriela Montero (2009): In 2008, ‘change’ was one of Barack Obama’s campaign buzzwords. His first inauguration committee took that to heart and broke from the previous operatic trend by opting for a chamber performance [featuring the premiere of] a new piece from composer John Williams.” Also noted are inaugural performances by mezzo-sopranos Marilyn Horne (1993), and Susan Graham and Denyce Graves (both 2005).

Posted January 20, 2017