Onï¿½Friday, the main Public Library ofï¿½Cincinnati and Hamilton (800 Vine St., Downtown) gets its 2011 exhibition season underway with My Castle on the Nile: Illustrated Sheet Music by Black Composers, 1828-1944. It will be up through Feb. 28 in the museum's Cincinnati Room. The show draws on sheet music from the library's extensive collection, featuring coversï¿½that are hand-drawn andï¿½often reproduced as brightly colored chromolithographs.
While it has work by such well-known figuresï¿½as "Fats" Waller and Duke Ellington, it also delves deeper into the music's history.
For instance, there is 1828 sheet music by Francis Johnson, the first African-American composer to have his works published in this form and to give racially integrated concerts. Alsoï¿½featured isï¿½19th-centuryï¿½Tin Pan Alleyï¿½composer Gussie Davis, a native Cincinnatian who wrote "Irene, Good Night" in 1886, made famous decades later in an altered version â€”ï¿½called "Goodnight, Irene" â€” by the folksinger Leadbelly.
The show was curated by Theresa Leininger-Miller, assistant art history professor at UC whoï¿½will give an opening lecture at 2 p.m.ï¿½Saturday. For more information, call the Library'sï¿½Geneology & History Department at 513-369-6905.
Go here for library hours and exhibit information.