As part of Cooper Union’s 2018-2019 season, Emily has been commissioned to write a song as part of a multi-composer song cycle, LETTERS TO THE PRESIDENT, to be performed in Cooper Union’s historic Great Hall.
The Great Hall at Cooper Union
Since George Washington took office in 1783, writing letters to the President has provided citizens of all ages, races, political parties, and backgrounds an outlet to express their most personal concerns, hopes, and dreams. LETTERS TO THE PRESIDENT reimagines this archival canon of letters as a multi-composer song cycle, with each song inspired by an individual letter in the archive. Featuring historical letters from the National Archives and spanning topics including, Western expansion, World Wars I and II, space exploration, and the Civil Right Movement, LETTERS TO THE PRESIDENT offers a powerful look at American dream, setting the White House’s most memorable mail to song.
About the Great Hall
The Great Hall of The Cooper Union has stood for more than a century as a bastion of free speech and a witness to the flow of American History and ideas. When the hall opened in 1858, more than a year in advance of the completion of the institution, it quickly became a mecca for all interested in serious discussion and debate of the vital issues of the day.
The Great Hall was the platform for some of the earliest workers' rights campaigns and for the birth of the NAACP, the women's suffrage movement and the American Red Cross. To the Great Hall's lectern has come a pageant of famous Americans — rebels and reformers, poets and presidents. Before they were elected, Presidents Lincoln, Grant, Cleveland, Taft, and Theodore Roosevelt and Barack Obama all spoke there. Barack Obama also spoke in the Great Hall to as president, as did Woodrow Wilson and William Jefferson Clinton. On May 12, 1993, Clinton delivered a major economic address on reducing the federal deficit. And, during the past century's times of tremendous upheaval, it was through meetings in Cooper's famous auditorium that the politics and legislation necessary to build a humane city took shape.