The UCLA campus will host four days of theater, music, lectures and panel discussions in honor of this year's bicentennial of the birth of Abraham Lincoln. The Nov. 18-21 celebration, co-sponsored by the UCLA School of Law, is the inaugural public event of UCLA's new Center for the Liberal Arts and Free Institutions.
The award-winning Interact Theatre Company will open the celebration Wednesday, Nov. 18, at the UCLA School of Law with a reading of "The Rivalry," a 1958 play by screenwriter and essayist Norman Corwin about the Lincoln-Stephen A. Douglas debates of 1858.
A two-part concert at UCLA's Schoenberg Hall will follow on Nov. 19, featuring the UCLA Philharmonia and the 100-voice UCLA Chorale performing "Canticle of Freedom" by Aaron Copland and the world premiere of the choral work "Lincoln Echoes" by UCLA associate professor of music David S. Lefkowitz. Tony Award winner John Rubinstein will direct the second half of the concert, the dramatization "I, Abraham Lincoln," which is based on a script by UCLA alumnus Brett Ryback '06 and integrates popular period music with the events leading to Lincoln's decision to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.
An academic conference on Lincoln will take place Nov. 20 - 21 at the UCLA Faculty Center. Featured lecturers include Daniel Walker Howe, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and professor emeritus at UCLA and Oxford University, and noted Lincoln biographer and scholar Allen Guelzo, a professor at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania.
The Center for the Liberal Arts and Free Institutions (CLAFI) is an interdisciplinary center created in 2009 as part of the UCLA Division of Humanities. The center exists to assist students and faculty who would like to make the great works and achievements of Western and other civilizations a more central part of their studies.
"While part of CLAFI's emphasis will be on curriculum, it will also promote research that contributes to knowledge and understanding and is accessible to non-specialists," said center director Daniel Lowenstein, a professor at the UCLA School of Law. "During this inaugural event celebrating Lincoln, leading scholars will present their ideas in a forum that is open and accessible to all people interested in American history, not just Ph.D.s or Lincoln experts."