MLA Newsletter
Music Library Association No.188 November-December 2016
Image of hay bales in an empty field "Music is Everywhere"; Image courtesy of Michelle Hahn
Institutions & Collections

Submitted by Anna Kijas

The Boston College Libraries present The Séamus Connolly Collection of Irish Music and the Burns Antiphoner, open access projects licensed under a CC-BY-NC license.

The Séamus Connolly Collection of Irish Music is a digital collection featuring over 330 traditional tunes and songs collected by master fiddle player Séamus Connolly, Sullivan Family Artist-in-Residence in Irish Music at Boston College (2004-2015) and National Heritage Fellow (2013). The collection includes audio recordings featuring 130+ musicians, with accompanying stories, transcriptions, and essays. It is the culmination of a three-year collaboration between the Boston College Libraries and Connolly and reflects the work of many departments across the libraries, with Connolly's own work on the project beginning nearly 15 years ago.

The Burns Antiphoner is an interactive resource that presents and contextualizes an early 14th-century Franciscan antiphoner from the collections of Boston College's Burns Library for both scholarly and general audiences. Employing open source technologies to create structured data and encode over 1500 incipits and notation in JSON and MEI/XML format, music notation, metadata, performances, and textual incipits can be queried and viewed through a searchable interface using the Diva.js viewer. The website includes scholarly essays about the manuscript written by Dr. Graeme Skinner (Sydney Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney) as well as videos of several performances from short sections of the manuscript by Schola Antiqua (dir. Juan Carlos Asensio Palacios), recorded in the Primate Cathedral of St. Mary of Toledo, Spain. It received the support of an Academic Technology Innovation Grant at Boston College (2015--2017).

Read more about these projects in the Fall 2016 issue of the Boston College Library Newsletter.

Submitted by Peter Munstedt

Karajan/MIT Classical Hackathon

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Music and Theater Arts Section and Lewis Music Library hosted the Karajan/MIT Classical Music Hackathon October 21-23, 2016. Over 90 people from eight countries attended this event. Musicians, computer scientists, students, and business people worked on various music and library-related projects. Among the topics were conductive fabrics; dynamic score visualization; machine learning of music performance data; microtonality in MuseScore; and a Vivaldi remix.

MIT Lewis Music Library 20th Anniversary Celebrations

It has been 20 years since the renovation and dedication of the MIT Rosalind Denny Lewis Music Library. To celebrate, the library held two events:

MIT Community Open House: The open house included refreshments, exhibits, and demos about the library's activities in the past 20 years, including new additions to the collections, various projects, and a timeline showing many of the library's activities.

Donor Reception: Lewis Music Library donors toured the library exhibits and demos highlighting the past 20 years. In addition, MIT faculty and students performed music, including John Harbison's Veni Creator Spiritus, a two-part canon composed specifically for the 19 glass panels on the library's mezzanine. Faculty also talked about the library and its importance to the MIT community.

A video celebrating the library's 20th anniversary was created for this event.

Institutions & Collections, continued

Submitted by Nancy Zavac

CORAL GABLES, Fla.--University of Miami Trustee Alfred Camner, his wife, Anne Camner, and their four children, all of whom are UM alumni, have made a donation to the University of rare and valuable scores composed by musical giants--from Beethoven to Gershwin--that were printed and bound during the composers' lives.

Alfred, J.D. '69, and Anne, J.D. '72, along with children Danielle Camner Lindholm J.D. '95, Errin Camner L.L.M. '99, Lauren Camner Winter M.B.A. '98, and Andrew Camner B.A. '09, donated several hundred scores, collectively forming the Camner Family Music Collection, to the Marta and Austin Weeks Music Library and Technology Center at the Frost School of Music, where it will be available to UM students, researchers, and the public.

"It is our family's desire that this collection of first and early printed music editions form the true start to creating an extraordinary musicological resource, unmatched by modern editions," said Alfred Camner, who, with his wife, also endowed UM's Camner Center for Academic Resources.

The collection features historical works spanning three centuries and with origins in many parts of the world. Collection materials include rare lithography-printed and leather-bound editions of Christoph Willibald Gluck's Alceste (1767), Georges Bizet's Carmen (1875), and Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring (1913), among many others published between the 18th and 20th centuries.

Shelton Berg, dean of the Frost School, calls the gift a "transformative" resource for members of the Frost School and beyond. "When we look at a recently published score of a musical work from 100 years ago or more, we are seeing the music as something 'from the past,'" Berg says. "Conversely, when a student performer or researcher examines an original edition score, with the marginal notations, the music is suddenly 'in the present.' They are experiencing it in the time of its creation. It's hard to describe the exhilaration that produces."

The Camner Collection arrives as the University is preparing to carry out new initiatives supporting educational innovation and encouraging new pedagogical approaches in the classroom. Frank Cooper, research professor emeritus at the Frost School, says this timing is important. "In an age where electronic media have taken over, there are no research materials to compare to original objects, in this case, printed scores from the times of the composers themselves. How invaluable for researchers today and for many generations to come."

In details such as marginal notations, Camner says, the collection reveals how scores were studied and used in practice, in concerts, and in opera houses through time. Additionally, notes may point to how the music has evolved. "There is no substitute for the feeling a scholar or music student gets from handling a score that might have been used by Beethoven or Verdi or Puccini or Stravinsky, scores published in their lifetimes, edited by them, and often later corrected or changed," Camner says. "These first and early editions are the closest we get to a sense of the time and place and world of the composer, a time when the composers often depended on the sales of these scores for their livelihoods."

Nancy Zavac, who heads the Weeks Music Library, says that the Camner Collection brings a new level of research prestige to the library, which houses a wide range of musicology resources, including modern books, journals, and recordings, as well as unique and distinctive materials. "All music librarians are eager to have treasures in their collections. The Camner Collection is such a thing. It is exciting for me and my staff to care for, and greatly enhances our holdings."

Dean of Libraries Charles Eckman expressed deep gratitude to the Camner Family for donating this important collection. "Miami is notable for the presence of several individual collectors of rare and unique cultural and bibliographic treasures," he said. "The Camner Family is to be commended for their appreciation of the scholarly and teaching value of this private collection, and we celebrate their generosity of spirit in enabling the exposure and application this collection will have at the University of Miami for current and future generations of researchers and students."

Institutions & Collections, continued

Submitted by Kristen Castellana

The University of Michigan Library has completed digitization of its Women Composers Collection, which contains approximately 2800 musical works by women composers. With the exception of several dozen 18th-century works, the music is almost evenly divided between the 19th and 20th centuries. The collection contains music in a variety of genres; songs and solo piano music predominate, but choral, orchestral, dramatic, and chamber music are also represented. Approximately 80% of the works are in the public domain and thus are available in full text.

The bulk of the material was assembled by a British antiquarian, from whom the Library purchased the collection in 1980, after which the Music Library added a few hundred more works. Most of the scores are first or early editions, and since many have not subsequently been re-published, much of the content is rare or even unique. Some pieces include markings or corrections from the composers themselves, and nearly 250 are manuscripts.

The collection contains the works of more than 700 composers. The majority are French or British, while composers of the United States, Germany, and elsewhere are also included. Among those most heavily represented are Loïsa Puget, Cécile Chaminade, Augusta Holmès, Pauline Viardot, Ethel Smyth, Jeanne Boyd, Jane Vieu, Elizabeth Gould, Hedwige Chrétien, Harriet Ware, Carrie Jacobs-Bond, Pauline Duchambge, Liza Lehmann, Virginia Gabriel, Marguerite Roesgen-Champion, Mel Bonis, and Evelyn Sharp.

Options for accessing the collection:

  • Retrieve (or search within) the full collection in our local catalog using the phrase "women composers collection"
  • View the full collection in HathiTrust
  • View/download an inventory of the collection, which allows browsing & searching in spreadsheet form
  • Bibliographic records containing the HathiTrust links also appear in WorldCat


Florida International University is a relatively young public university, now about to celebrate fifty years of activity in Miami, Florida (on the western end of SW 8th Street, also known as Calle Ocho where it passes through Little Havana). Our Green Library has a very active program digitizing materials relating to local history, and since I arrived in 2013 we have also been adding digitized music to our repository, including scores donated by Brazilian composers, and materials relating to the career and compositions of Brazilian composer Sergio Roberto de Oliveira. Recently I came upon an interesting and extensive collection of piano music, which arrived from the vendor already preserved in acid-free envelopes, and without bindings--thus, perfect for scanning. I purchased this for my own personal collection, and it has been scanned and added to our dPanther collection, with metadata immediately searchable via google, and also through our union catalogue of materials in the Florida SUS (State University System). These scores are highly representative of piano production in the mid-nineteenth century, with almost 200 items from European publishers, including works by Ascher, Bellak, Bendel, Dorn, Duvernoy, Falk, Faust, Funkenstein, Gregh, Grobe, Jadassohn, Kinkel, Lack, Lamothe, Leybach, Louel, Ravina, Reinecke, Schulhoff, and many others.

To view the collection, visit the FIU Sound and Image digital collection page and search for "Tom Moore Collection.

a spread of sheet music from the Tom Moore Collection cover image from a work by Moritz Mszkowski
cover image from a work by Theodore Lack