NY Philharmonic digitizes collection spanning two centuries

Barbara Haws, archivist and historian of the New York Philharmonic, and Mitchell Brodsky, digital archives project manager for the orchestra, will discuss “Digitizing 170 Years of the New York Philharmonic Archives” on Friday, February 22 at noon in North Quad 2255. The School of Information and the Musicology Department of the university’s School of Music, Theater & Dance are co-sponsors of this presentation.

The New York Philharmonic Archives has just completed the first phase of a three-year project to digitize 1.3 million pages of archival material and make it freely available over the web for study and research. The first group of records, representing the era of music director Leonard Bernstein from 1943 to 1970, consists of everything from letters of Presidents to the smallest scrap of paper. These digital archives are already inspiring new academic research. The next set of records, due to be released this month, consists of over 500,000 pages of instrumental music parts.

The two archivists will focus on the archival science behind this massive undertaking, addressing the project’s planning process, how former intellectual controls were leveraged, onsite digitization workflows, copyright, lessons learned, and revisions to assumptions made.

As the talk will take place at noon, guests are welcome to bring their lunch. Light refreshments and beverages will be provided.


Barbara Haws

In the afternoon, Barbara Haws is guest speaker at a colloquium co-sponsored by the Musicology Department and the Interdisciplinary Music Forum. She will present “When Worlds Collide: Leonard Bernstein, Racial Barriers at the Philharmonic, and the Black Panthers.” The paper examines the controversy surrounding charges in 1969 that Bernstein practiced racial discrimination in hiring musicians and that he was aiding the Black Panthers. Using original sources in the Philharmonic’s Digital Archives, Haws shows what was behind these events and how Bernstein and the Philharmonic responded. This lecture takes place at 5:00 p.m. in Burton Tower Room 506.

The archivists are visiting Ann Arbor in conjunction with the New York Philharmonic’s University Musical Society appearances on February 23 and 24. The Philharmonic has a long history of performances at the university, with its first appearance at Hill Auditorium just three years after that venue opened.

POsted on Friday, February 15, 2013