Category Archives: Announcements

Sound Art in the Library! Fri 10/27, 6-8pm

You are invited to attend the 3rd annual MFA Sound Arts event in the Music & Arts Library, on Friday, 10/27, from 6-8pm. Light refreshments will be served.

Six current students from the MFA Sound Arts program will present installations and performances of their work, exploring different possibilities of the Music & Arts Library space. As in previous years, we expect to see a wide variety of stimulating and entertaining work.

This event is free and open to Columbia students, faculty, and staff. Contact with any questions.

Hope to see you there!

Exhibition & Opening: FAB-Musiconis Project, Friday, April 14, 6-8pm

The Music & Arts Library is please to host an exhibition of work by participants in the FAB-Musiconis project (French-American Bridge for Medieval Musical Iconography), led by Prof. Susan Boynton of the Music Dept. faculty, and Frédéric Billiet (Paris-Sorbonne), and involving the exchange of students from Columbia and the Sorbonne.

An opening reception for the exhibition will be held on Friday, April 14, from 6-8pm, in the Music & Arts Library, 701 Dodge. The evening will include performances of medieval music by project participants. All full-time Columbia students, faculty, and staff are welcome. Light refreshments will be served.

The exhibition will remain on view in the Music & Arts Library through early June 2017.

From the project description (for the full site, see this link):

The three-year project in collaboration with Paris-Sorbonne University centers on training graduate students in digital humanities approaches to the analysis and description of medieval images related to music, with a focus on the Musiconis database. Beginning in 2016, five graduate student medievalists from each of the two partner universities will be selected each fall to participate in a program of activities including two-week intensive exchanges in Paris and New York.

Please direct any questions about the exhibition or event to

Recently Added Resources: RILM Music Encyclopedias; Music Magazine Archive

Two new electronic resources have been recently added to the Libraries’ collection:

RILM Music Encyclopedias

A full-text compilation of 45 seminal titles published from 1775 to the present and comprising nearly 80,000 pages, the majority of which are not available anywhere else online. It provides comprehensive encyclopedic coverage of the most important disciplines, fields, and subject areas, among them popular music, opera, instruments, blues, gospel, recorded sound, and women composers. Its content spans multiple countries and languages–English, German, French, Italian, Dutch, and Greek.

Music Magazine Archive

Music Magazine Archive is a series of digital collections focused on a number of popular music genres.  CUL currently subscribes to the Rock music group of magazines. These publications uniquely capture the social and historical context of the repertory, as well as scholarly research areas such as race, class, gender, American studies, youth culture.  Researchers will find all material represented in the original publications, preserved in its original context, fully searchable and in high-resolution full color.

Please send any comments or questions on these resources to

“A Not So Quiet Space”: Sound Art in the Music & Arts Library, Fri 10/21, 6-8pm

The Music & Arts Library and the Sound Arts MFA Program cordially invite you to “A Not So Quiet Space”, featuring work by the current students in the program, utilizing the space of the Music & Arts Library for temporary installations and performances.
Come join us for some interesting sounds and experiences!
Friday, 10/21, from 6-8pm, in the Music & Arts Library, 701 Dodge.
(CUID required or contact to RSVP).

Click this link for the full poster (PDF): soundartsevent2016-finalposter


Exhibition: Rudolf Kurz Recordings Collection

Exhibition PanoramaAn exhibition in the Gabe M. Wiener Music & Arts Library highlights recordings from the private collection of Rudolf Kurz, which have been given to Columbia University and the Center for Jazz Studies.  Comprising  36 recordings drawn from the 16,000 held in the collection, the show presents a selection of various types of discs, including uncommon formats such as Transcription Discs and V-Discs.

Transcription discs were produced from roughly 1930 to 1960 for radio broadcast or re-broadcast, and were typically 16 inches in diameter and recorded at 33 1/3 rpm. One interesting feature of these discs is that they sometimes would play from the center of the disc outwards (the reverse of the usual trajectory). Here are a few examples from the exhibition:

Transcription Discs ex.1


V-Discs were produced and distributed between 1942 and 1949 through the cooperation of the U.S. Government, American recording companies, and the American Federation of Musicians. Many were distributed to the U.S. armed forces, and some ended up in private collections after production had ceased. Here’s an example of a label image, and a few discs, from the current exhibition:

5-V-DiscLabelListen here to a digitized audio file of the recording above (from the Internet Archive.)

V-discs selectionThere’s an audio collection of many digitized V-disc recordings available on the Internet Archive, at this link.

Another significant component of the Rudolf Kurz collection is jazz recordings, here including Verve label recordings with slipcases illustrated by David Stone Martin (who was influenced by the social realist art of the New Deal) as well as Blue Note and Prestige recordings whose cover designs reflected the increased recognition of jazz as a serious, influential art form. An entertaining online viewer and timeline of some further Blue Note covers is available on the Blue Note web site, and some additional images of Prestige recordings cover art are available at this link.

Here are some of the Blue Note covers from the exhibition:

4-Case-InsideRightand some of the covers from Prestige recordings:

6-CaseInsideLeftWe invite you to stop by the Music & Arts Library (701 Dodge) to see the exhibition of these interesting recordings and covers. The transcription recordings and v-disc recordings are too fragile for public circulation, but the 12-inch jazz recordings featured are available at the circulation desk, for in-library listening in conjunction with this exhibition (ask for them by title and mention that they are in the exhibition).


EVENT: NY Philharmonic Digital Archives, Mon 10/28/13, 1-2:30pm

The New York Philharmonic Digital Archives: Fair Use online and New Sources for Digital Humanities
Monday, October 28, 1-2:30pm
203 Butler Library, Columbia University

(example: 1st violin part from Mahler’s Symphony no. 4; score marked up by Leonard Bernstein)

Since 1842, the New York Philharmonic has preserved nearly every document or scrap of paper relevant to its concert
and business activities creating one of the world’s largest collections of a single, continuously operating
performing arts institution. The material includes conductor and artist correspondence, marked scores and parts,
meeting minutes, contracts, subscriber lists, musician attendance sheets, press clippings, personnel and donor
records, printed programs, etc. In 2009, with a generous grant from the Leon Levy Foundation, the Archives began
digitizing all paper (1.3 million pages) between 1943 and 1970 making it freely available on the internet.

Two goals of the digitization were that new connections would be made within the collections and new forms of
research would result.  Legal obligations and ways to meet these requirements which had not been relevant to a
reading-room research had to be worked out. Subscriber records, a record type that had never been used by scholars,
became the focus for a new study on New York elites.

Barbara Haws is the Philharmonic’s Archivist and Historian leading the digital project.  Jane Ginsburg, the Morton
L. Janklow Professor of Literary and Artistic Property Law at the Columbia Law School advises the Philharmonic
Digital Archives on intellectual property issues including fair use. Shamus Khan, Associate Professor of Sociology
at Columbia leads a team of sociologists in a digital humanities project funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
to study New York elites using the New York Philharmonic’s subscriber and concert hall seating records.

Directions to Butler Library are here:

Computer Music Center presents workshop on composition/production (free!)

Columbia’s Computer Music Center presents a FREE all-day workshop on composition and production, on Sunday 4/14/13, 10am-5pm, at the Center, Prentis Hall, 3rd floor, 632 W. 125th St. The event will feature several noted composers and music coders and technologists.

From their announcement:

The Columbia University Computer Music Center is hosting a day-long workshop on issues arising from ‘production’: the impact of contemporary recording studio and digital-signal processing tools in crafting the sonic presentation of music. We will be especially focussing on the use of these tools, how they influence our musical creativity and the role recording technologies play in shaping the work we do. Towards that end, we have invited a group of musicians and researchers involved in music technology to help lead a community discussion of these issues. All are welcome to participate in this event.

The event is free and open to the public. Full details are at this link.  Come on down!

Hawk drops by Music & Arts Library to kick off new semester

A visitor stopped by the ledges of the Music & Arts Library this morning, to help kick off the new semester! Our expertise is not in ornithology, but we’re speculating that it’s a juvenile (red-tail?) hawk. Bird nerds, feel free to weigh in. Apparently the spot’s quite comfy, as the hawk spent over 30 minutes sunning himself and peeking in the window from time to time. Or, perhaps he’s a music fan, and wanted to check out our collections…

We take this as an auspicious start to the new semester. Regular hours are now back in effect. See you in the library!


Please Note: Libraries system downtime, Wed Jan 2 through Mon Jan 7, 2013

PLEASE NOTE: The Libraries’ system software will be undergoing a significant upgrade from Wed Jan 2nd, through Mon Jan 7th.

During this time, you will not be able to renew items online, and some features of CLIO will not be working (bookbag, saved searches, etc). You can still use CLIO to search for materials, but it will be “static” during the upgrade, and will not reflect the real-time status of items. You *will* be able to place Offsite, Borrow Direct (UPDATE: We’ve been informed that Borrow Direct service will NOT be available, after all), and Inter-Library Loan requests. No Music & Arts Library items will fall due over the Winter Break.

We hope that disruptions will be minimal, but if you have any questions or problems, contact us at

NOTICE: Music & Arts Library, storm-related closures

   Due to the imminent storm, the Music & Arts Library will close early today (Sunday 10/28) at 6pm, and will remain closed during Monday 10/29. Normal hours are currently expected to resume on Tuesday, 10/30, but please stay tuned for further updates.

We will attempt to provide reference support via email on Monday. If you have music research questions that can’t wait, please email and we will do our best to respond.