Category Archives: Exhibitions

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 musiclibrary@columbia.edu.

“Women, Music, Power: A Celebration of Suzanne G. Cusick’s Work”

WomenMusicPower-FullPoster This Spring, the Music & Arts Library has been pleased to host an exhibition curated by graduate students Jane Forner and Velia Ivanova, designed around the very successful Dec. 2015 symposium “Women, Music, Power: A Celebration of Suzanne G. Cusick’s Work” (http://www.womenmusicpower.com/), organized by Music Dept. professor Ellie Hisama, and co-sponsored by several diverse departments, and the Libraries.

The exhibition features writings and ephemera, which echo and supplement the themes of the symposium and highlight aspects of Cusick’s work and achievements.  In addition to the library exhibition, the symposium website details the program and the concert held as part of the event.

A description of Cusick’s work is excerpted here, from the symposium website:

Suzanne G. Cusick is an influential figure in modern musicology. Her early work proved foundational to the fields of feminist and queer musicology, and her full body of scholarship remains among the most sophisticated, engaging, and provocative work in music studies. Her recent writings on the use of music in the so-called “War on Terror” have helped to launch a new generation of scholarship on music and violence and have re-configured the ways in which politics and music are understood as mutually constitutive. Whether focused on new styles of music making in early modern Italian courts, or on the soundscape of CIA blacksites, Cusick’s work is concerned with questions of how music functions as a material practice, with palpable consequences for both listeners and performers. Her work repeatedly pushes beyond the resting places of traditional scholarship, redefining the ways in which we can think about music, about gender, and about music scholarship. Women Music Power, seeks to highlight the central themes of Cusick’s work and to explore their continued relevance to musical scholarship writ large.

The exhibition will remain on view in the Music & Arts Library, through Monday, February 29th, 2016.

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New Sound Arts MFA students exhibit their work

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Carla Cisno, with the generative part of her installation

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Nolan Lem, in front of his work

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first two students in the newly-established Sound Arts MFA program, Carla Cisno and Nolan Lem, presented their work in the First Year Show, at Prentis Hall, from May 4-12, 2014. The works presented were What is all (2014) by Cisno, and Dice Roll (2014) by Lem.

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Cisno, “What is all” – still image from projection

Video clip at this link (please note that the audio is ambient room sound, and not part of the piece).

Cisno’s piece What is all was presented in two spaces: in a smaller room, an aluminum tray of water was activated by a low-frequency analog oscillator, connected to the tray via tactile transducers. The low-frequency oscillator, nominally set to a steady state at 50 Hz (but as the artist pointed out, being vintage analog equipment, drifting somewhat around that frequency) transmitted vibrations into the pan of water, causing wave-like ripples throughout the liquid. A cool-colored beam of light was positioned above the tray, illuminating both tray and liquid (the image above shows the artist near this installation). Video of the tray and water were captured, and projected in two places: on the wall of the small dark room containing the tray, and, transmitted live via HDMI, to a larger separate room, in a floor-to-ceiling display. One interesting feature of her piece was that the sound is not heard directly (but can be felt when touching the table holding the tray), but rather, is seen in its effect on the liquid and light.

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Lem, “Dice Roll”

Video clip of Dice Roll at this link.

Lem’s Dice Roll was installed in a single rectangular room, with the piece lit from below, casting shadows on the walls of the semi-darkened space (see artist in front of work in image at top of page). Lem’s piece featured 3 large rectangular frames, with rows of mounted motors,  activating thin lines supporting dice. The dice, when at rest, sat on a bed of pieces of wood, of varying lengths, arranged for their sonic properties. When activated, the dice rolled and bounced against the pieces of wood, producing a variety of organic-sounding effects. Different textures were in evidence over time, without forming any large discernible structural patterns.

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Panel discussion; Cisno, Lem, Cullen, Repetto (L to R)

The artists both spoke in a panel at the closing reception, discussing their work with Douglas Repetto, Director of the Sound Arts program, and Deborah Cullen, Director and Chief Curator of the Wallach Art Gallery. There was a lively discussion, which touched on issues including ideas about the definition of sound art, ideas about form, approaches to the sense of time in their work, the creative process, and documentation and preservation issues for sound art pieces.

The Music & Arts Library actively supports the work of the Sound Arts program, by acquisitions of books, journals, and recordings, as well as the resources of the Digital Music Lab. We eagerly look forward to seeing the next exhibition of work by this group and the new incoming cohort (an additional 4 artists) in Fall 2014!

 

 

 

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:

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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).

 

India Music Week exhibition

   

In conjunction with India Music Week, the Music & Arts Library has mounted an exhibition of materials from our collections representing the music of India, including books and recordings in several formats, and covering musical styles from the ancient art music traditions through Bollywood film music.  As is the case in several other areas of the world, audio cassettes were (and may remain) an important format for distribution, and our collections include over 800 audio cassettes of Indian music in many styles. The exhibition will remain up for several weeks; stop by and have a look, and perhaps enjoy listening to some of the many selections which are available in our collections for check-out. And, if you’re in the mood to enjoy some music of India remotely, check out the streaming audio content available on the Contemporary World Music and Smithsonian Global databases. Enjoy!

 

On Exhibit: 2011 winners of the Paul Revere Award (music publishing)

Currently on exhibition in the main display case of the Music & Arts Library, 701 Dodge: the winners of the 2011 Paul Revere Award, given by the Music Publishers Association to “… outstanding examples of graphic design”. Categories include note-setting for chamber music, keyboard music, cover design (the Corigliano score in this post was an award recipient in this category), and more. Music layout and typesetting is an art; the same musical content can find vastly different graphic expression in the hands of different publishers. Stop by to take a look at some fine examples of this art!