The library’s 33 1/3 rpm phonograph records, otherwise known as LPs (those of you over 40 years old will know what we are talking about!), have been moved from the library to storage. The CD and DVD collections have been growing at such a rapid rate that there was no more room to house the LPs in the library. It is no surprise that our LP collection has received significantly less use in recent years. As a sign of the times, students sometimes inquire about those odd-looking black platters and the machines that play them.
Although this may be an out-dated format, the library has no intention of discarding its LPs. We own many wonderful recordings on LP that are unavailable on CD. LPs may be recalled from storage through "Your Account" and delivered to the library by the next business day. We hope that our users will continue "spinning vinyl" and take advantage of the rich LP collection that the library accumulated over the years.
In our spring issue, we announced that Dr. Richard Breed '73 (Course V), a former Music Library student assistant, had made a generous donation to the library in memory of his mother, Mrs. Ruth Caryl Breed Licht.
A medieval and renaissance music enthusiast, Dr. Breed asked that the library purchase scores, books, and recordings of music from these historic periods. So far, at least 50 titles have been obtained through this funding, including several exquisite color facsimiles. The music faculty is especially excited about taking these materials to class to enliven and enrich their discussions of early music.
The fifth annual Prokopoff violin music concert was held in the library on April 27 and was attended by an enthusiastic standing-room-only audience. MIT students Vincent Chi-Kwan Cheung (P), Albert Chow ('08), Christine Hsueh ('10), Serenus Hua ('07), Catherine McCurry ('07), Matthew Roitstein ('07), Sunny Wicks ('07), Nina Young ('07), and accompanist Hsin Bei Lee performed works by Bach, Poulenc, Schubert, and Spohr. The music in this concert was chosen from the more than 2,600 violin scores given to the library in 2001 by Mr. Prokopoff's widow Lois Craig. This donation covers a wide range of violin music, with special strength in 20th-century compositions. These scores have been extremely popular with our users, as witnessed by the heavy circulation. Thanks to the talented student performers for sharing this music with us again this year.
The library received a large run of Sing Out! Magazine from Debbie Levey this past spring. This magazine is a rich source for folk music. Each issue includes traditional and contemporary folk songs, feature articles, reviews, and "instrumental teach-ins." In addition to these back issues, the library has just initiated a subscription to this magazine.
The John N. Pierce Memorial Fund was endowed in 1987 by Mr. Pierce's widow, Mrs. Alice Pierce. This fund has focused on purchasing the kinds of music that Mr. Pierce enjoyed: blues and early music. This spring, Mrs. Pierce along with Arnold ('57) and Margit Orange visited the library. From our discussions, it was decided to expand the scope of the endowment by also collecting folk music and jazz, both interests of Mr. Pierce. By adding these new areas, the library will obtain a wider range of materials, all of which will support the music curriculum. To strengthen the Pierce Fund and its new scope, Mr. and Mrs. Orange and Mrs. Pierce each made additional generous contributions to the fund. Our thanks to them and to the other donors who have contributed to this fund over the years.
Since January, Forrest Larson has interviewed three distinguished individuals with very different perspectives on music at MIT. Charles Yardley Chittick (MIT Class of 1922, B.S. in Business and Engineering) was interviewed at his residence in Concord, NH. He talked about playing in the MIT Mandolin Club, and even sang a spirited version of an old MIT song Take Me Back to Tech which has references to when the campus was still in Boston. After graduating, he interviewed to work for Thomas Edison but turned down the job offer. Subsequently, he went on to a long career as a patent attorney.
Sara Emerson Farwell is the daughter of the distinguished composer Arthur Farwell, 1872-1952 (MIT class of 1893, B.S. in Electrical Engineering). Ms. Farwell spoke about her father from a personal family perspective. She recalled discussions with him about aesthetic and spiritual ideas, and musicians coming to the family home to rehearse Arthur's music. She also sang his setting of the Blake poem The Lamb. Ms. Farwell is a retired actress and acting teacher.
Brian Robison was assistant professor of music composition at MIT from 2002-2006. He has composed orchestral, chamber, and vocal music. During two interviews, a wide range of topics was discussed, including his own work, music theory, the music of Harrison Birtwistle, creativity and mathematics, teaching at MIT, and music libraries.
Recordings of six interviews conducted prior to 2006 are now available and may be checked out. Written transcripts are being made of interviews conducted this year.
Many thanks again to Lionel Kinney for his generous funding of the Music at MIT Oral History Project.
Orders have been placed for the following titles:
The Lewis Music Library staff was saddened to learn of the death of Cherry L. Emerson '41 of Atlanta, Georgia and Duxbury, Massachusetts. Mr. Emerson provided the main donation that allowed the old Music Library to be renovated and transformed in the Lewis Music Library. A music lover himself, Mr. Emerson requested that the library be named after Mrs. Rosalind Denny Lewis, his mother-in-law who played piano and also loved music. A chemical engineer, Mr. Emerson had a passion for music along with a vision to understand the value and importance of a music library at MIT. Since the renovation, many students, faculty, and staff have entered the library to study music and to enjoy music as an escape from their academic work. This beautiful library will continue to enrich the lives of countless members of the MIT community due to the generosity of Mr. Emerson.
This past spring was the 25th anniversary of the class of 1982. On Commencement Day, the library welcomed back several members from this class. In 1992, the Class of 1982 designated the Lewis Music Library as one of its areas to support on campus. Since then, the class has provided significant funding to improve the library in many ways. Most recently, the Class of 1982 funded the library's iPod project, reformatted LPs of the Tech Shows to CD, purchased A/V equipment for the library, and obtained the collected music of Carl Nielsen. Our library is a better place because of the generosity displayed by this class. Congratulations to these class members on their silver anniversary!
Images of some of these purchases may be seen on the web page about the fund.
Donations to the library help us grow in so many ways. The Lewis Music Library is grateful for the generosity of our donors:
Donations through Honor With Books:
Donations to the David M. Epstein Memorial Library Fund:
Donations to the John N. Pierce Memorial Fund:
Donations to the Class of 1982 Music Library Fund:
Gifts in Kind:
Q. What is the quickest chamber music pair to prepare and rehearse on short notice?
Dad: How did your first tuba lesson go, son?
Q. How many folk musicians does it take to change a light bulb?
Q. How many second violinists does it take to change a light bulb?
Things have been changing rapidly for the library over the past few months and years. Our electronic resources continue to expand and improve. If you would like information about these items as well as any new CDs, DVDs, and print (yes, print!) materials, please contact Peter Munstedt (email email@example.com, phone 617-253-5636). Tours, class instruction, and one-on-one instruction are also available.
Special thanks to student assistant Emily Davidson '10 for her work on the layout and editing of "What's the Score?"
Cate Gallivan, Reserves Assistant, (617) 253-7389
Larson, Oral History/Circulation Assistant, (617) 253-0982
Moore, Collections & Processing Assistant, (617) 253-3974
Music Librarian, (617) 253-5636
Questions for the Lewis Music Library?