Special Music Collections

Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO)

Symphony programs from 1888 to recent seasons reside in open shelving in the Arthur Fiedler Reading Room adjacent to the open score collection on the second floor of Mugar Memorial Library. Elsewhere, notable BSO holdings in the Howard Gottlieb Archival Research Center include several specially commissioned works and nineteenth-century copies of Italian opera. Note that Symphony Hall’s Archives is open by appointment.

Choral Pamphlets

The collection consists of approximately 2,500 single choral octavo scores, about 15 linear feet. You are welcome to browse them “by the armload” and they may circulate. These come chiefly from the estate of Dr. Doshia Clara Mae Dockett (Ed. D, Boston University, 1982), an African-American Boston area music teacher and church musician. The choral styles range from classical sacred and secular, to folk, contemporary Christian, show choirs, youth choirs, novelty and a capella. To work with this collection, visit the Music Library hours open listening/work room browse by their container classification (performing forces and purpose of work, e.g., secular children’s, men’s sacred, mixed Advent).

Another large choral octavo resource for browsing resides in the School of Music’s Music Curriculum Library.

For larger, lengthier choral works, search the online catalog.

Concert Programs, Season Brochures

In addition to the bound programs of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (Study table near Music Open Reserve, MT 125 .E81) and the Boston Pops (Fiedler Room, Case 10), a small collection of diverse programs, bulletins, playbills, and season brochures is maintained.

Arthur Fiedler

The Arthur Fiedler Reading Room is located on the second floor of Mugar Memorial Library adjacent to the open stack score collection. Its hours of access follow those of the Music Library.

Permanently housed in cases within the Reading Room are Fiedler’s personal score and book collections. The book collection is fully cataloged; cataloging of the scores is in progress, and an inventory of uncataloged items by genre or instrumentation (e.g., Operas, Chamber Music, Songs) serves as a finding aid. All items are restricted to on-site use. Fiedler’s personal collection of recordings is gathered and housed in a closed stack area of the the Music Library (Room 209); this collection of recordings may be browsed by appointment.

The Reading Room was established by the family of the late Arthur Fiedler (1894-1979). One of the great advocates of musicial activity in Boston during his era, Fiedler is most readily associated with the Boston Pops which he conducted for more than forty years.

Exhibits of other documents, letters, memorabilia and photographs relating to the life and career of Fiedler are also displayed in the Reading Room. The exhibits, prepared by the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, are drawn from the unique material in the Arthur Fiedler Collection, which is housed in that Department. To inquire further about the Arthur Fiedler Collection, please contact the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center.

Ralph Kirkpatrick : A Bibliography and Discography

Compiled by Meredith Kirkpatrick (2007).

Frank La Forge

The studio score collection of pianist, vocal coach and composer Frank La Forge (1879-1953) arrived here in 1993 facilitated by School of Music faculty vocal coach and accompanist Alan Rogers (d. 2003). In his book Among the pleiades and other stars during the golden age of music La Forge documented aspects of his career in metropolitan New York. La Forge’s collection consists almost entirely of repertoire for solo voice and piano. In addition to his own original compositions and settings, many publications of lesser-known American and English composers, including women, are represented as is a body of work in Spanish, Italian, French and German.

H.C. Robbins Landon

This collection contains photocopies of manuscripts and early editions, primarily of the work of Joseph Haydn, printed scores used in the Landon’s preparation of critical editions, and nearly 200 microfilms of manuscripts collected by Landon from archives around the world. An inventory of the Landon-Haydn items is available online with additional information on their disposition between the Music Library at Mugar Memorial Library and the Howard Gottlieb Archival Research Center.

Libretto File

A collection of libretto pamphlets mostly from American opera houses of the twentieth century. The file is organized by opera composer and is available at the Music Window. Additional librettos are searchable in the online catalog.

McGrew Dance Orchestra Collection

Donated by Robert Fletcher McGrew, this collection of parts to over 1200 dance orchestra and big band music titles (many from film) is housed in the Music Library in 39 archival boxes. The collection is fully searchable in the online catalog. To view a full inventory, search the catalog by Call Number, and type: McGrew.

Music Curriculum Library, College of Fine Arts

This library, located in room 243 of the CFA Building, focuses largely on performance materials. Sheet music is categorized as follows: orchestral, band, choral, keyboard, vocal, operatic and instrumental chamber. The Music Curriculum Library also has a collection of recordings (tape and CD format) of CFA School of Music productions including performances by the orchestras, wind ensemble, choruses, faculty recitals and Opera Institute.

Musical Theatre Scores

These piano-vocal scores and selections are arranged by show title in 15 boxes. The majority of these items came from the working collection of the late pianist, conductor and vocal coach, Edwin McArthur, who also authored Flagsted: a personal memoir.

Gardner Read

In addition to the regularly cataloged works of this composer, theorist, and Professor Emeritus, a small collection of his unbound works and scores of some of his students is available.

Recording Studio, College of Fine Arts

In addition to providing high-quality recording services to the College of Fine Arts and the greater Boston University Community, the studio maintains an archive of 3500 tapes dating back to the early 1950’s and is in the process of making the recordings available as high-resolution streaming files for use by students, faculty and alumni. Browse their archives and listen to selected concerts.

Smithsonian Folkways

Thanks to funding by Boston University’s Humanities Foundation we have acquired the entire audio catalog of the Smithsonian Institution’s Smithsonian Folkways label, and also the Rounder Collections sets from Rounder Records. Browse the arrivals in person or through the online catalog. Make the broadest online catalog search by keyword: monitor; cook; rounder; paredon; folkways. You may also search by keyword for a topic you have in mind: Peru; Nixon; children; protest.

Twentieth Century Archives

Many of the Howard Gottlieb Archival Research Center collections are comprised of personal papers of notable figures in music. Howard Gottlieb Archival Research Center holdings also include material from the Paris Conservatoire, the Boston Symphony Orchestra. View list of their collections.

Roger Voisin

The majority of the personal studio score collection of trumpet virtuoso, BSO chair, teacher and conductor Roger Voisin arrived at Boston University in 1989. The collection is organized alphabetically by composers’ surnames and is kept on-site. Items can be requested request at the Music Library service window. To view this collection in the BU Library Search, search by Voisin and limit to physical items. You can also search by alphabetical letter with Voisin in quotes to limit the number of results: for example “Voisin A” or “Voisin B”.

Harold Wright

Scores of chamber literature involving the clarinet and annotated in the hand of this master artist (d. 1993) were placed in the library with the help of Professor of Clarinet Ethan Sloane and Mrs. Ruth Wright.

Location: Music Library, Room 209 (please inquire). In 4 boxes. View a collection works list.