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Oral History of American Music Collections Guide: Home

A comprehensive guide to the collections housed at the Oral History of American Music.


Since its founding in 1969 at Yale University, Oral History of American Music (OHAM) has been dedicated to the collection and preservation of the voices of the major musical figures of our time. The project captures musicians’ narratives and reflections in their own words through in-depth interviews. With an ever-expanding collection, OHAM is a living archive, currently comprising over 2,600 audio and video recordings. We regularly conduct, catalogue, and transcribe interviews with emerging talents and established artists, producing a wealth of primary and secondary source material accessible to musicians, students, scholars, arts organizations, and the media.   

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Accessing the Collection


OHAM provides access to interview recordings and text transcripts for personal research use, teaching, and educational purposes. Free online streaming access to most interview recordings is also available for a limited period of 30 days. Digital copies of most transcripts are also available. Transcripts are provided free of charge to members of the Yale Community. A fee of $5 per interview transcript applies for researchers outside of Yale.

To request online streaming access and copies of transcripts, please complete the Reproduction Request Form. Not all interviews have been digitized and transcribed. A staff member will contact you if OHAM is not able to fulfill your request.

Please contact Anne Rhodes with any questions, or to make an appointment visit the collection at the Irving S. Gilmore Music Library.


Rights and permissions for OHAM materials vary between individual interviews. Researchers wishing to publish or broadcast OHAM materials are responsible for obtaining direct authorization from copyright holders: generally, the interviewees or their estates.

Location and Hours

OHAM is normally open Monday-Friday from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Check Sterling Memorial Library's hours here for holidays and closings.)

We are located in in the Irving S. Gilmore Music Library inside Sterling Memorial Library.

We can be reached at or by calling (203) 432-1988.

This LibGuide is maintained by:

Anne Rhodes's picture
Anne Rhodes
Music Library, SML, Room ML114
Monday-Thursday 12-5 by appointment

OHAM Staff

Libby Van Cleve


Libby Van Cleve is a scholar and performer with a specialty in contemporary American music.  As Director of Oral History of American Music (OHAM) at Yale University, she has conducted numerous interviews with major figures in American music.  Along with OHAM’s founder, Vivian Perlis, she is co-author of the award-winning book and CD publication Composers’ Voices from Ives to Ellington, Yale University Press.  Using materials from the archive, Van Cleve co-produced podcasts on Charles Ives, Aaron Copland, and Virgil Thompson.  She is the author of various articles, program notes, and liner notes; these writings are frequently generated from her interviews.   Complementing her work at OHAM, Ms. Van Cleve is recognized as one of the foremost interpreters of contemporary and chamber music for the oboe.  Her performances can be heard on a variety of CD labels, and she is the author of Oboe Unbound: Contemporary Techniques, Rowman and Littlefield Press.  She recently released oboe performance editions of Bach’s first three cello suites, T.D. Ellis Music Publishing.  Van Cleve received her DMA from Yale School of Music, her MFA from California Institute of the Arts, and her BA, Magna cum Laude, from Bowdoin College. She serves as adjunct faculty at Wesleyan University and Connecticut College.


Anne Rhodes

Research Archivist

Anne Rhodes provides reference and access services for OHAM, as well as handling all aspects of arrangement and description. She holds a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Illionois at Urbana-Champaign,  an M.A. in Experimental Music from Wesleyan University and a B. Mus. in Voice Performance from Boston University. Rhodes is a classically trained singer specializing in new music and improvisation. She regularly commissions and collaborates with composers, and has premiered works by many composers, including Alvin Lucier and Anthony Braxton.




Vivian Perlis

Founder / Senior Research Scholar

Vivian Perlis is an historian in American music, specializing in twentieth century composers. She is widely known for her publications, lectures, and recording and film productions. Perlis was the founder of Oral History of American Music and served for many years on the faculty of the Yale School of Music.

Book publications by Perlis include Charles Ives Remembered: An Oral History (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1974), for which she was awarded the Kinkeldey Prize of the American Musicological Society, and "An Ives Celebration" (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1976). With composer Aaron Copland, Perlis is co-author of Copland: 1900 Through 1942 (New York: St. Martin's/ Marek, 1984), which garnered a Deems Taylor/ ASCAP award, and Copland: Since 1943 (New York. St. Martin's, 1989). Her most recent book, Composers' Voices from Ives to Ellington, co-authored with Libby Van Cleve, includes two CDs and is derived from interviews in the OHAM archive.  Among her productions are recordings of the music of Leo Ornstein and Charles Ives, and television documentaries on Ives, Eubie Blake, Aaron Copland, and John Cage.

Perlis’s many honors and awards include: The Charles Ives Award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters (1972); a Grammy nomination for "Charles Ives 100th Anniversary" (1974); the Harvey Kantor Award for excellence in the field of oral history (1984); a Guggenheim Fellowship (1987); and the Irving Lowens Award for distinguished scholarship in American Music from The Sonneck Society (1991).