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Exhibitions in the Gilmore Music Library: Past Music Library Exhibitions

Current and past exhibitions at the Gilmore Music Library


Musical Daughters of Eli:

Women Pioneers at Yale

February-August 2019 | Curator: Richard Boursy | Digital Exhibition

Musical Daughters of EliCo-education at Yale College began fifty years ago, in 1969, but women had been a part of the School of Music since its inception in 1894. This exhibit highlights a few of the women who blazed trails in music at Yale. Some of them made music as performers or composers, while others were active behind the scenes, building institutions as administrators or philanthropists. These women were not always welcomed, but they persisted, and they accomplished great things.








They Sang and Took the Sword:
Music of World War I

August 2018-February 2019 | Curator: Suzanne Lovejoy | Digital Exhibition

Poster for "They Sang and Took the Sword"In our exhibition entitled "They Sang and Took the Sword”--Music of World War I, the Music Library observes the 100th anniversary of the conclusion of World War I, as marked by the signing of the Armistice on November 11, 1918. The exhibition brings together selected materials from the Music Library’s Special Collections and Collection of Historical Sound Recordings pertaining to the war. Several of these feature the work of Yale students, alumni, and faculty.









Black Sound and the Archive

April-July 2018 | Guest Curators: Profs. Daphne Brooks and Brian Kane

Black Sound and the Archive (J.R. Johnson)The Black Sound and the Archive Working Group at Yale University is a two-year initiative (supported by Yale’s 320 York Humanities Grant) that focuses on the history and significance of African-American sonic practices in tandem with critical examination of the nature of archives. The group seeks to augment the very notion of what constitutes a black sound archive. Beyond historical sound recordings as such, African-American sonic practices are also embedded in a rich yet often opaque archive of extraordinary and everyday objects, photographs, narratives, performances, and repertoires. The group is led by Professors Daphne Brooks (African American Studies, American Studies, Theater Studies, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies) and Brian Kane (Music), and includes faculty, graduate students, and undergrads from Yale and beyond. It produces a variety of events, including workshops, performances, and this exhibit at the Gilmore Music Library, also entitled Black Sound and the Archive. The exhibit, which runs from April 13th through July 30th 2018, features an array of rare and unusual items from the library’s collections, such as an arrangement written by Mary Lou Williams, a document in Duke Ellington’s hand, and several surprising objects (ranging from a walking stick to pajamas*) that belonged to J. Rosamond Johnson, the composer of “Lift Every Voice and Sing. In this exhibit we investigate the stories behind artifacts that have never been displayed before.


Treasures of Guitar and Lute Music from the Gilmore Music Library

February 13-April 2018 | Curator: Richard Boursy | Digital Exhibition

Treasures of Guitar & Lute MusicThe Gilmore Music Library holds many remarkable scores, books, and images of guitar and lute music. Our exhibit, Treasures of Guitar and Lute Music from the Gilmore Music Library, features a display of manuscripts, books, scores, and images, ranging from a lute treatise by Vincenzo Galilei (father of the scientist Galileo Galilei) to a guitar arrangement by Andrés Segovia, the most celebrated classical guitarist of the 20th century.









Musical Roots of the Elm City

October 16, 2017-February 13, 2018 | Curator: Richard Boursy | Digital Exhibition

The Gilmore Music Library’s special collections naturally contain an abundance of materials from Yale faculty, students, and alumni, and such items have appeared in many of our other exhibits. But in Musical Roots of the Elm City, we focus instead on local music and musicians with little or no connection to Yale.  The exhibit features a wide variety of items from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, including sheet music, concert programs, and sound recordings, and it encompasses classical, military, jazz, popular, and film music.








“Tomorrow’s Overture is Always Best”: The Music of Kay Swift

April 25-October 16, 2017 | Curator: Emma Hathaway TD '17 | Digital Exhibition

Poster for "Tomorrow's Overture Is Always Best": The Music of Kay Swift“Tomorrow’s overture is always best, no codas for me—I’m a no-stalgia gal.” —Kay Swift, 1975.

Reflecting on her lack of "no-stalgia" at age 78, composer Kay Swift (1897–1993) aptly summarized a long and prolific career in music. In addition to being the first woman to compose the complete score of a successful Broadway musical (Fine and Dandy—1930), Swift wrote music for one of George Balanchine’s first American ballets (Alma Mater—1934), served as a staff composer at Radio City Music Hall, and continued to compose works for stage, screen, and concert hall through to her final New York performance in 1986 at age 89. Perhaps George Gershwin’s closest personal and professional companion during the last ten years of his life, Swift also made invaluable contributions to his legacy—arranging over fifty musical numbers from a combination of his sketchbooks and her own impeccable memory after his death in 1937. Through a combination of photographs, scores, programs, writings, and recordings, “Tomorrow’s Overture is Always Best”: The Music of Kay Swift will provide a glance into the unique breadth of Kay Swift’s career and her substantial contributions to the American musical canon.


A Riff on Ruff: Yale’s Jazz Ambassador to the World

January 25 - April 25, 2017 | Curator: Richard Boursy | Digital Exhibition

A Riff on Ruff posterSince June 2016, the Gilmore Music Library has been undergoing renovations, and our exhibit program has been on hold. With the inaugural exhibit in our brand-new display cases, we are delighted to honor the 85th birthday of Prof. Willie Ruff of the Yale School of Music. A world-class musician on two instruments (horn and bass), a multifaceted researcher, a well-connected impresario, and polyglot world traveler; a Yale alumnus and professor; and a long-time friend of the library, Ruff is truly one of a kind. The exhibit features a variety of items, including photographs, sound recordings, manuscripts, and awards. Some are from the library’s own collections, and others borrowed from Ruff himself.







Bringing Order Out of Chaos: A Century of Robert Shaw

April 5 - May 27, 2016 | Curator: Richard Boursy | Digital Exhibition

Bringing Order Out of Chaos posterRobert Shaw (1916-1999) was the most renowned choral conductor of the 20th century, and a major orchestral conductor as well. He led the Collegiate Chorale and the Robert Shaw Chorale, served as George Szell’s assistant conductor at the Cleveland Orchestra, and was music director of the Atlanta Symphony. He would have turned 100 on April 30. Our exhibit features musical scores annotated by Shaw, correspondence with prominent persons as well as letters he wrote to his choruses, photographs of Shaw throughout his long career, and a variety of other items ranging from his high school diploma to his batons.







Ezra Laderman: In Memoriam

March 1 - April 5, 2016 Curator: Richard Boursy Digital Exhibition

Poster for Ezra Laderman: In MemoriamEzra Laderman (1924-2015) ranks among the leading American composers of his era. He served as Dean and Professor of Composition at the Yale School of Music, and also as the Chairman of Music Programs at the National Endowment for the Arts, and President of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Music Center, and the National Music Council. Our exhibit, which includes music, photographs, and other materials, draws upon the Ezra Laderman Papers as well as several items lent to us by his family. It is being held in conjunction with a memorial concert at the Yale School of Music on March 2.






Preaching to the Choir: American Jazz and Cold War Diplomacy in Southeast Asia

December 1, 2015 - March 1, 2016 Eugene Lim '18, Student Curator | Richard Boursy, Archivist | Digital Exhibition

During the Cold War, the U.S. State Department sponsored international concert tours by many prominent jazz musicians in the hopes of presenting an attractive image of American culture and values. Preaching to the Choir: American Jazz and Cold War Diplomacy in Southeast Asia focuses on Benny Goodman’s Asian concert tour in 1956-57. It uses photographs, correspondence, clippings, and other archival materials to show the interaction between music and diplomacy. This exhibit developed from a term paper that Eugene Lim ’18 wrote last year for Prof. Rebekah Ahrendt’s freshman seminar on Music and Diplomacy. Eugene did archival research in the Benny Goodman Papers at the Gilmore Music Library, and also in the national archives of Singapore and the United Kingdom.







Organ Music Treasures from the Gilmore Music Library

January 26 - December 1, 2015 | Curator: Richard Boursy | Digital Exhibition

Poster for Organ Music TreasuresThe Gilmore Music Library is home to a wealth of organ music, in manuscripts and early printed editions, ranging from J.S. Bach and his circle, to Yale composers such as Charles Ives and Paul Hindemith. This exhibition has been organized to coincide with the Northeast Regional Convention of the American Guild of Organists in New Haven.








Boundaries of Romanticism

January 5 - June 26, 2015 | Curator: Richard Boursy | Digital Exhibition

In Boundaries of Romanticism, we highlight composers who stand (chronologically or stylistically) near the beginning or the end of the Romantic era. These include Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Mahler, Richard Strauss, Rachmaninoff, and others. Each composer is represented by a musical manuscript, letter, or other item, such as an Austrian coin bearing Schubert’s likeness, or a program of a concert that Mahler conducted in Woolsey Hall.








Plays Well With Others: Duets in Instructional Treatises

September 22, 2014 - January 5, 2015 | Curator: Eva M. Heater | Digital Exhibition

Since at least the invention of the bicinium, the two-part vocal or instrumental compositions of the Renaissance and early Baroque, duets have been an integral part of learning to play an instrument or sing, and have been included in most etude, method, and music theory books for at least six centuries. This exhibit is a small sampling of duets in instrumental method books.








Hot Spots: Highlights from the Jazz Collections in the Gilmore Music Library

Spring-Summer 2014 | Curator: Richard Boursy | Digital Exhibition

Most of the Gilmore Music Library's holdings come from the classical tradition, but we are also a world-renowned center of jazz research. The Library is the home of the papers of the "King of Swing," Benny Goodman, as well as numerous other jazz figures, such as Mel Powell, Eddie Sauter, Slam Stewart, Red Norvo, and John Hammond. It also holds individual manuscripts by Duke Ellington, Artie Shaw, Fats Waller, and Glenn Miller. Hot Spots features a selection of these treasures, along with photographs of jazz luminaries from the papers of Stanley Dance and Helen Oakley Dance and Fred Plaut.







Verdi and His Singers

October 2013-March 2014 | Curator: Richard Boursy | Digital Exhibition

The Gilmore Music Library celebrates the 200th anniversary of the birth of Giuseppe Verdi with Verdi and His Singers. The exhibit features five items in Verdi’s hand: a quotation from Otello and four letters. It also includes a caricature of Verdi by Enrico Caruso, a Verdi score annotated by Robert Shaw, several photographs, and a variety of other materials. Many of the items are associated with Victor Maurel, a baritone who sang major roles in the premieres of Otello and Falstaff.







Master or Monster : Richard Wagner at 200

May-October 2013 | Curator: Richard Boursy | Digital Exhibition

In 2013 the world marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Richard Wagner, a pivotal figure in the history of western music. Wagner developed a new conception of opera, wrote about it at length, and then composed the librettos and music that put his theories into action. His works are still cornerstones of the operatic repertoire, and his stylistic and formal innovations influenced countless other composers. Wagner’s musical genius and charismatic personality inspired cult-like devotion from his admirers, but his anti-Semitism and other character flaws made him many enemies as well, and he is still controversial today. Our exhibit includes five letters by Wagner, along with early photographs and a variety of other materials.






From Peru to Paree: A Cole Porter Jubilee

October 2013-January 2014, in the SML Memorabilia Room | Curator: Suzanne Lovejoy and a team of staff members and graduate students

This exhibition celebrating the 100th anniversary of Cole Porter's graduation from Yale in 1913 culminates a year of festivities. One of Yale's most notable musical alumni, Porter (1891–1964) is recognized as one of the greatest composers of Broadway's and Hollywood's golden years. Moreover, Porter and Irving Berlin were the only two composers to write their own lyrics.  And what beguiling music, such incomparable lyrics! Porter songs enlivened ten top Broadway musicals from the 1930s through the 1950s, but also survived many now-forgotten shows to enter the American songbook and be sung by crooners, pop singers, and jazz artists, as well as rock stars, cowboys, and opera divas. Generations have included Porter's songs in the soundtracks of their lives—enduring standards such as "Night and Day," "What Is This Thing Called Love?," "I Get a Kick out of You," "You're the Top!," "My Heart Belongs to Daddy," "Begin the Beguine," and "Anything Goes." And there are gems awaiting discovery among the lesser-known songs.  Drawing on the Gilmore Music Library's extensive Cole Porter Collection, the exhibition presents photographs, letters, scrapbooks, travel albums, lyrics, and music manuscripts, among other items, to illustrate the life and work of this remarkable man. In addition, a touchscreen computer table presents film clips and recordings of Porter's stylish and sophisticated songs.



Encountering the Other (Ongoing online exhibit)

2010- | Curator: Emily Ferrigno and a team of graduate students

The Gilmore Music Library’s vast Special Collections are renowned for their strong emphasis on Western music. Embedded within the collections, however, are historical encounters with music outside of the Western classical canon.  In this exhibit, the music of “The Other” comes to us from a variety of sources: early voyages of discovery, the impetus to incorporate ethnic and indigenous traditions into art music, and the portrayal of racial identity in American music. This diversity of settings suggests that the identity of the Other shifts according to the politics of time and place.  Encountering the Other is an ongoing exhibit with an online component in blog form. We invite you to visit to view new additions and discoveries.






EXHIBITIONS 2012 - 2007

Hail to the Chief: Presidents in the Gilmore Archives

 Fall 2012 | Curator: Richard Boursy | Digital Exhibition

Every four years, Americans turn their attention to the presidential contest. You might expect—indeed, you might hope—that the Gilmore Music Library would provide a quiet refuge from the otherwise inescapable din of the campaign, but presidents and elections have a surprisingly large presence in our collections. The library holds the papers of Vladimir Horowitz, Robert Shaw, Benny Goodman, and other prominent musicians who performed at the White House, posed for photographs with presidents, corresponded with presidents, or received presidential awards. 







Beyond Paper: Treasures and Curiosities from the Gilmore Archives

 2011 | Curator: Richard Boursy | Digital Exhibition

The Gilmore Music Library is home to numerous important archival collections, manuscripts, and rare books, but Beyond Paper focuses instead on 23 objects you might not expect to find in a library. They include the baton from Arturo Toscanini’s last concert before the outbreak of World War II, one of Vladimir Horowitz’s Grammy Awards, baseballs autographed by the Mets and the Cardinals, an Easter egg decorated by Paul Hindemith, Benny Goodman’s dental impressions, Henry Gilbert’s baby hair and death mask, and casts of the hands of Horowitz and Chopin.







Franz Liszt: Transcending the Virtuosic

 2011 | Curator: Richard Boursy | Digital Exhibition

This fall the Gilmore Music Library marks Liszt’s 200th birthday with an exhibit entitled Franz Liszt: Transcending the Virtuosic. The most dazzling pianist of the 19th century, a strikingly innovative composer, an important conductor, teacher, and author, and a charismatic personality, Liszt was as one of the most talented, colorful, and influential figures in the history of music. Our exhibit features five musical manuscripts wholly or partly in Liszt’s hand, four of his letters (including ones to to his daughter Cosima and his friend Robert Schumann), three early printed editions of his music, two books about Liszt (a biography published during his lifetime and a novel by an alumna of Yale’s Ph.D. program in musicology), three images (depicting Liszt in boyhood, middle age, and old age), a medallion that was owned at various times by Liszt, Toscanini, and Horowitz, and even a rose that he is said to have kissed.





Histories of Music

 Winter-Spring 2011 | Curator: Richard Boursy | Digital Exhibition

The scholarly study of music history is a surprisingly recent innovation, one that is explored in Histories of Music. It features general histories of music from Printz in the 17th century through Hawkins and Burney in the 18th to Kiesewetter, Fétis, and Ambros in the 19th. The exhibit also includes Glarean's Dodekachordon of 1547, and Donald Jay Grout's A History of Western Music, revised by Yale's own Claude V. Palisca.








Robert Schumann: Composer, Critic, & Correspondent

 June-August 2010 | Curator: Richard Boursy | Digital Exhibition

On June 8, the Gilmore Music Library celebrated Robert Schumann’s 200th birthday with Robert Schumann: Composer, Critic, and Correspondent. A central figure in the romantic movement in Germany, Schumann (1810–1856) concentrated on piano music in the early phase of his career, and eventually came to excel in genres ranging from the song to the symphony. Perhaps the most important music journalist of his era, Schumann edited the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik and wrote reviews heralding the genius of the 21-year-old Chopin and the 20-year-old Johannes Brahms. Clara Wieck Schumann, Robert’s wife, was one of the greatest pianists of the century, and a notable composer as well. The exhibit includes two music manuscripts and three letters by Robert as well as one music manuscript and two letters by Clara. Published works on display include Robert’s two most famous reviews, along with a variety of early printed editions and engravings. The exhibit also features the manuscript of a piano piece that Brahms gave to Clara on her wedding anniversary, as well as Charles Ives’s sketch for “Ich grolle nicht,” a song he wrote for Horatio Parker’s class at Yale, based on a text already immortalized by Schumann’s setting of the same poem.




"Hats Off, Gentlemen--A Genius": Chopin at 200

 Spring 2010 | Curator: Richard Boursy | Digital Exhibition



The Gilmore Music Library celebrates the 200th anniversary of Chopin's birth with an exhibit that contains a music manuscript and letter in the composer's own hand, as well as a variety of other materials, such as a manuscript by Chopin's sister, a startlingly diverse selection of arrangements of Chopin's music (ranging from his famous funeral march, re-purposed for the death of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, to the popular song "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows"), and even a postage stamp from Chopin's native Poland. Our title comes from a famous article by Schumann, published in 1831, when both men were scarcely out of their teens; it too is part of the exhibit.








Choral Music in the United States:  Treasures from the Archives

  November-December 2009 | Curator: Richard Boursy | More information



Yale University hosted the annual conference of the National Collegiate Choral Organization in November 2009. To coincide with this event, the Gilmore Music Library organized a special exhibit on American choral music. The exhibit had three main themes: composers' manuscripts, Robert Shaw, and Yale itself. The display featured manuscripts by Horatio Parker, Charles Ives, Deems Taylor, Virgil Thomson, Paul Hindemith, and Fenno Heath. Robert Shaw was the foremost American choral conductor of the 20th century. Yale has been a major center of choral music for nearly a century, and the library holds the papers of two key conductors of the Yale Glee Club: Marshall Bartholomew and Fenno Heath. 

The three themes outlined here overlap in many ways. Ives was a Yale alumnus, Parker and Hindemith were Yale professors, and Bartholomew and Heath were both. Shaw commissioned Hindemith's oratorio When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd, and in 1996, fifty years after its first performance, he conducted it at Yale. Shaw died in New Haven in 1999; he was visiting Yale because his son was a student here. Thanks to the generosity of the Shaw family and the efforts of Robert Blocker (Dean of the Yale School of Music) and Kendall Crilly (then head of the Gilmore Music Library), Shaw's papers now reside at Yale. They are a peerless resource for choral conductors and for scholars interested in the history of choral music.



Benny Goodman: A Century of Swing

 Fall 2009 | Curator: Richard Boursy | More information

This fall the Gilmore Music Library marks the centenary of the King of Swing, Benny Goodman (1909-1986), with an exhibit featuring big band arrangements, clarinet concertos by Paul Hindemith and Aaron Copland, photographs, and a wide variety of other materials, such as Goodman's honorary doctorate from Yale, a program and ticket from his famous Carnegie Hall concert in 1938, and a letter from fellow clarinetist Woody Allen.









"... The Songs We Loved So Well": Music of the Whiffenpoofs

  2009 | Curator: Barry McMurtrey, Whiff Alum '86, Access Services  

The Whiffenpoofs, Yale's most famous a cappella singing group, are marking their 100th anniversary in 2009 with a series of exhibits in Sterling Memorial Library. The exhibit that was on display in the Gilmore Music Library, entitled “… the Songs We Loved So Well”: Music of the Whiffenpoofs, focused mainly on the musical arrangements the Whiffs have performed over the course of their history. Curator Barry McMurtrey, who works in the Access Services department of Sterling and Bass libraries, is an alumnus of the Whiffs.




A Renaissance Man Among the Romatics: Felix Mendelssohn at 200

 Winter-Spring 2009 | Curator: Richard Boursy | Digital Exhibition


On February 3, 2009, we celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Felix Mendelssohn. In his 38 short years, Mendelssohn established a reputation as Europe's most eminent composer with brilliant works such as the Midsummer Night's Dream overture, the "Italian" symphony, the violin concerto, and Elijah. His music is well known even to people who have never set foot in a concert hall, thanks to the omnipresent "Wedding March" and "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing." This exhibit documents Mendelssohn's career with three musical manuscripts and four letters in his own hand, as well as a variety of early published editions, engravings, biographies, and concert programs. As a testament to Mendelssohn's continued prominence in more recent times, we have also included one of Robert Shaw's copiously annotated scores of Elijah.






Gilmore Turns Ten: Looking Back at the Yale Music Library

2008 | Curator: Richard Boursy

The Irving S. Gilmore Music Library celebrates its tenth anniversary on September 18, 2008. Gilmore is the only Yale Music Library that today’s students (and many faculty and staff) have ever known. But veteran Yalies still tend to call it “the new music library”; to us, it seems like the move was just yesterday. This exhibit offers a look back at the old library in Sprague Hall, and at the construction of the Gilmore Library; it features photographs, architectural blueprints, articles, diary entries, and other items.



Of Typewriters and Sleigh Bells: A Celebration of Leroy Anderson

Summer 2008 | Curator: Richard Boursy


On June 29, 2008, the world celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of America's foremost composer of light orchestral music: Leroy Anderson, the composer of Sleigh RideThe TypewriterThe Syncopated Clock, and many other popular classics. Anderson's music owes its enduring success to his inexhaustible melodic imagination, the clarity and inventiveness of his orchestration, and his unique brand of musical humor. The exhibit features musical manuscripts and other items from the Leroy Anderson Papers, as well as items lent by the Anderson family.








Arab Music

Spring 2008 | Curator: Simon Samoeil, Near East Collection


Daniel Read and the Flowering of Sacred Music in New Haven and Singing the Lord's Song in a Foreign Land: Early Sacred Music in America

November 2007-February 2008 | Curator: Kendall L. Crilly

Two related exhibits celebrated the rich heritage of American sacred music. Daniel Read and the Flowering of Sacred Music in New Haven, at the Beinecke Library, explored the life and work of New Haven’s local tunesmith, Daniel Read, in observance of his 250th birthday. Singing the Lord’s Song in a Foreign Land: Early Sacred Music in America, at the Gilmore Music Library, showcased the diversity of American sacred music as it developed from New England psalmody. The exhibits featured materials from Beinecke, from Gilmore, and from the New Haven Museum and Historical Society.



How to Play: Instrumental Treatises, Instructors, and Self-Instructors from Six Centuries

Summer 2007 | Curator: Eva Heater with Kendall Crilly and Richard Boursy

In conjunction with the American Musical Instrument Society's annual meeting at the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments in June, the Music Library shows off some of its extensive collection of musical instrument treatises and self-tutors, ranging from Vincenzo Galilei's Fronimo of 1584 to Jusquin Turenne Des Pres' First Bass of 2005.








EXHIBITIONS 2006 - 2002

A Celebration of Jazz at Yale

2006 | Curator: Kendall Crilly and Richard Boursy

A sampling of treasures featuring material from the Benny Goodman Papers, Duke Ellington's manuscript of The Golden Broom and the Green Apple, and photographs of many jazz luminaries such as Louis Armstrong, Dave Brubeck, Count Basie, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Glenn Miller, Charlie Parker, and Sarah Vaughan from the Stanley Dance and Helen Oakley Dance Papers and the Frederick and Rose Plaut Papers.








Inside Harkness Tower

2006 | Curate by a team of students from the Yale Guild of Carillonneurs, including Brendan Woo '08 and Claire; Halpert '07


This exhibit, held in the Music Library and in the Nave of Sterling Memorial Library, featuring photographs, drawings, music, letters, and other materials from the Music Library, Manuscripts and Archives, and the Guild's own collections. The exhibit coincided with a meeting of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America.








Cycles in Science and Cycles in Music

2006 | Curator: Lloyd Ackert, Mellon Special Collections Humanities Postdoctoral Fellow

The impetus for this exhibit was Ackert's study of Russian microbiologist Sergei Vinogradskii (1856-1953), who trained as a musician and studied with the great pianist and pedagogue Theodor Leschetizky (1830-1915).  Uses of cycles in the works of Franz Schubert (1797-1828) and Guillaume de Machaut (ca. 1300-1377) are considered.  The exhibit is part of The Cycle of Life:  An Exhibit, Virtual and Physical, on display in nine locations in the Yale University Library.



Portuguese World Music

2006 | Curator: K. David Jackson, Professor of Portuguese



From the Collection of Fenno Heath, Yale Glee Club Director, 1953–1992

 2006 | Curator: Timothy DeWerff '92

Fenno Heath (1926-2008), ’50 B.A., ’51 Mus.B., ’52 Mus.B., led the Yale Glee Club for 39 years, including the period of its transition from a men's chorus to a mixed chorus. The exhibit featured compositions and arrangements by Heath, as well as photographs, letters, and other documents.



From Prodigy to Legend: 250 Years of Mozart

2006 | Curator: Kendall Crilly and Richard Boursy

In January 2006 Yale celebrated the 250th birthday of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with an exhibit in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. The exhibit brought together a remarkable assemblage of materials from the Gilmore Music Library, the Beinecke Library, and Sterling Memorial Library. Highlights included a complete gavotte in Mozart’s hand (from the Frederick R. Koch Collection at Beinecke) as well as a fragmentary trumpet part and an envelope in Mozart’s hand (both from the Opochinsky Collection at the Music Library). Also on display were numerous early prints of Mozart’s music, biographical materials, items relating to his family and friends, and images of Mozart and his operatic characters. The Yale Collegium Musicum gave a concert at the Beinecke Library featuring selections from the music on display.






John Kirkpatrick: A Century of American Music

2005 | Curator: Richard Boursy

This exhibit documented the life and work of the virtuoso pianist, insightful advisor to composers (most notably Charles Ives and Carl Ruggles), meticulous editor and scholar, and dedicated teacher.









Theorica Musicae

2004 | Curator: Kendall Crilly and Richard Boursy

Yale has long been renowned as a leading center of music theory, thanks to the faculty and students of the Department of Music, and also to the Music Library's collections. This exhibit featured notable theoretical treatises and works ranging from Gaffurio's Theorica musicae (1942), from which we borrowed our title, to a book and a handwritten analytical graph by Allen Forte, the distinguished professor emeritus at Yale. It included a wide variety of remarkable items, including Zarlino's Istitutioni harmoniche (2nd edition, 1573) signed on the title page by Monteverdi, and a manuscript essay on music theory by Charles Ives's father.








Before They Were Famous

May-October 2004 | Curator: Julie Niemeyer

Many of the library's exhibits feature photographs of famous musicians. Usually we see dignified head shots meant for publicity purposes, or action photos of them performing in concert. Before They Were Famous displayed photos of many eminent composers and performers (including Charles Ives, Benny Goodman, Vladimir Horowitz, Paul Hindemith, Cole Porter, and Virgil Thomson), but it showed them when they were babies or young children.








Vladimir Horowitz: Pianist of the Century

February-May 2004 | Curator: Richard Boursy

Vladimir Horowitz (1903-1989) was the most celebrated pianist of the 20th century. Born in what is now Ukraine, he moved to Germany in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, and later settled in France. When World War II broke out, he moved to the United States, where he became a citizen. Horowitz performed around the world to tremendous acclaim. Horowitz was famous for his spectacular technique and his highly personal interpretations. His mystique was enhanced by his marriage to the daughter of Arturo Toscanini, his many retirements from the stage (one of them lasting twelve years, when he was at the height of his career), and his colorful eccentricities. Our exhibit included correspondence with Sergei Rachmaninoff, Arthur Rubinstein, Leonard Bernstein, Leopold Stokowski, and Rosa Ponselle, a White House photograph signed by President Reagan, a pair of baseballs signed by the 1969 New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals, Toscanini's baton, a cast of Horowitz's hands, and even one of his famous bow ties.




Brazen Images: An Exhibit on the Literature and Pedagogy of Brass Instruments

Summer 2003 | Curator: Eva Heater

Yale has an unusually rich collection of materials relating to the history and playing of brass instruments. The items displayed in this exhibit are but a small sample. Their dates range from 1503 to 1974, and they include holograph manuscripts by Charles Ives, Paul Hindemith, and Virgil Thomson, original editions of early treatises, theater music, chamber music, and other historical documents. 

The exhibit coincided with the Historic Brass Society’s nineteenth annual Early Brass Festival, hosted by the Gilmore Music Library in 2003.


Musicians and Their Pets

Fall 2002 | Curator: Julie Niemeyer | Digital Exhibition

The Music Library's archival collections contain thousands of photographs, and not all of their subjects are human. This exhibit featured photos of many four-legged friends of musicians, including Vladimir Horowitz's cats, Arturo Toscanini's dogs, Charles Ives and Cole Porter riding horses, and Virgil Thomson with two deer.