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Music Library


Banned Not-Just-Books Week

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Every year the library community gathers to celebrate Banned Books Week, but what about other forms of media? Here are a few stories of how censorship and challenges of art and ideas are not limited to the printed page:

Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical has been controversial wherever it is performed due to profanity, sexuality, anti-war themes, and drug content. A nude scene at the end of the first act is frequently cited by censors.  The show’s run in London’s West End was delayed until the passage of the Theatres Act 1968, which abolished censorship of plays by the Lord Chamberlain’s Office.

Dmitri Shostakovich’s opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District was banned in the Soviet Union for nearly 30 years. This came after Stalin and several high-ranking government officials left a performance before the final act followed by a blistering editorial in the Soviet newspaper Pravda. The naturalistic, almost crude nature of Shostakovich’s music and subject matter was criticized for not conforming to the state’s Social Realism aesthetic.

In 1980, “Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)” and the album The Wall by Pink Floyd were banned by the government of South Africa after the song was used as part of an anti-segregation protest over inequalities in racially divided schools. Protesters used a line from the chorus – “We don’t need no education” – as a rallying cry.

If any of these sound interesting to you, come down to the Music Library! We have a whole display of banned and challenged music, including the works described above!

This post is a guest blog entry by Glen Benedict, student worker at the Music Library and a MS Library Science candidate in the Department of Library and Information Studies.

For more about censorship and music, Grove Music Online offers a full article (complete with bibliography!), under the entry “Censorship,” by John Rosselli.

CDs with caution tape

CDs and Records with caution tape

Fall 2015 at the Music Library

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Welcome back to returning students, faculty, staff, and friends, and welcome to those new this fall. We look forward to assisting you with all your music needs. Some highlights:

What have we been up to over the summer?

We’re looking forward to seeing you in the coming semester!

CDs and LPs

Buffalo-themed items in our “Check It Out” collection, a rotating exhibit of material selected by our student workers—all items can indeed be checked out right at the desk!

LPs and CDs


June in Buffalo 2015 is here

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It’s that time of year again and the concerts for the 2015 June in Buffalo festival have commenced with Saturday’s concert presented by the June in Buffalo Performance Institute. This year’s composition faculty includes director David Felder, Martin Bresnick, Brian Ferneyhough, Bernard Rands, Roger Reynolds, Harvey Sollberger, Steven Stucky, Augusta Read Thomas, and Charles Wuorinen. Featured ensembles and performers include Ensemble Signal, Meridian Arts Ensemble, New York New Music Ensemble, Talujon Percussion Ensemble, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Slee Sinfonietta, Heather Buck, Brad Lubman, Ethan Herschenfeld, and Irvine Arditti. A schedule of all the events is available online at

The Music Library is pleased to host an exhibit written and curated by Ethan Hayden, Ph.D. candidate in Music Composition. Ethan’s exhibit celebrates this year’s festival as the 30th anniversary operating under the direction of Dr. David Felder. Ethan has written a series of blog post articles about the members of this year’s composition faculty and also interviewed David Felder for this year’s festival. The exhibit draws on some of those articles (available in the Blog archive at

Featured Music: Tchaikovsky and Sleeping Beauty

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Once upon a time, in a far-off kingdom, there was a beautiful young princess. She was cursed upon birth by a wicked fairy to prick her finger on a spindle at the age of 16. When she did, she fell into a deep sleep, and remained asleep for one hundred years. The kiss of a handsome prince woke her, and they all lived happily ever after.

This fairy tale, one of several created centuries ago, likely sounds familiar. The tale of Sleeping Beauty has been told for many years, first through spoken word, and eventually through written word. Then, in the late 19th century, it was turned into a ballet, with music by the famed Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsy. The premiere performance, with scenario by Ivan Vsevolozhsky, and choreography by Marius Petipa, was given in St. Petersburg in 1890.

Sleeping Beauty (Spyashchaya krasavitsa), with choreography by Petipa and performed by the Russian National Ballet under the direction of the former Bolshoi Principal dancer Elena Radchenko, arrives in Buffalo at the UB Center for the Arts, April 15, 2015.

If, as many do, you fall in love with the beauty of Tchaikovsky’s music, we invite you to stop by the music library to borrow some of his music for a listen. Here are some suggestions from our shelves:

Sleeping Beauty at the UB Libraries:

  • The Sleeping Beauty: Op. 66 / Tchaikovsky; Russian National Orchestra; Mikhail Pletnev, conductor. CD 8552/53 [compact disc]
  • Sleeping Beauty: Extended Highlights / Tchaikovsky; BBC Philharmonic; Vassily Sinaisky, conductor, CD 5813 [compact disc]
  • The Sleeping Beauty: Complete Ballet music, by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. M95 C348 sl E [score]
  • Tchaikovsky: The Man and His Music, by David Brown, ML410 .C4 B76 2007

Tchaikovsky at the UB Libraries:

This post is a guest blog entry by Katie Goldbach, student worker at the Music Library and a MS Library Science candidate in the Department of Library and Information Studies.


2014 National Recording Registry Entries Selected

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“Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?”

Familiar to millions of people throughout the United States, these memorable lyrics are from one of only 25 sound recordings named to the Library of Congress National Recording Registry for 2014.

Since 2000, the Librarian of Congress has selected 25 sound recordings at least 10 years old to be included in this acclaimed collection. These recordings, according to the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, must be “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

The selections from 2014 span over a century, and truly define the broad nature of American music. From Joan Baez (the artists’ much acclaimed first solo album), to the much beloved music of Sesame Street on the album Sesame Street: All-Time Platinum Favorites, these pieces define a part of America’s past and present. It isn’t just more modern works that have made the list though. A collection of recordings from the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair that demonstrate world music is also included, and is considered to be extremely rare.

The Librarian of Congress and staff members will proceed to select the highest-quality version of each recording. These will be carefully stored in the Library of Congress’ Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation to preserve them for generations to come.

Interested in listening to some of these works? Check out the titles available from the UB Music Libraries:

  • Black Snake Moan–Blind Lemon Jefferson (1927) Record X382/83
  • Fanfares for the Uncommon Woman (album)—Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Marin Alsop, conductor; Joan Tower, composer (1999) CD 16139
  • Joan Baez (album)—Joan Baez (1960) Record X2209
  • Kiss Me, Kate (original cast album) (1949)  CD 19161
  • Matchbox Blues–Blind Lemon Jefferson (1927) CD X607
  • The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (album)—Lauryn Hill (1998) CD 7495
  • My Funny Valentine (single)—The Gerry Mulligan Quartet feat. Chet Baker (1953) Record X1287/88
  • OK Computer (album)—Radiohead (1997) CD 4732
  • Sixteen Tons (single)—Tennessee Ernie Ford (1955) Record X3048
  • Stand! (album)—Sly and the Family Stone (1969) CD X200
  • Stand by Me (single)—Ben E. King (1961) Record X4899/900

In addition, you can listen to some of The Vernacular Wax Cylinder Recordings at University of California, Santa Barbara Library (c. 1890-1910), here.

Please see the press release here for further information.

This post is a guest blog entry by Katie Goldbach, student worker at the Music Library and a MS Library Science candidate in the Department of Library and Information Studies.

The 50th anniversary of the founding of the Center of the Creative and Performing Arts in 1964

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Lukas Foss and Allen Sapp

This past Fall was the 50th anniversary of the beginning of The Center of the Creative and Performing Arts.  The first Creative Associates recital was presented November 13 1964 and the first Evenings for New Music concert was performed on November 29th. The Center survived until 1980. Approximately 120 musicians came to Buffalo as Creative Associates from 1964 until its close. They presented about 700 musical works on 124 Creative Associate Recitals and more than 400 works on 173 Evenings for New Music concerts. About a dozen of the musicians who came to Buffalo as Creative Associates later joined the faculty of the UB Music Department, including three from the first class: Jan Williams, Sylvia Brigham-Dimiziani, and Laurence Bogue.

The current exhibition in the Music Library provides the historical background of the founding of the Center by Lukas Foss and Allen Sapp. The exhibition contains documents, clippings, concert programs, and photographs pertaining to the creation of the Center and its first class of Creative Associates.

An online summary of the exhibit contains the full text of the Rockefeller Foundation proposal written by Lukas Foss and Allen Sapp for the creation of the Center.

Featured Resources – Streaming Video and Audio

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You may already know this, but the UB Libraries provide access to streaming audio and video through several databases. These are available on campus, and UB students, faculty, and staff can access all of these from off campus. If you are studying for a test, preparing a paper, selecting repertoire, or just want something interesting to watch or listen to, be sure to check these out. Of course, if you visit us in person, you are always welcome to take advantage of our 22,000+ LPs, 21,000+ CDs, or 1100+ DVDs, available to borrow or to listen to in the library. (video) is a provider of online streaming video of classical music performances by leading contemporary musical artists. It contains live performances in real-time or delayed streaming, recorded concerts, ballets, operas, concert films, documentaries, and archival films. Much of the live content is provided free of charge while viewing the films requires a subscription.

Kanopy Streaming Video (video)

More than 6,500 videos in a wide variety of subject areas. Content will be useful to those interested in new music, dance, music theatre, film music/film sound, ethnomusicology, and popular music. Collections include the Criterion Collection/Janus Films collection, Hugo Zemp Ethnomusicology collection, First Run Features, and Kino Music Collection/Kino Lorber.

NAXOS Music Library (audio)

Provides recordings from complete catalogs of Naxos and other labels. Music includes classical, world and folk. Includes liner notes, listening guides, biographies, and librettos.

DRAM (Database of Recorded American Music) (audio)

Recordings of American music, long with liner notes and essays. Labels include New World Records, Albany, Innova, Cedille, XI, Pogus, and Deep Listening. Classical, folk, jazz, opera, Native American, electronic, musical theater and contemporary/experimental genres.

pair of headphonespair of black earbuds

Welcome and welcome back!

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Welcome back to returning students, faculty, staff, and friends, and welcome to those new this fall. We look forward to assisting you with all your music needs. Some highlights:

  • We are here for research consultations and reference questions. If you are embarking on a significant research paper or project, we encourage you to make an appointment with one of our librarians.
  • Can’t make it to the library?  Among our many resources we continue to offer streaming audio and video services Naxos,, and DRAM, online research databases, and online access to many journals and ebooks.
  • Loan times for CDs, LPs, and videos have been extended to 7 days for all borrowers. If you prefer to listen here, we have listening and viewing equipment for you to use in the library, including brand new turntables and DVD player.
  • You can check back here for Music Library news and featured resources. You can also find us on Facebook at
  • Our regular hours are the same as last year. Please note the Music Library will be closed on Sunday, August 31, and all UB Libraries will be closed in observance of Labor Day on Monday, Sept. 1.

The Music Library is open to all UB students, staff, and faculty, and the WNY music community (and beyond). Please ask us for assistance with any of your music needs! For general information about the UB Libraries, please check out the Top Ten “must-knows” about the UB Libraries. Throughout the year, check out the Student Support blog for library tips. We look forward to working with you in the coming semester. Best wishes for a productive academic year!

library interior student study a score and using listening station

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Have a seat! New furniture in the Music Library

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The Music Library is pleased to announce new seating throughout the study spaces. You can meet the task chair “Wit” in the listening stations and study carrels and the four-legged “Jiminy” at the group study tables and back computer work stations. Both areas include chairs with and without arms. Users of the computers near the entrance will be able to enjoy new, smooth, sturdy stools. We hope you find these comfortable and invigorating for study and listening.

Table with charging station and chair with listening equipment

New chairs, new equipment


How did we choose new chairs?

We went through two rounds of trial models and invited library visitors to comment. Many thanks to those who completed the surveys–we read all of your comments carefully. We learned that preferences vary greatly, and we tried to select chairs with the most positive and neutral comments.


Why did we replace the old chairs?

Safety first: The older chairs were not up to current safety standards. The new chairs are up to current specifications. We think they are more fashionable, too. The old chairs, in a variety of 70s-era colorful vinyl and fabric, pre-dated the opening of Baird Hall on North Campus in 1981. We were surprised at how many comments suggested keeping the old chairs—did they age so well they are retro chic?

Four old chairs and three new ones

Out with the old, in with the new

  Computer Stools

Please participate in keeping your study space comfortable

We do ask that you help us keep the new chairs and carpet in your space clean and lovely by keeping lids on beverage cups, avoiding messy foods, and reporting any reporting spills. The food policy is posted in the library.

We hope you will find the new seating comfortable and attractive. Come on in and take a seat!

library space with visible damange, left, and renovated, right

We’ve come a long way!

You can find a few more photos on our Facebook page.

Farewell to Violinist, Conductor, and Music Educator, Pamela Gearhart

Pamela Gearhart conducting

Pamela Gearhart conducting a rehearsal at the University at Buffalo, circa 1961. Unidentified photographer.

Violinist and conductor Pamela Gearhart passed away Sunday July 6 2014 in Rochester, New York. She was 79 years old. She is survived by her three children, Kim, Martha, and Fritz.

Pamela Gearhart was born July 21, 1934 in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Her father, Russell Gerhart, was also a violinist and conductor. He founded the Altoona Symphony Orchestra and served as conductor of the Huntsville, Alabama Civic Symphony and the St, Louis Philharmonic. Pamela began her five years of studies at Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia at age fifteen. Her violin instructors included Mischa Mischakoff, Joseph Knitzer, Ivan Galamian and Efrem Zimbalist.

Pamela Gearhart

Pamela Gearhart, circa 1960. Photograph by Jim Tuttle.

Pamela married UB Music Department faculty member Livingston Gearhart in 1955 and joined the department as a part-time instructor of violin in 1957. She eventually expanded her responsibilities to include directing the chamber music performance program and conducting the UB orchestra. During the years 1959-1977 Pamela also served as the conductor of the youth orchestra of Buffalo’s Community Music School. Under her direction the membership of the orchestra increased ten-fold, from ten to more than one hundred.

Following her position at UB, Pamela served on the music faculty at Ithaca College until her retirement in 1993. Through all her years of work as an inspired music educator Pamela brought alive the joy of music for hundreds of young students and shaped the musical lives and careers of many successful musicians.

Pamela Gearhart conducting

Pamela Gearhart with (L-R) husband Livingston Gearhart, Mischa Schneider, and Alexander Schneider. Unidentified photographer.