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Music Library


Music Library Presents Julius Eastman Exhibit

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The Music Library is pleased to announce its new exhibit, Performing the Music of Julius Eastman, currently on display in the library.  A summary of the exhibit is available online at

Julius Eastman portrait

Photograph by Chris Rusiniak

The exhibit contains writings about the multi-talented Julius Eastman (1940-1990) by three musicians who worked with him in Buffalo and New York City: Jan Williams, Joseph Kubera, and Bobby Previte. It also includes text by Eastman scholar Jeff Weston about the challenges presented by the notational practices of Eastman in his scores and text by John Smigielski about the three works presented on a famous concert at Northwestern University in 1980. The exhibit also features rarely-seen photographs of Julius Eastman by former Buffalo resident Chris Rusiniak.

Eastman’s music remained in relative obscurity until recently. Renée Levine-Packer and Mary Jane Leach co-edited a collection of writings about Eastman titled Gay guerrilla : Julius Eastman and his music in 2015 and the level of attention to Eastman’s life and career has greatly increased since then. While the Music Library does not hold a single Julius Eastman collection, it does hold extensive documentation about Eastman’s career here in Buffalo and at UB, both as a Creative Associate and as a faculty member.

The exhibit complements the Burchfield-Penney Art Center’s night of Julius Eastman events  Friday, Feb. 10th.   The program of events  is listed online at: ,

With thanks to Pamela Gearhart

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Portrait of Pamela Gearhart playing the violin

When violinist, conductor, and former UB faculty member Pamela Gearhart died in 2014, she left a generous endowment to the University at Buffalo Music Library in her will. In honor of that gift, the Music Library has acquired a beautiful facsimile edition of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, Op. 61. The 1979 facsimile publication was limited to one thousand copies and is a reproduction of Beethoven’s manuscript of the score held by the Austrian National Library in Vienna. The score contains Beethoven’s telltale markings of changes and corrections along with some sketches for his own arrangement of the violin part for piano.

The concerto was composed in 1806 for violinist Franz Clement. Although it was not initially a critical success, it is now considered one of the masterworks among violin concerti. The work’s famous opening of four solo strokes on the timpani (joined by the woodwinds on the fifth stroke) are clear on the first page of the score.

Thanks to Mrs. Gearhart’s generosity the Music Library is able to acquire items such as this facsimile that add considerable richness to the collection.

Facsimile of the manuscript of Beethoven's Violin Concerto, Op. 61

Facsimile of the manuscript of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, Op. 61

William Shakespeare Exhibit in the Music Library

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William Shakespeare


The Music Library is displaying an exhibit as one of a number of exhibits throughout the University Libraries commemorating the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. The Music Library exhibit, titled If Music Be the Food of Love: Shakespeare in the Music Library, provides an overview of topics from the perspectives of both music in Shakespeare, and Shakespeare in music. The exhibit highlights some lesser-known titles from the holdings of the Music Library, including French operas by Frédéric Le Rey, Georges Adolphe Hüe, and Edmond Missa.

An online summary of the exhibit is available.

New Book about Creative Associate Julius Eastman

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Multi-talented UB Creative Associate (1969-1975) and former music department faculty member Julius Eastman (1940-1990) is the subject of a new book, Gay Guerrilla: Julius Eastman and His Music (University of Rochester Press, 2015) co-edited by Renée Levine-Packer (Coordinator and Managing director of the Center of the Creative and Performing Arts 1965-1978 and author of This Life of Sounds: Evenings for New Music in Buffalo) and Mary Jane Leach. The text includes chapters by both editors, David Borden, R. Nemo Hill, Kyle Gann, John Patrick Thomas, Ryan Dohoney, Andrew Hanson-Dvoracek, Matthew Mendez, and Luciano Chessa.

Julius Eastman

Julius Eastman rehearsing Peter Maxwell Davies’s Eight Songs for a Mad King, Nov. 1 1970
Photograph by Jim Tuttle

Eastman was perhaps best known for his vivid performances of Peter Maxwell Davies’s Eight Songs for a Mad King. His performance with the Fires of London under the direction of the composer has remained in print since its release in 1971. However, there were no commercial recordings available of Eastman’s own compositions until Paul Tai and Mary Jane Leach produced the 3-CD compilation Unjust Malaise for New World Records in 2005 (including two archival recordings from the University at Buffalo Music Library).

The new book provides the most exhaustive examination to date of the many facets of Eastman’s life and career. Congratulations to Mary Jane and Renée on their collaborative effort to keep the legacy of Julius Eastman alive for a new generation of listeners, performers, and researchers.

John Cage June in Buffalo 1975 lecture available

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John Cage

The Music Library is pleased to announce that the John Cage Trust has generously provided permission to provide online access to a very significant lecture given by John Cage at the first June in Buffalo. The lecture took place June 5 1975, the day after a performance of Cage’s work, Song Books, by Julius Eastman and members of the S.E.M. Ensemble. The performance provoked a very strong reaction from Cage and the discussion at the lecture addresses some essential questions concerning “right and wrong” approaches to performing Cage’s music.

Of the many memorable moments in the lecture, the following poignant quote demonstrates how deeply the performance troubled Cage.

“What disturbs me so deeply is that our . . . that the history of our civilization is the history, isn’t it, not of the wars, as they tell us it is. . . but it’s the history of our . . . well, a history that includes Thoreau for instance. . . . Why can’t we learn? Why do we continually, when something is possibly beautiful, why do we find every way in our hands to trample on it? Why, when something could open our eyes, why do we close our eyes and pay no attention? I suppose we have to do it over again. It’s difficult to understand and perhaps there is no hope for us.”

You can listen to the lecture and follow a transcription of it at the following location:

Winter Recess

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Please note the Music Library will be CLOSED from Thursday, December 24 through Sunday, January 3.

Some UB Libraries locations will be open truncated hours on 12/24 and 12/28-12/31. For a complete listing of hours by location, please see

As always, you can access databases and e-resources from off campus any time with your UBit login.

Winter Session hours begin on Monday, January 4. the Music Library will be open 9am-5pm Monday-Friday, January 4-January 24. All UB library locations will be closed Monday Jan. 18.

Best wishes for a restful break and a happy 2016.

UB logo lightly covered with snow

Snow-dusted UB and Slee Hall. Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

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.