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Current Exhibit

Verdi and his singer poster

Verdi and his Singers

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. Learn more here...



Ongoing Online Exhibit



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 www.encounteringtheother.wordpress.com to view new additions and discoveries.






Past Exhibits


Hail to the chief poster

Hail to the Chief: Presidents in the Gilmore Archives

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. Read more here...



Beyond paper small version poster

Beyond Paper: Treasures and Curiosities from the Gilmore Archives

The Gilmore Music Library is home to numerous important archival collections, manuscripts, and rare books, but our new exhibit, Beyond Paper: Treasures and Curiosities from the Gilmore Archives, 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. Beyond Paper is free and open to the public. It will be on display at the Gilmore Music Library through May 31. Read more here...


Franz Liszt: Transcending  the Virtuosic

Franz Liszt : Transcending the Virtuosic

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. View exhibit...


histories of music thumbnail poster

The scholarly study of music history is a surprisingly recent innovation, one that is explored in Histories of Music, a new exhibit at the Gilmore Music Library. 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.

Read the introduction by our archivist Richard Boursy


schumannwhite spacerVisit the Online Exhibit On June 8, the Gilmore Music Library celebrated Robert Schumann’s 200th birthday with the installation of an exhibit entitled 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 (1819–1896), Robert’s wife, was one of the greatest pianists of the century, and a notable composer as well. The exhibit includes two music manuscripts by Robert (sketches for the Etudes Symphoniques, Op. 13, and the song “Resignation,” Op. 83, no. 1) and one by Clara (a set of four piano exercises, hitherto unknown to scholars) as well as five letters (three by Robert and two by Clara). Published works on display include Robert’s two most famous reviews, along with a variety of early printed editions and engravings. Schumann’s influence did not end with his death, so our exhibit also features the manuscript of a piano piece by Brahms (the Capriccio, Op. 76, no. 1), given 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. The exhibit will remain on view through August.


chopin portrait

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

In 1831, Robert Schumann published his very first review, in the form of an imaginary conversation about a recent composition by Frédéric Chopin. Both Schumann and Chopin were scarcely out of their teens, and neither was yet widely known. Recognizing the exceptional qualities of Chopin’s music, Schumann had one of his fictitious characters introduce it by walking in the door and uttering the unforgettable words, “Hats off, gentlemen—a genius!”

Visit the Online Exhibit Here



choral music exhibition thumbnail pictureChoral Music in the United States:
Treasures from the Archives

November-December 2009
The Irving S. Gilmore Music Library in
Sterling Memorial Library
120 High Street Yale University

Find out more here



goodman portraitBenny Goodman: A Century of Swing
 [see a detailed description here]

Gilmore Music Library, Fall 2009, FREE Admission

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 Whiffenpoofs, Summer 2009

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 from May to August, 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. We are grateful to Whiff alumnus Barry McMurtrey '86, who prepared this exhibit for us. The exhibit is currently adjacent to the nave in Sterling Memorial Library.



A Renaissance Man Among the Romantics: Felix Mendelssohn at 200
[visit online]

January-February 2009

            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 ominpresent "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. Visit the online exhibition.



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.



Exhibit: How to Play: Instrumental Treatises, Instructors, and Self-Instructors from Six Centuries. Summer 2007. 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 in time from Vincenzo Galilei's Fronimo of 1584 to Jusquin Turenne Des Pres' First Bass of 2005.



Jazz at Yale, Fall-Winter, 2006-2007. 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:  A History of Chime and Carillon Music at Yale, May-July, 2006.



Cycles in Science and Cycles in Music, by Lloyd Ackert, April-May, 2006.  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.  Ackert is the Yale Special Collections Humanities Fellow.



Treasures from the Special Collections of the Music Library and the American Musical Theatre Collection, August-September, 2005.  A sampling of music manuscripts and editions, photographs, and realia aimed to please many tastes in music.



John Kirkpatrick: A Century of American Music, March-May, 2005.  Documents 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, October 2004-March 2005.  Notable theoretical treatises and works spanning the fifteenth through twentieth centuries.



Before They Were Famous, May-October, 2004.  Baby pictures (and a quiz) from a variety of collections.



Vladimir Horowitz: Pianist of the Century, February-May, 2004.  Celebrating the centennial of Horowitz's birth with documents from the Vladmir and Wanda Toscanini Horowitz Papers.



Musicians and Their Pets, curated by Julie Niemeyer, online as of June 2003.  The exhibit draws materials from eleven of the library's archival collections.  Its goal is to provide a glimpse into the personal lives of some of the worlds's greatest musicians and their devoted four-footed companions. The exhibit was on display during the Fall Term of 2002.


Past Events

April 21, 2007. Remembering David Kraehenbuehl: A One-Day Conference
A series of speeches, an oral history, and a piano master class were among the events that addressed David Kraehenbuehl's (1923-1997) contributions as a composer, a music educator, and a music theorist. The conference finale was a performance of Kraehenbuehl's rarely heard masterpiece Drumfire for chorus and orchestra. The conference was sponsored by the Irving S. Gilmore Music Library and the David Kraehenbuehl Society, with additional support provided by the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the Yale School of Music, the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, and the Neighborhood Music School. More information: PDF, html.

July 25-27, 2003. Annual Meeting of the Historic Brass Society Concerts and scholarly papers from the world of historical brass instruments and performance.

April 7, 2003:  The descendants of Gustave Langenus presented his archives to the library. Langenus was one of the most famous clarinet players and teachers of the twentieth century.  The program included presentations about Langenus by scholars, former students, and family members, as well as musical selections performed by Yale clarinet faculty and students.

April 12-13, 2003:  A conference celebrating Jewish Music at Yale included performances by Brave Old World, Antares, and Yale music students; papers dealing with Jewish theater music, sacred music, and celebration and community; and an exhibit of music from the Wallersteiner Collection in the Music Library (on display in Sterling Memorial Library).  For more information, please see the conference website.