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ARSC Awards for Lifetime Achievement & Distinguished Service to Historical Recordings

ARSC annually presents a Lifetime Achievement Award to an individual in recognition of a life's work in recorded sound research and publication. The Award for Distinguished Service to Historical Recordings honors a person who has made outstanding contributions to the field, outside of published works or discographic research.

2017 Awards

[ Lifetime Achievement Award - Walter Bruyninckx ]

The Awards committee recognizes Mr. Bruyninckx for his long-standing commitment to jazz discography; his is the longest running comprehensive jazz discography project to date. His 70 Years of Recorded Jazz, 1917-1987, published in 1990 consists of 35 genre-specific volumes covering everything from jazz vocalists to progressive jazz; and his latest CD-Rom, published in 2010, expands coverage to 93 years of recorded jazz and blues.

[ Award for Distinguished Service to Historical Recordings - Seth Winner ]

Mr. Winner is a preeminent practitioner of audio restoration and conservation, for both institutions, the commercial recording industry and private clients, and his 27 years on the preservation staff of the Rogers and Hammerstein Archives of the New York Public Library. He has furthered the art of audio restoration through his technical skill and readiness to employ the latest developments in digital audio processing. He has done original disc transfers and restorations for Sony Classical, Legacy (Robert Johnson Vocalions), Pearl, BMG, and Universal Music Group.

[ Special Recognition - Barry Ashpole ]

The ARSC Board of Directors this year recognized Barry Ashpole, long-time editor of the ARSC Journal, for his years of dedication and commitment to producing the journal, which, under his leadership, has grown into a widely recognized, peer-reviewed academic journal.

2016 Awards

[ Lifetime Achievement Award - Dietrich Schüller ]

Mr. Schüller's publications and presentations in the 1980s and 90s anticipated and helped create the preservation paradigm shift in our field from preserving the recorded sound carrier to preserving the content through digitization and migration. His vision, as presented at the Joint Technical Symposium in 1990 for example, was quite controversial at the time. Today, nearly everyone is pursuing the strategies he outlined back then. He has recently retired as Director of the Vienna Phonogrammarchiv.

Brief career summary:
Anthropologist and audiovisual preservation specialist 1972-2008 Director of the Vienna Phonogrammarchiv, the world's oldest sound archive 1975-1987 International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives (IASA) Board member Founded IASA Technical Committee 1975 Works for UNESCO, specifically the Memory of The World Programme Consultant to many audiovisual archives worldwide Author and editor of numerous publications on audiovisual preservation Organiser of and tutor in audiovisual preservation workshops

[ Award for Distinguished Service to Historical Recordings - Dean Blackwood ]

Co-founder, with John Fahey, of Revenant Records in 1996, a label dedicated to releasing "raw musics" in a variety of genres. Dubbed by Rolling Stone "the Weirdest, Coolest Reissue Label in the World," Revenant's selective but excellent program of reissues includes the seven-volume collection Charlie Patton, Screamin' and Hollerin' The Blues (2001), Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music, volume 4 (2000), American Primitive, volume 1: Raw Pre-War Gospel (1997), American Primitive Volume 2: Pre-War Revenants (2005), unreleased and early tracks by Dock Boggs, Captain Beefheart, Albert Ayler, and Cecil Taylor, as well as the recent collaborations with Third Man Records, The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records, volumes 1 (2013) and 2 (2014).

2015 Awards

[ Lifetime Achievement Award - Tony Russell ]

The 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Tony Russell. Mr. Russell is without question among the most significant scholars of early country, old-time, blues, and jazz music recordings. He has written several groundbreaking books and numerous influential articles on American music; he has also edited some important American music-related periodicals, including Old-Time Music (which he founded).

His books include Blacks, Whites and Blues (1970; reprinted 2001), The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray (1997; 2nd ed., 2000), Country Music Records: A Discography, 1921-1942 (2004), The Penguin Guide to Blues on CD (2006), and Country Music Originals: The Legends and the Lost (2007). He received the ARSC Award for Best Research in Recorded Country Music in 2005 and 2008. He has contributed articles to the Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World, The Faber Companion to Twentieth-Century Popular Music, and other encyclopedias. From 1971 to 1989 he edited and contributed prolifically to the journal Old Time Music, which he founded. He regularly writes obituaries of American musicians for The Guardian and has written for other newspapers; he has also written articles and reviews for a wide range of periodicals, including Jazz Monthly, Jazz Journal International, Jazz Review, Blues Unlimited, Juke Blues, The Blues Magazine, Mojo, Folk Roots, Country Music International, Maverick, and The Old-Time Herald. The author of liner notes for dozens of LPs and CDs, he received a Grammy nomination in 2011 for Best Album Notes for his co-authorship of the book accompanying the 5-CD boxed set The Bristol Sessions, 1927-1928: The Big Bang Of Country Music (Bear Family Records). In 2013 he co-authored the book for The Johnson City Sessions, 1928-1929: Can You Sing Or Play Old-Time Music?, a 4-CD boxed set for Bear Family Records.

Russell’s extensive work in broadcast media includes presenting music programmes and series for BBC Radio 2, 3, 4, and World Service, the British Forces Broadcasting Service, and Jazz FM. He has been a consultant on television series such as The Friendly Invasion (BBC2), Blues Night (BBC2), Chase The Devil (Channel 4, 1982), Chasin’ Rainbows (Channel 4, 1985), The A to Z of C&W (Channel 4, 1986), Folk America (BBC4, 2009), and Blues America (BBC4, in production).

[ Award for Distinguished Service to Historical Recordings - Marcos Lacerda ]

The 2015 ARSC Distinguished Service Award was presented to Marcos Lacerda. Dr. Lacerda has been working to promote the release of field recordings for some decades. He is responsible for the Smithsonian release of his field recordings, Yoruba drums from Benin (1996) that was followed by another production by FUNARTE about his field research in Benin, Africa; he is also the author of Kultische Trommelmusik der Yoruba in der Volksrepublik Benin : Bata-Sango und Bata-Egungun in den Städten Pobè und Sakété (1988). As coordinator of a studio at The University of Sao Paulo, he has designed and produced a CDs about Brazilian Contemporary and Historical Music, striving against all sorts of difficulties in a country that is far from valuing the importance of its rich tradition. One of the most important is his rescue of Mario de Andrade's Mission - an expedition throughout the country organized in 1938 that resulted in 33 hours of sound recording of ethnic music.

2014 Awards

[ Lifetime Achievement Award - Larry Lustig ]

The 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Larry Lustig at a banquet during ARSCs national convention in Chapel Hill, NC. For more than 20 years Larry Lustig has devoted himself to the furtherance of higher quality, more comprehensive discographies and making fine reissues of important vocal art available to collectors.

The Record Collector magazine was founded as a monthly issue in England in May 1946 by James F. E. Dennis and Ronald Phillips. Larry Lustig took over in 1990 and quickly made major improvements in the quality and timeliness of the magazine, converting it to a substantially larger quarterly journal the following year. Larry has encouraged and imposed the highest standards of scholarship on the content of The Record Collector and it has become the major source of information on the artists it includes. He frequently includes the results of his own research in the biographical and discographic data on featured artists. Starting with annual Volume 37 (1992) he has published a series of yearly CDs containing recordings made by the singers featured in that year's issues. These have included rare and even previously unpublished, selections. He has also compiled and published more than a half dozen issues devoted to notable individual singers-e.g., the Tagliavin i V-discs and early Cetras, Frieda Leider, Gianina Russ-or topics-"A Toast to Tosti," "Great Heroic French Tenors" He is currently preparing a 4-CD collection called " "A New Golden Age of Forgotten Tenors in Italy, 1940-1955."

[ Award for Distinguished Service to Historical Recordings - Mark Obert-Thorn ]

The 2014 ARSC Distinguished Service Award was presented to Mark Obert-Thorn, a producer and audio restoration engineer specializing in reissues of 78 rpm classical recordings with nearly 600 releases to his credit over the past 25 years. Obert-Thorn began making transfers for a college radio program in 1974, an activity he continued in a series he created and co-hosted for Philadelphia's National Public Radio affiliate, WHYY, from 1982 through 1984. He started producing audio restorations on a professional basis in 1988, initially for the Pearl label. Within three years, two of his releases had been named as Gramophone Award finalists.

In 1998, he was chosen by the Philadelphia Orchestra to be the Artistic Consultant for its 12-CD Centennial Collection. In the same year, he suggested to Klaus Heymann that Naxos start a budget-priced line of historical recordings transferred from 78s, and went on to produce over 300 CDs for the highly successful and critically-acclaimed Naxos Historical series. He also produced many reissues for Biddulph, Romophone, Music & Arts and APR, and his work has appeared on RCA Red Seal and Deutsche Grammophon. Currently, he produces one to two releases per month for Pristine Classical in addition to projects for other labels.

In 2008, Obert-Thorn was awarded a certificate of special merit by the Association of German Record Critics (Deutschen Schallplatenkritik) for his lifetime achievements in the field of audio restoration. His work has been praised for its attention to detail and its judicious balance between extracting the maximum amount of musical signal while keeping noise reduction to the minimum necessary for the enjoyment of the performance.

2013 Awards

[ Lifetime Achievement Award - Allan Sutton ]

The 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Allan Sutton. Almost every member of ARSC is familiar with the contributions made by Allan Sutton, the publisher and owner of Mainspring Press. He has done as much, or more, than any member of ARSC, past or present, to further people's knowledge of the history of the phonograph, discography, and just about any aspect of recorded sound in the cylinder and 78 RPM era.

Many of his authors have strong ties to ARSC, several have won ARSC awards for the books that he has published, and he is passionate about producing accurate and worthwhile volumes that illuminate the many and varied dimensions of the history of recorded sound.

Mr. Sutton is also a prolific writer himself, and several of the books that he authored have won ARSC awards.

[ Award for Distinguished Service to Historical Recordings - Steven Lasker ]

The 2013 ARSC Distinguished Service Award was presented to Steven Lasker. Steven is a restoration engineer and jazz scholar specializing in jazz recordings on 78 rpm discs, and particularly on the recorded works of Duke Ellington. He is an active member of the Duke Ellington Music Society, and has written about Ellington recordings, Ivie Anderson, and Okeh 78s. A major collector, reissue producer and recording engineer specializing in digital transfer from 78s, he is has written liner notes for a number of reissue anthologies, including Early Ellington: The Complete Brunswick and Vocalion Recordings of Duke Ellington, 1926-1931 (Decca, 1994); Billie Holiday, The Complete Original American Decca Recordings (Decca, 1991); and RCA Victor Jazz: The First Half Century. He also has an extensive record as a reissue producer. His works include Muddy Waters, The Complete Plantation Recording (Chess 1993); and The Duke Ellington Centennial Edition -- The Complete RCA Victor Recordings (1927-1973), which won a Grammy for Best Historical Sound Recording in 1999.

2012 Awards

[ Lifetime Achievement Award - Ronald Dethlefson ]

The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented annually to an individual in recognition of his or her life’s work in published recorded sound research.  The 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Ronald Dethlefson. Ron is Professor Emeritus of Communication at Bakersfield College in California. He has collected early records and phonographs since 1953 and has written about Edison records and phonographs since 1980. Since 1999 he has collaborated with George Copeland, a scholarly collector of popular and operatic recordings living in St. Louis. Ron Dethlefson also writes a monthly column for In the Groove, a publication of the Michigan Antique Phonograph Society. Since 1980, he has been a consultant and volunteer at The Henry Ford in Dearborn Michigan. Dethlefson's major publications include Edison Blue Amberol Recordings (APM Press, 1980); Edison Blue Amberol Recordings: 1912-1914: American popular series, "live" recordings and selected recordings 1915-1928 (APM Press, 1980); Edison Blue Amberol Recordings 1912-1914: Companion edition, with Michael Buchak (Stationery X-Press, 1997); Edison Blue Amberol Recordings Volume 2(1915-1929) (APM Press, 1981); Pathe Records and Phonographs in America, 1914-1922 (Mulholland Press, 1999), with George A. Copeland and Peter J. Fraser, as well as Edison, Lambert Concert Records & Columbia Grand Records and related phonographs (Mulholland Press, 2004), also with George Copeland, and co-authored with Ray Wile; Edison Disc Artists & Records, 1910-1929 (APM Press, 1985).

[ Award for Distinguished Service to Historical Recordings - Richard Weize ]

The 2012 ARSC Distinguished Service Award was presented to Richard Weize. founder and CEO of Bear Family Records, probably the most important reissue label in the world for roots-oriented music. Richard began collecting records in 1956, with the purchase of Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock." In the fifties he was fascinated by rock 'n' roll, but from 1960 on his interest shifted to country music. In the early 1970s, he started the Folk Variety label and started booking folk acts into German clubs.

Bear Family Records was launched in 1975. This first venture into leasing vintage masters and repackaging came in 1978 when he licensed "The Unissued Johnny Cash." As a parallel venture, Bear Family mail order was started. Richard never looked to make money from Bear Family Records. As a result of this non-commercial orientation, Bear Family was in a position to postpone a release until Richard was completely satisfied with the quality. The emphasis for Richard has always been on quality. Bear Family licenses the masters from the copyright holders and doesn't take advantage of the current copyright laws that enable old masters to be issued without payment after a certain number of years. Bear Family takes special pride in its boxed sets. Some are complete career retrospectives, while others are complete within certain time periods.

Richard calls his work a passion, an obsession. He works sixteen hours a day, seven days a week. Love of music is his primary motivation. He wants to make sure that the old music is not forgotten.

2011 Awards

[ Lifetime Achievement Award - Michael Gray ]

The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented annually to an individual in recognition of his or her life’s work in published recorded sound research.  The 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Michael Gray. Gray has worked at the Voice of America in Washington since 1976 where he directs the VOA’s Research Library and Digital Audio Archive projects. He has served as a consultant and resource for countless historical reissues, and is the author of numerous articles and reviews, including several published in the ARSC Journal: “The Birth of Decca stereo” (1986); “The Hollywood String Quartet: A Discography” (1982); “A Solomon Discography” (1979); “The ‘World's Greatest Music’ and ‘The World's Greatest Opera’ Records: A Discography” (1976). Books include: Classical music, 1925-1975 (1977) and Bibliography of discographies (co-authored with Gerald Gibson- annual cumulations published in the ARSC Journal); Bibliography of discographies vol. 3: Popular Music (1983); Beecham: a centenary discography (1979); Full frequency stereophonic sound : a discography and history of early London/Decca stereo classical instrumental and chamber music recordings (1956-1963) on records and compact discs (1990- with Robert Moon); Otto Klemperer: His Life and Times, by Peter Heyworth, with discography by Michael Gray (2 volumes: Cambridge University Press, 1996) He is also one of the earliest members of ARSC and remains one of its most indefatigable servants and advocates.

[ Award for Distinguished Service to Historical Recordings - Judith McCulloh ]

The 2011 ARSC Distinguished Service Award was presented to Judith McCulloh. After an instructor at her junior college introduced her to American folk music, Judith McCulloh went on to complete a Ph.D in folklore at Indiana University. She spent over thirty five years at the University of Illinois Press where her most recent positions included Executive Editor, Assistant Director, and Director of Development. Judith was largely responsible for developing the influential series Music in American Life, which now contains well over a hundred titles and has garnered more than a dozen ASCAP awards. Focusing on figures from Jimmie Rodgers to Duke Ellington to Tito Puente, and on genres from classical to klezmer to country, the books shed light on myriad facets of American music. McCulloh was founding member of the University of Illinois Campus Folksong Club, and played a central role in working with performers and producing albums of local and visiting performers. She is also a former president of the American Folklore Society and served on the Board of Trustees of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Her publications include Stars of country music: Uncle Dave Macon to Johnny Rodriguez (1975) and Folklore, folklife (1984).

2010 Awards

[ Lifetime Achievement Award - John Bolig ]

The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented annually to an individual in recognition of his or her life’s work in published recorded sound research.  The 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to John Bolig. John is the author of two discographies of Enrico Caruso and a series of discographies (six to date) outlining releases by the Victor Talking Machine Company. His books are the result of collecting, research conducted in Victor's archives for more than fifty years, consultation of Victor catalogs, and correspondence with fellow collectors and discographers. They provide comprehensive documentation of Victor's early output, including recordings dates, dates when recordings were first released and then deleted from catalogs, and uses of masters on subsequent Victor 78s and HMV releases. John's publications are of consistently high quality. He is renowned for his thorough research, strict adherence to that which can be documented in print and archival sources, and his generosity to other researchers and discographers.  His bibliography includes:The Recordings of Enrico Caruso: A discography (1973), Caruso Records: A History and Discography (2002), The Victor Red Seal Discography (2004), The Victor discography: green, blue, and purple labels (1910-1926) (2006), Gems : the Victor Light Opera Company discography (1909-1930) (2005), The Victor Black Label Discography : 16000-17000 Series (2007), The Victor Black Label Discography : 18000-19000 series (2008).

[ Award for Distinguished Service to Historical Recordings - Steve Smolian ]

The Award for Distinguished Service to Historic Recordings is presented annually to an individual who has made contributions of outstanding significance to the field of historic recordings in forms other than published works or discographic research. The 2010 ARSC Distinguished Service Award was presented to Steve Smolian.  Steve has been a leading expert on audio preservation, restoration, and consulting for over 40 years, serving major institutions, smaller archives, and the public at large.   He has successfully completed substantial restoration projects for major musical aggregations- the New York Philharmonic and the Chicago Symphony Orchestras- and organizations emphasizing the spoken word- the George Meany Memorial Archives, the Maryknoll Mission Archives and the American Jewish Archives. Recently he has performed preservation-related services for the Library of Congress, the National Archives Advisory Committee on Preservation (including consultation on the Nixon White House tapes), the Department of Justice and the Smithsonian Institution, as well as two of the Presidential Libraries.  He has done appraisal work for the Library of Congress, Harvard University, and Columbia University.  Steve is also involved with NPR’s Lost and Found Sound, restoring materials submitted by Quest for Sound callers.  Steve is a long time member of ARSC, and serves on AAA committee and the Copyright and Fair Use committee, among other activities.

2009 Awards

[ Lifetime Achievement Award - Cristóbal Díaz-Ayala ]

Cristóbal Díaz-Ayala was born and educated in Havana, where he received degrees in journalism, the social sciences, and law. He joined the flood of émigrés from there, in 1961.

His lifelong love of the music of his birthplace led him to study and publish works on the history of Cuban music styles, their presentation on stage, radio, and other media, and their appearance on historical sound recordings from 1905 (the earliest known) to the present day. He has written several books, including San Juan – New York: Discografía de la música puertorriqueña 1900 – 1942, published this year.

In 1994, Díaz-Ayala received the ARSC Award for Best Research in Recorded Folk or Ethnic Music, for his book-length Discografía de la Música Cubana.

Díaz-Ayala was producer and host for CUBANACÁN, a long-running syndicated radio series.

He became well known for assembling a major collection of sound recordings, sheet music, and other ephemera that now resides at Florida International University in Miami.

[ Award for Distinguished Service to Historical Recordings - Ward Marston ]

In 1979, Ward Marston put himself on the map as one of the world’s leading transfer engineers with his restoration of the experimental Bell Laboratories Wide Range and Stereophonic recordings of Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra, made in 1931 and 1932. Audiophiles and music lovers alike were stunned by the remarkable recorded sound Marston was able to extract from the Bell recordings. The painstaking manual synchronization of the dual-band stereophonic recordings would be typical of the care and attention to detail that Marston would bring to so many future projects.

Since that time, Marston’s work has appeared on the labels of many major record companies. His 11-CD collection devoted to the Victor recordings of Fritz Kreisler, released in 1995, received a Grammy nomination for Best Historical Album. Marston’s other significant historical projects were: the Franklin Mint Toscanini Collection, BMG’s 10-CD Complete Rachmaninoff, the 12-CD Philadelphia Orchestra Centennial Collection, the complete recordings of Josef Hofmann, and the complete recordings of Caruso for the Pearl and Naxos labels.

In 1997, he formed his own record label, Marston, concentrating on the reissue of recordings by performers neglected by the major record companies, including an ongoing series devoted to the acoustically recorded, complete operas on Pathé. His most recent achievements on his own label include the Julius Block collection, a three-CD collection of rare, privately-made cylinder recordings featuring some of the most important musical personalities of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The success of Marston’s work over the past 30 years is a result of a rare combination of musical knowledge and sensitivity, together with technical skill.

2008 Awards

[ Lifetime Achievement Award - Jerry Weber ]

Jerome WeberARSC annually presents a Lifetime Achievement Award to an individual, in recognition of a life's work in recorded sound research and publication.

Jerome F. Weber (better known to his ARSC colleagues as Jerry) is recognized for the depth and breadth of his discographical research. He has spent much of his lifetime surveying many kinds of music.

Weber’s religious vocation gave him a logical entrée for examining a considerable body of recorded Gregorian Chant, culminating in 1990 with the publication of a definitive two-volume discography of this music.

Weber researched, compiled, and published a large series of discographies of music by various composers: Schubert Lieder (1970), Brahms Lieder (1970), Schumann Lieder (1971), Mahler (1971), Hugo Wolf (1975), and Schubert’s Great C Major Symphony, D.944 (2000), to name a few.

In addition to his published discographies, Weber has written articles on medieval music and been a reviewer of recordings for Fanfare, for many years. His pioneering studies on the “science” of discography—a scholarly approach to organizing data about recordings—have appeared in the ARSC Journal.

[ Award for Distinguished Service to Historical Recordings - Sam Brylawski ]

Sam BrylawskiARSC's Award for Distinguished Service to Historical Recordings honors a person who has made outstanding contributions to the field, outside of published works or discographic research.

Sam Brylawski has worked in nearly every aspect of recorded sound archiving, been involved in many significant library developments over the past thirty years, and served as a national leader in the field.

In the early 1970s, Brylawski began his career at the Library of Congress, as a transfer engineer. He became a reference librarian for recorded sound in 1980, and was promoted to Curator of Recorded Sound in the early 1990s. In 1996, he was chosen to head the re-formed Recorded Sound Section of the Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division—a position he held until his retirement in 2004.

Under Brylawski’s leadership, the Library acquired many important collections of commercial, non-commercial, and broadcast recordings, and—for the first time in the Recorded Sound Section—major manuscript collections. He devised efficient inventory and cataloging procedures, which resulted in the online SONIC database that indexes more than 200,000 recordings, including 90,000 radio broadcast recordings of the NBC network.

Brylawski worked on the passage of the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000 that established the National Recording Preservation Board, where he serves as advisor to the Library. In addition, he was on the executive team that planned the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center in Culpeper, Virginia.

After retiring from the Library, Brylawski was appointed Editor and Project Manager of the Encyclopedic Discography of Victor Recordings, by the University of California, Santa Barbara. As editor, he has brought this long-awaited project to fruition as a Web database. His goal for the future is a comprehensive database of all standard-groove discs.

Brylawski has served as ARSC Program Chair and ARSC President, and is a member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. He has authored articles and liner notes, and produced CDs and websites. He continues to work on national policy initiatives and lead the profession through his vast experience, wisdom, and humor.

2007 Awards

[ Lifetime Achievement Award - Alan Kelly ]

Alan KellyAlan Kelly is recognized as one of the world’s foremost discographers. He has dedicated the best part of fifty years to creating detailed discographies of the recordings produced by The Gramophone Company (whose main labels were His Master’s Voice and Zonophone), from its foundation in the United Kingdom in 1898 to its merger with the Columbia Graphophone Company to form Electric and Musical Industries (EMI) in 1931. Kelly worked for many years within the EMI Archives, copying out and then arranging material from the company ledgers to form discographies based on the language or geographical area, and on the technical origin of each record. To date he has completed the Russian, French, Italian and Dutch catalogues of The Gramophone Company, together with ten volumes of the HMV Matrix series. The sheer scale both of the Company’s activities and therefore of Kelly’s task only becomes clear when one surveys the vast amount of information in this colossal discography, preserved and disseminated by Kelly on CD-ROM.

[ Award for Distinguished Service to Historical Recordings - Gerald D. Gibson ]

Gerald D. GibsonGerald D. Gibson is recognized for his many curatorial, preservation, and research-related contributions to recorded sound. In successive positions at the Library of Congress as sound recording cataloger, Assistant Head of the Music Division Recorded Sound Section, Head of the Curatorial Section of the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division, and Preservation Specialist, Gibson made lasting contributions to recorded sound scholarship and preservation. He compiled bibliographies which remain essential reference works, devised housings and shelving for sound recordings which are still serve as models for the field, developed the sound recording and moving image collections of the Library of Congress to a quality appropriate to a national library, and worked to lay the foundations for digital preservation of sound recordings. Curatorial practices introduced under his tenures have become recognized as best practices in recorded sound conservation.

Gibson served as editor of the ARSC Journal, president of ARSC, president of the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives (IASA), and was a founding member of the ARSC Associated Audio Archives Committee, which created the Rigler and Deutsch Record Index, Rules for Cataloging of Sound Recordings, and Audio Preservation: A Planning Study.

2006 Awards

[ Lifetime Achievement Award - Allen Koenigsberg ]

Allen KoenigsbergThe Lifetime Achievement Award is presented annually to an individual in recognition of his or her life’s work in published recorded sound research. The 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Allen Koenigsberg for his pioneering work in documenting the first 50 years of recorded music. Koenigsberg was the founder, editor and publisher of The Antique Phonograph Monthly (1973-1993) and is the author of two books: Edison Cylinder Records, 1889-1912, which catalogs and dates over 10,000 songs and artists from the period; and The Patent History of the Phonograph, 1877-1912, which contains listings of 2,118 U.S. sound recording patents issued to 1,013 inventors and a detailed commentary on 101 of the most significant patents and designs. His articles for the The Antique Phonograph Monthly and other publications have been on subjects as varied as the 1889 introduction of the phonograph into Russia, Lambert cylinders (discography), the origin of the telephone greeting "hello," and debunking the phony "Walt Whitman cylinder.” He has also contributed generously to the works of many other authors, and has issued numerous reprints of early literature on phonograph machines and recordings.

[ Award for Distinguished Service to Historical Recordings - Franz Lechleitner ]

Franz LechleitnerThe Award for Distinguished Service to Historic Recordings is presented annually to an individual who has made contributions of outstanding significance to the field of historic recordings in forms other than published works or discographic research. The 2006 ARSC Distinguished Service Award was presented to Franz Lechleitner who, until his retirement in 2004, served as Chief Audio Engineer of the Vienna Phonogrammarchiv. During his 31 year tenure at the Phonogrammarchiv, he concentrated on the replay of the historical recordings of the Archive, amongst them the "Archiv-Phonogramme", a special Viennese development employing the vertical cylinder modulation on discs. The transfer routines devised by him form the basis of one of the major projects of the Vienna Phonogrammarchiv: the edition of the Complete Historical Collections 1899-1950 on CDs, begun on the 100th anniversary of the Archive in 1999.

Lechleitner has made a number of significant contributions to historic recordings, including: the development of playback techniques for the reproduction of historical sound carriers; the design and development of an archival cylinder playback machine; and the transfer of many important historical collections located in archives throughout Europe and Asia, including over 2000 instantaneously recorded cylinders. Lechleitner also served as a member of the Audio Engineering Society (AES) and its SC-03-02 standards subcommittee (preservation and restoration of audio recording/transfer technologies), has been a member of the IASA Technical Committee since 1977, and has published numerous technical documents and discographies. He remains active in the transfer of the historical holdings, and as a consultant to the Vienna Archive and beyond.

2005 Awards

Chris Strachwitz[ Lifetime Achievement Award - Chris Strachwitz ]

Chris Strachwitz achieved recognition this year for his pioneering work in researching traditional musics in the Americas. Strachwitz founded Arhoolie Records in 1960 and over the decades amassed a catalog containing hundreds of great sets, most of them produced by Chris himself. In 1995 he established the not-for-profit Arhoolie Foundation to preserve the rarest portions of his collection of commercial recordings, including the Frontera Collection of 30,000 plus Mexican and Mexican-American recordings, which is currently being cataloged and digitized for on-line display through the UCLA library system with financial assistance provided by the Los Tigres Del Norte Foundation.

[ Award for Distinguished Service to Historical Recordings - John R. T. Davies ]

John R. T. DaviesThe 2005 Distinguished Service Award was presented posthumously to John R. T. Davies (1927-2004) for his meticulous transfers of classic recordings of jazz and blues. Davies’ transfers of King Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, the great big bands of the 1920s and 1930s, and blues singers were universally applauded for presenting the music in the best possible sound. He worked for Doug Dobell’s 77 Records label, formed his own Ristic label, and was the driving force behind Retrieval records. His work also appeared on other small jazz labels including Frog, Hep, JSP, Timeless, Cygnet, and Jazz Oracle.

2004 Awards

Tim Brooks[ Lifetime Achievement Award - Tim Brooks ]

The winner of the 2004 Lifetime Achievement Award is Tim Brooks. Mr. Brooks currently serves as the Executive Vice President of Research at Lifetime Television. He is the author of the recently published Lost Sounds: Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry, 1890-1919 and co-author of the Columbia Master Book Discography, Volumes I-IV. Mr. Brooks has written many articles for the ARSC Journal, the New Amberola Graphic and other scholarly publications.

[ Award for Distinguished Service to Historical Recordings - Jack Towers ]

Jack Towers

The winner of the 2004 Distinguished Service Award is Jack Towers. Mr. Towers recorded the now-famous Duke [Ellington] at Fargo 1940 concert, which was released in 2000, in a special 60th anniversary CD edition. In 1941, Mr. Towers handled radio broadcasting at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He retired from federal service in 1974. Since then, he has used his skill in disc and tape recording, to restore historical recordings for many record producers including the Smithsonian Institution, Columbia Records, the Book of the Month, Musicraft and Delmark.

2003 Awards

[ Lifetime Achievement Award - Dick Spottswood ]

The Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing excellence in discographical research, was awarded to Dick
Spottswood. Spottswood describes himself as “an unreconstructed, unreformed collector who loves to learn
about music, and then write about it, if I think I can get away with it.” He holds degrees from the University of
Maryland (BA, 1960) and Catholic University (MS, Library Science, 1962), and is a founding member of ARSC. Dick has been writing about music and producing archival sets of foreign-language, country, folk, and blues recordings since 1963. He is the author of Ethnic Music on Records (7 vols., 1990), and co-author of Charlie Patton: Screamin’ and Hollerin’ the Blues (notes to Revenant CD set, 2001) and Country Music Sources: A Biblio-Discography of Commercially Recorded Traditional Music (2003), all of which received ARSC Awards for Excellence. Dick was also the founder of the journal Bluegrass Unlimited and since 1985 has been the producer/host of the Dick Spottswood
on WAMU radio. He continues to work on various CD and writing projects, including a forthcoming ten-CD set on the Bear Family label, Extraordinary Calypso: The Decca Trinidad Sessions, 1938-1940.

[ Award for Distinguished Service to Historical Recordings - David Hall ]

The new Distinguished Service to Historic Recordings Award, recognizing contributions of outstanding significance
to the field of historic recordings in forms other than publication or research, was presented to David Hall. David has been active in the area of sound recordings since 1940, in virtually every capacity the field offers aside from musical performance. Author of The Record Book (1st ed., 1940, with several successor publications), his subsequent career included positions as classical music program annotator for NBC, director of classical recordings for Mercury Records (1948-56, including producer of the “Olympian Series”), director of the music center of the Scandinavian-American Foundation, music editor of (and frequent contributor to) Stereo Review magazine, and president of Composers Recordings Inc. His services to historic recordings became most prominent beginning in 1967, when he became the first head of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound at the New York Public Library; there, he directed the long-term project leading to the 1985 publication of the complete edition of the Mapleson Cylinders. A founding member of ARSC, he was the first editor of its Journal, later President of the Association, and also a member of the Associated Audio Archives Committee. After his retirement from NYPL in 1983, he continued to serve as consultant to the R&H Archives, and also acted as chairman of NARAS committees concerned with the classical Grammy Awards.

2002 Award

[ Lifetime Achievement Award - Pekka Gronow ]

Pekka Gronow, the manager of the radio archives of the Finnish Broadcasting Company and an Adjunct Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of Helsinki, has been researching records and writing about them for almost 40 years. Dr. Gronow has published several books on music and recordings in Finnish, English, and other languages, including An International History of the Recording Industry (with Ilpo Saunio, 1998); produced numerous reissues of historical Finnish recordings; and has contributed to the ARSC Journal, IASA Journal, Ethnomusicology, JEMF Quarterly, and The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, among others. One of the founders of Suomen Äänitearkisto, the Finnish Institute of Recorded Sound, he has also supervised the publication of the 25-volume Catalogue of Finnish Recordings. Overall, Dr. Gronow's publications have been instrumental in documenting the history of Scandinavian recordings.

2001 Award

[ Lifetime Achievement Award - Leonard Kunstadt ]

Leonard Kunstadt was the founder and editor of Record Research magazine from 1955-1995. Many of his own articles and discographies on jazz and popular music were published in Record Research in the 1950s and 1960s, some co-authored with Bob Colton. He was also cited on a number of other articles as "coordinating" or "assisting" with the research. Though many of these are short, they include pioneering discographies or rollographies of early jazz and blues artists. Probably the most substantial of Kunstadt's publications are his discographies of the Black Swan label (Record Research, 1955-58) and Wilbur Sweatman (with Colton, The Discophile, 1955-57). He is also credited as co-author (with Sam Charters) of the notable book Jazz: A History of the New York Scene (1962), for which he did the research.

2000 Award

[ Lifetime Achievement Award - Charles Wolfe ]

A member of the English faculty of Middle Tennessee State University, Charles Wolfe has been writing about country music and artists and records for over twenty-five years. The author of more than 100 articles and liner notes and over fifteen books, Dr. Wolfe serves as editor of the Tennessee Folklore Society Quarterly and co-editor of Studies in Country Music. Among his liner notes, the following have been ARSC Award finalists: "Bill Monroe Blue Grass: 1959-1969" (1991, with Neil V. Rosenberg), "Lefty Fizzell: Life's Like Poetry" (1992), and "The Louvin Brothers" (1992). "I have piled up something over 1,000 interviews . . . the core of many of my books and liner notes and articles. It's not the most efficient way to do discographical research, but it is fascinating and I've gotten over the years to meet some wonderful people, and hear some great stories."

1999 Award

[ Lifetime Achievement Award - Colin Escott ]

"As I don't depend on writing for a living, I don't hesitate to write only about the subjects that interest me." So Colin Escott writes--extensively on Rock, Rhythm & Blues, Country Music, and much more. The author and co-author of over a dozen books and many more liner notes, Mr. Escott has published ground-breaking research on Sun Records, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Hank Williams, and others. ARSC has previously recognized his work with two Awards for Excellence in record research and discography, in 1991 and 1992. His most recent book is All Roads Lead to Rock: Legends of Early Rock 'n' Roll, A Bear Family Reader (Schirmer Books, 1999).

1998 ARSC Awards

Rainer Lotz[ Lifetime Achievement - Rainer E. Lotz ]

Among other occupations, Rainer E. Lotz is an economist, engineer, publisher, and university lecturer. Currently he works for the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development and is also the editor of the German National Discography. He has produced numerous recordings and written books (he is co-author of one of this year's award winners) and articles on ragtime, jazz, radio broadcasting, black history, and individual musicians. In response to this award, Dr. Lotz wrote (in part): "I can say by good rights that all my work was done after hours. Each single book, each single essay, each single record I have ever published have been a source of fun and pleasure for me. It is my firm intention to continue to pursue my interests--which are also ARSC's interests--for as long as possible. So consider this a warning: in my shelves and cupboards material is lurking still for at least another hundred ventures."

1997 ARSC Awards

[ Lifetime Achievement - Frank Andrews ]

Frank Andrews is an English collector and writer who, since the late 1960s, has written extensively about acoustic-era labels and general phonograph history, especially in the United Kingdom. Most of his work has been for the Hillandale News and The Talking Machine Review. He has authored more than 100 articles, including detailed, multi-part corporate histories of English labels including Aeolian-Vocalion, Edison Bell, Imperial, Zonophone, and Homophone, as well as many small independent and "store" labels of the early 1900s.

1996 ARSC Awards

[ Lifetime Achievement - Harold Barnes ]

Harold Barnes was an American music-and-opera lover who settled in Paris after World War 2, where he worked for many years for UNESCO. He is perhaps best known for the pioneering, authoritative discography Vertical Cut Cylinders and Discs, co-authored with Victor Girard (1964). Beginning in the 1940s he wrote--alone and with others--numerous singer discographies, many of which were published in Recorded Sound and The Record Collector. One of his last major projects was the 15-CD set "Singers of Imperial Russia" for Pearl Records. Mr. Barnes died in 1994; several discographies will be published posthumously.

1995 ARSC Awards

[ Lifetime Achievement - Michel Ruppli ]

Michel Ruppli is a retired electronics engineer living in the south of France, who has spent the last 25 years compiling some of the most detailed label discographies ever published in the field of postwar jazz and popular music; his discography of the Mercury label (with Ed Novitsky) was an award-winner in 1994. He has also published label and artist discographies in various jazz publications, including Jazz Hot. At the time of the award, Mr. Ruppli had just completed a 6,000-page discography of the Decca label (published in 1996 by Greenwood Press).

1994 ARSC Awards

[ Lifetime Achievement - William R. Moran ]

Classical discographer William R. Moran is the joint author (with the late Ted Fagan) of the on-going Encyclopedic Discography of Victor Recordings. A retired geologist, Mr. Moran is associate editor of the 42-volume reprint series Opera Biographies and has worked on numerous vocal reissue projects for RCA/BMG and others. He has written over thirty discographies and articles on operatic subjects for Recorded Sound, The Record Collector, the ARSC Journal, and others. Some of his discographies have appeared in recent books including this year's winner Adelina Patti: Queen of Hearts.

1993 ARSC Awards

[ Lifetime Achievement - Raymond R. Wile ]

Ray Wile, one of the world's best known researchers into the early history of the recording industry, is a retired professor at Queens College, New York. Since the 1950s, he has specialized in writing on early corporate history and the recording activities of Thomas A. Edison. He pioneered the use of long-ignored legal records and trial proceedings to trace tangled industry history. Mr. Wile is the author of several books on Edison's disc recordings and has contributed to such publications as Record Research, the ARSC Journal, The New Amberola Graphic, and The Talking Machine Review.

1992 ARSC Awards

[ Lifetime Achievement - Brian Rust ]

An author, radio lecturer, and recording historian, Brian Rust is one of the pioneers of discography. He has compiled numerous works on jazz, British and American dance bands, the English music hall, American record-label history, and the entertainment industry. His many books have been published both in the United States and his native Great Britain.

1991 ARSC Awards

[ Lifetime Achievement - Jim Walsh ]

Ulysses "Jim" Walsh was honored with the first Lifetime Achievement Award. Mr. Walsh, who died in December 1990, was a newspaper and radio writer who began writing about acoustic-era popular recording artists in the late 1920s, while most of his subjects were still alive. His insightful biographies, published in Hobbies magazine in a monthly column that ran from 1942 until 1985, have become a primary source for subsequent researchers. Walsh also contributed material on the early recording industry to Music Lovers' Guide, Variety, The New Yorker, The American Record Guide, and various books. He donated his extensive record collection and files to the Library of Congress.


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