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Preservation Grants Recipients (ARSC Grants Committee)

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The ARSC Grants Committee is pleased to announce the recipients of the Grants for Preservation of Classical Music Historical Recordings. The program for these grants was founded in 2004 by Al Schlachtmeyer and the ARSC Board of Directors, to encourage and support the preservation of historically significant sound recordings of Western Art Music by individuals and organizations.

2017 Grants


NoMus, a music research center in Milan, Italy devoted to study and preservation of 20th century music, has been awarded $10,000 for the digital preservation of audio recordings on circa 1500 audiocassettes of the Festivale Autunno Musicale at Como, Italy, containing performances and lectures from the festival from 1967-2010. During its existence the festival covered everything from Baroque music to the contemporary relationships between traditional and classical music. A catalog of the recordings will be available at along with selected musical examples.

University of Southern California Libraries

The USC Libraries have received a grant of $9900 for digital copying and preservation of 120 glass-core radio transcription recordings recorded for broadcast at USC between 1937-1949. Included are works by important American composers, including William Grant Still and Florence Price, and emigré composers Ernst Toth and Ingolf Dahl. The recordings will be cataloged and stored at the USC Digital Library and will be available on the website of the Digital Public Library of America to the extent that the copyright law allows.

2016 Grants

Interlochen Public Radio

Interlochen Public Radio has been awarded $9000 to hire an archival intern to assist with a project to digitize open-reel recordings of performances at the Interlochen Academy of the Arts. The tapes, recorded between 1954 and 1991, include performances by Van Cliburn, Claudette Sorel, William Doppmann and Janos Starker, and performances conducted by Frederick Fennell and Howard Hanson.  They include at least two American premieres of note: Bartok's "The Wooden Prince" and Sibelius's "The Captive Queen, Opus 48." The digital recordings made from the tapes will be available for broadcast over Interlochen Public Radio, and will be available to the public via streaming as copyright permits.

Professor Jordi Roquer Gonzalez (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain)

Professor Jordi Roquer Gonzalez of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain, has been awarded $2300 to support playback and recording of piano rolls recorded by Catalan composers Federico Mompou and Manuel Blancafort between 1914 and 1929. We often forget that piano rolls are an early and popular form of recording technology. Professor Roquer will use the award money to hire a pianolist and a recording engineer to produce recordings, which will eventually be available on the internet.

2015 Grant

National Library of Serbia

The National Library of Serbia receives $5500 for the digital preservation of cassette tape recordings of opera performances recorded by Professor Husnija Kurtovic between 1969 and 1989, chiefly at the National Theatre in Belgrade. The performances featured international stars, including Placido Domingo, Grace Bumbry, and Nicolai Gedda, but starred many more local and Eastern European performers, making the collection interesting as a potential source for studies in performance practice. As part of the grant agreement, the National Library will place the completed data files with ARSC, and at the Library of Congress and the British Library, guaranteeing widespread access.

2014 Grants

* 2014 grants are awarded in memory of long-time Grants Committee Chair, Richard Warren, Jr., in recognition of a special donation by his wife, Mary-Jo Warren.

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra receives $10,000 for the digital preservation of 32 reel-to-reel tapes from the Robert Shaw Years (1975-1986). Some of Shaw's signature choral performances are included, as well as recordings of several premieres and commissioned works, which may not have been recorded elsewhere.

Dr. Jorge Antunes

Dr. Jorge Antunes, retired professor at the University of Brasilia, has been awarded $7800 to conserve and digitize nine reels of paper tape and wire recordings dating from 1940 to 1950 that contain lectures and music by Brazilian composer Hector Villa-Lobos. A wire recording contains two pieces for guitar by Villa-Lobos, for which the scores have been lost. The project will include their reconstruction and publication. The original recordings will be housed at the Brazilian Society for Electroacoustic Music, after the project is completed.

Carol Seymour and David Drazin

Carol Seymour and David Drazin receive $800 to make digital copies of privately recorded instantaneous discs of performances by pianist Jerold Frederic. CD copies will be distributed to several interested music libraries.

2013 Grant

Los Angeles Philharmonic Archives

$10,000 to support digital transfer, storage and management of 47 reel-to-reel tapes of live concert recordings from 1970-1971 produced by Pacifica Radio station KPFK in Los Angeles and broadcast by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The KPFK Collection also includes interviews with participating conductors, musicians, composers and others conducted by musicologist and composer William Malloch, who introduced the broadcasts. Interviewees include, among others, Zubin Mehta, Carlo Maria Giulini, Nicolas Slonimsky, Vladimir Ashkanazy, Lukas Foss, Benjamin Britten, and Alma Mahler.

The recordings will be made available to researchers in the LA Philharmonic Archives, and clips will eventually be included on the LA Philharmonic's website at

2012 Grants

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

$10,000, to support a pilot audio preservation project to digitize a selection of the Orchestra's historical audio recordings, which date from 1971 to the present, based on findings from an A. W. Mellon grant project to inventory and survey its archival holdings and to develop policies and priorities to deal with this archive. Most of the recordings were made after the Orchestra moved to Heinz Hall and include about 2500 tapes of various types, containing rehearsals and concerts, including notable premieres of scores by J. Harbison, K. Penderecki, A. Previn, and C. Theofandis.

Longy School of Music, Cambridge, MA

A grant of $10,000, to assist in funding the School's preject for digital preservation transfer of recordings of classical music performances by Longy School of Music faculty, including Roman Totenberg & Irma Rogell, and important guest performers: Arhtur Balsam, Anner Bylsma, D'Anna Fortunato, Claude Frank, Lillian Kallir, Anthony Newman, Virginia Pleasants, Jaap Schroder, and Daniel Stepner.

2011 Grant

Minnesota Orchestra

A grant of $10,000 for the Minnesota Orchestra to assist in funding Phase I of the project to preserve the Minnesota Orchestra broadcast archive by digitizing selections from the early concerts (given in the 1970's and 1980's) in the collection, in conjunction with Minnesota Public Radio, which made most of the original recordings. These recordings, because they were done on reel or DAT tapes, are at particular risk. They include first performances of works by such composers as John Corigliano, Norman Dello Joio, Paul Hindemith, & Alan Hovhaness and were conducted by Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Edo De Waart, & Leonard Slatkin. Soloists include André Watts & Jean-Pierre Rampal.

2010 Grants

Columbia University Libraries

A grant of $5000 for the Columbia University Libraries, to assist in preserving and making accessible unique recordings selected from those in the Composers Forum Collection, which includes over 600 hours on reel-to-reel tape recorded at concerts between 1952 and 1968 in Columbia University's McMillan Theater (now Miller Theater) and at the New York Public Library's Donnell Library. These concerts were designed particularly to support young and adventurous composers and included works by William Bolcolm, George Edwards, John Harbison, Lejaren Hiller, and Otto Luening. The recordings include question-and-answer periods moderated by Virgil Thomson, Milton Babbitt, Otto Luening, and others.

H. W. Marston and Company

A grant of $5000 for H. W. Marston and Company to assist with the first stage of The Bell Telephone Laboratories Project: to preserve the recordings as "flat transfers" in digital format of their earliest Hi-Fi and Stereo recordings: 1931 - 1932. The materials include discs of  the first "live" recordings of the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Leopold Stokowski at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia, as well as recordings made at the Riverside Church (organ and carillon), Princeton University (organ), and the Roxy Theater in New York. The preservation copies will later be edited in a format suitable for distribution to appropriate sound archives and for publication of the best and most important examples on CD.

2009 Grants

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra Archives Audio Preservation Project has been awarded a grant of $10,000 to assist in preserving, re-housing, and helping to make accessible to scholars and members of the public the historical recordings of the orchestra, in conjunction with in-kind contributions from the Symphony and its Annual Fund, Save America’s Treasures, and the National Historic Publications and Records Commission. The project will begin with audiotape recordings of broadcasts made in the 1950's and in danger of deterioration because of age and former storage conditions. The collection includes many performances which involved African-American composers and performers and which document the work of Music Directors Paul Paray, Sixten Ehrling, and Antal Dorati. The project forms part of the strategic plan of the orchestra’s new Music Director Leonard Slatkin.

2008 Grants

The Cleveland Orchestra

The Cleveland Orchestra has been awarded a grant of $10,000 for the orchestra's Archival Restoration Project, to help preserve the current sound archives of the orchestra: recordings of the Cleveland Orchestra subscription concerts from 1965 through the present. These include the last five years of George Szell's tenure as Music Director, the periods of leadership of Pierre Boulez, Lorin Maazel, Christoph von Dohnányi, and the present director, Franz Welser-Most, as well as such guest conductors as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Sir Colin Davis, Antal Dorati, Rafael Kubelik, Yehudi Menuhin, André Previn, Leopold Stokowski, Klaus Tennstedt, and others.

2007 Grants

The Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester

The Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester was awarded $9,593 to defray part of the cost of transferring 1,246 reels of ProDigital X-86 tape, recorded at the school between 1990 and 1998. The recordings, made on an obsolete reel-to-reel format, need to be transferred to viable digital storage before the school's equipment fails. The tapes, part of the Eastman Audio Archive, carry performances of the widest appeal and research applicability, and include ESM student ensembles, important guests, premieres of 34 works, and special events focusing on contemporary music and music of women composers.

National Public Radio

National Public Radio was awarded $10,000 to cover about 14 percent of the cost of its Studio 4A Performance Preservation Project, which will digitize and preserve 250 master-session DAT tapes determined to have important cultural and historical content. The Studio 4A classical recordings of interviews and performances by emerging and established artists are primarily from the program "Performance Today." These tapes are master recordings and the only copies in existence. The transfers will be stored in NPR's new content-management system.

2006 Grants

The Boston Symphony Orchestra

The Boston Symphony Orchestra was awarded a grant of $10,000 to preserve and make accessible the earliest recordings from the Boston Symphony Orchestra's Festival of Contemporary Music, an annual series of six to eight concerts performed by pre-professional musicians who were the Fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center, at Tanglewood, the orchestra's Summer music festival site in western Massachusetts. This project will preserve a total of 49 programs of the Festival of contemporary Music, spanning the years 1965 through 1981. This group of recordings comprises the earliest and the only known recordings of these concerts (which were not broadcast) known to exist.

H.W. Marston and Company

H.W. Marston and Company was awarded a grant of $7,000 to preserve, document, and disseminate the collection of recordings in the Julius Block Collection, made on Edison phonograph cylinders between 1891 and 1910 and thought to have been destroyed during World War II. Block was a German businessman who lived in St. Petersburg and who conceived of the phonograph as a device for music and the arts and a chronicler of history. He attracted influential musicians, poets, and actors to his home to see the machine and persuaded most of them to make recordings as well as to enter comments in his log, for example, Anton Arensky, Eddy Brown, Nicolai Figner, Jascha Heifetz, Josef Hofmann, Arthur Nikisch, Sergey Taneyev, Peter I. Tchaikovsky, and Count Leo Tolstoy. The recordings were found to reside in a museum in St. Petersburg.


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