New York Philharmonic gets $2.4 million to digitize archives

Posted on: October 15, 2009

The New York Philharmonic has announced that it will receive $2.4 million from the Leon Levy Foundation to pay for the digitization of some 1.3 million pages from the orchestra’s archives. This will be phase one of a long-range project to digitize the orchestra’s entire archive, which contains approximately 8.5 million pages dating back to the ensemble’s founding in 1842. Beginning with Leonard Bernstein’s marked conducting scores, the orchestra will digitize documents and a small collection of audio and video files from what the organization calls its International Era, 1943 to 1970. The Bernstein scores will be available online to scholars, musicians, students, and the general public by spring, 2010, with the entire first phase scheduled for completion within three years. The Philharmonic’s archives include correspondence, business records, orchestral scores and parts, photographs, concert programs, newspaper clippings, and more than 7,000 hours of concert and broadcast recordings that date from the 1920s. The period from 1943 to 1970 encompasses the rise of the orchestra’s international reputation, the creation of Lincoln Center, increased government and foundation support for the arts, the impact of television, the first year-round musicians’ contract, and the inclusion of women in the orchestra’s ranks.

Photo of Leonard Bernstein courtesy of the New York Philharmonic Archives

Posted October 15