Exploring treasures of the New York Philharmonic Archives

Posted on: April 24, 2018

“Imagine what you could find if you rummaged through the attic of America’s oldest orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, founded in 1842,” writes Michael Cooper in Monday’s (4/23) New York Times. “A Beethoven score, annotated decades apart by Mahler and Toscanini, two Philharmonic music directors who didn’t always see eye to eye. A flute part from the 1893 premiere of Dvorák’s ‘New World’ Symphony. A ‘Mahler Grooves’ bumper sticker that Leonard Bernstein put in his score of Mahler’s Sixth. For more than three decades, the Philharmonic’s rummager-in-chief has been Barbara Haws, its first archivist and historian. She has been a visionary, photographing its collection and making much of it available online as part of a digital archive that now has 1,789 marked scores, more than 13,880 programs and reams of historical board minutes and correspondence. She recently announced that she is retiring to pursue a doctorate at Oxford University, studying Ureli Corelli Hill, the Philharmonic’s founder.… As she prepared to leave, she chose 10 favorite treasures from the archive.” In addition to the above items, the article links to a 1926 film of the Philharmonic playing the Overture to Wagner’s Tannhäuser, which Haws describes as “the earliest moving image of an orchestra where you can hear them play.”

Posted April 24, 2018

Pictured: Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, marked by Mahler and Toscanini, from the New York Philharmonic Leon Levy Digital Archives