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Primary Sources for Music - Digital Collections: Programs, Notes, Photographs

Links to selected primary source materials for music, including manuscripts, scores, sound recordings, sheet music, and more.

Using Programs, Notes, and Photographs for Research:

Concert programs and their accompanying program notes can be valuable primary sources. The complete programs of a major symphony orchestra document the program history of individual works, offering us some insight into the creation of the historical cannon of music by which works are included or excluded. Program notes are often by well-known conductors, performers, or scholars, making them a valuable source of information. Photographs, newspaper clippings, and other ephemera give us a glimpse of music made in the past.

Digital Archives:

The New York Philharmonic Digital Archives - Funded by the Leon Levy Foundation and a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the New York Phil's Digital Archives currently contains more than 3.1 million pages of materials, including marked conductor's scores (including those of Bernstein and Kostelanetz), 3,236 concert programs, business documents, and photographs. When the project is complete, every document from the archives dating from 1842-1970 will be included, along with all public documents from 1971 to the present.

Boston Symphony Orchestra Digital Archive - The BSO Digital Archive contains 2,000 photographs from its permanent collection of 30,000 prints and negatives, as well as concert program books from Symphony Hall performances (1881-2011), BSO trip performances (1889-1975), and BSO Tanglewood Performances (1946-2010).

Carnegie Hall Digital Archives Project - Started in 2012, the Digital Archives Project makes photographs, program books, flyers, posters, and correspondence available to the public.