On Display: Celebrating Composers - Bartók, Beeson, and a Host of Others in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library
NEW YORK, October 25, 2013 –

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services’ Rare Book & Manuscript Library (RBML) is pleased to announce a major exhibition of selected items from the collections of composers held by the RBML, now on display in the Kempner Gallery through January 10, 2014. 


composer Photograph of Ulysses Kay by Mary Gail Walker, Brevard Music Center, Brevard, North Carolina, 1979, Ulysses Kay Papers, RBML

Composers featured in the exhibition include Columbia Music Department founder Edward MacDowell and members Daniel Gregory Mason, Douglas Moore, Jack Beeson, Vladimir Ussachevsky, and George Edwards. Other composers represented include George Antheil, Béla Bartók, Nicolai Berezowsky, Harry Lawrence Freeman, Ulysses Kay, Jerome Moross, Sid Ramin, Eda Rapoport, Edward Margetson, and Virgil Thomson. 

Materials on display include: Anton Seidl’s notebooks he kept for the first Ring productions at Bayreuth with cast lists, names of musicians, and stage directions; Harry Lawrence Freeman’s manuscripts for two of his major works, “The Martyr” and “Voodoo,” as well as his unpublished history of African-American music; Béla Bartók’s manuscript of his major work meticulously documenting the vocal and instrumental folk music of Rumania; and scores for two of Jerome Moross’s major musicals, “Broadway Ballads” and “The Golden Apple,” along with cast photographs, set designs, posters, and congratulatory telegrams from Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal, and Cole Porter. 

The exhibition will also include items from the recently acquired Sergei Prokofiev collection later in the year.   

"The RBML is thrilled to present the rich variety of resources available at Columbia that showcase the work of historically significant composers in opera, ballet, musicals, film, and commercial work,” said Jennifer B. Lee, RBML Performing Arts Curator.  

Also included in the display are: Ulysses Kay’s manuscript scores of “Danse Calinda,” the documentary film “The Quiet One,” and his last major work, the opera “Frederick Douglass; Sid Ramin’s orchestrations for “West Side Story,” “Gypsy,” and “1600 Pennsylvania Avenue;” and material related to Douglas Moore’s opera “The Ballad of Baby Doe,” and his Pulitzer Prize winning “Giants in the Earth.”

Items related to Jack Beeson’s opera “Lizzie Borden” will be on display, along with photographs and set and costume designs from the original production by the New York City Opera in 1965.

The exhibition will be highlighted by several events at Butler Library this Fall.  Recently on October 15th, an evening celebrated the centennial of Jerome Moross and honored Sid Ramin, who was present.  The event featured Susanna Moross Tarjan and Ron Ramin speaking about the work of their fathers and was moderated by David Garland of WQXR.  On October 22, the Harlem Chamber Players presented the first in their Ulysses Kay Project in St. Paul’s Chapel on the Columbia campus.

On November 6, Miranda Beeson, Conductor Anton Coppola, members of the VAI staff, and other guests will offer a preview of VAI’s newly released video of the original cast recording of Jack Beeson’s opera “Lizzie Borden.” A reception to view the exhibition will follow and the event is free and open to the public. 

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services (CUL/IS) is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 12 million volumes, over 160,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 22 libraries and various academic technology centers, including affiliates. CUL/IS employs more than 450 professional and support staff. The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources: library.columbia.edu.

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