In May 2018, the Columbia University Library received a grant from the GRAMMY Foundation to preserve the unique recordings owned by the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center (CPEMC). A titanic job that took almost two years.
The content was selected from a collection of over 5500 audio tapes. The voluminous black reels sold to the library in 2009 were gradually copied and then brought to digital format. The resulting new collection is now available online in the establishment’s digital catalog. Bibliographic records are also included below the records.
The CPEMC was the first American center for electroacoustic music to open in the United States. It was founded in 1959 by Columbia professors Vladimir Ussachevsky and Otto Luening and Princeton professors Milton Babbitt and Roger Sessions. Its founders wanted to make it ” center where composers could work and experiment without having to face the forces of commercialism ».
Over the years, luminaries of avant-garde electronic music from all over the world have visited, worked and studied at the Center. Among the composers who have produced works there are Jon Appleton, Bülent Arel, Wendy Carlos, Charles Dodge, Halim El-Dabh, İlhan Mimaroğlu, Mario Davidovsky, Daria Semegen, Alice Shields, Pril Smiley and Edgard Varèse.
Online access to this material, however, is limited to the Columbia University community and is being made available to the public as a temporary emergency measure during the COVID-19 health crisis. Use of audio recordings may be subject to United States copyright laws and they cannot be used to accompany video posted online, for example. It will therefore be necessary to present supporting documents in order to be able to access the digitized documents.
Crédit photo : Tim Knopf, CC BY 2.0