IN OUR LIVES was designed in the Fall 2018 offering of Donna’s “World of The Beatles” course. Participating students studied her materials–donated in Donna’s name to the Rita Benton Music Library–and worked together to flesh out the different themes that now define their multimedia, multidirectional account of the enduring legacy of The Beatles that stretches across each fin. The exhibit design is a tribute to the rich learning experiences Donna created for University of Iowa students, and a preview of the valuable learning experiences her collection will support for years to come.
We invite you to journey through the World of The Beatles in the following ways.
PANELS: “THE MUSICIANS,” “THE MUSIC,” “BEATLEMANIA!,” “THE BEATLES OF TODAY”
Each of the four exhibit panels represent the combined efforts of the corresponding topic subgroups (notated as “Deeper Dives” on the front of each Exhibit Panel).
The Musicians: Band Image/Identity, Working Together, Going Solo, Songwriting
Who were The Beatles as Public Figures? Do details of particular songs speak to their Personal/Public experiences?
The Music: Catalog Overview, Albums Early, Albums Late 1, Albums Late 2
What behind-the-scenes events became factors in the production of their albums?
What was a Beatles concert tour like? How did other types of Beatles media (e.g., fan newsletters, magazines, films, etc.) sustain mass interest in The Beatles? What does the “Paul is Dead” hoax teach us about Beatles fandom?
The Beatles of Today: Managing, Symbolizing, Celebrating, Recreating?
Who were the “fifth Beatles”? What can we learn from classic Beatles art/imagery about how The Beatles are remembered? What does it mean to pay tribute to a group like The Beatles?
Student Collection Highlights and Blog Posts
As part of their work on the exhibit, participating students familiarized themselves with the vast array of reference books, documentaries, and Beatles memorabilia that Donna’s family donated to the library in her name. Visit the Rita Benton Music Library website throughout the semester to read blog posts by the participating students, faculty, and library staff, which will examine the objects and themes of this exhibit in greater depth.
Can works composed in the United States be considered American if they draw on European styles? When does an immigrant – and his art – become American?
The November 17, 1965 University Orchestra program offers one opportunity to consider how these questions can be navigated. The program notes for his Symphonic Elegy, In memoriam: Anton Webern (1946) present Austrian-born Czech Ernst Krenek (1900-1991) as an American composer.1 His American citizenship is emphasized, noting that the piece was written in St. Paul, MN, nine years after Krenek’s emigration. However, William Pepper, the program notes’ author, unifies the four pieces of this program by appealing to European dynasties of composers. Pepper notes that while Mozart and Beethoveen are considered members of the First Viennese School, Webern was part of founding the Second. As Webern’s student, Krenek was a direct descendant of the Second Viennese School.2 By framing the program in this way, Pepper emphasizes the way that programming at the University of Iowa during the late sixties involved experimentalists without straying too far from canonical giants.
Krenek’s association with the European tradition of art music give his music prestige, but he is still claimed as an American composer. Here, his Americanness is legitimized by subtly emphasizing his flight from oppression in Nazi Germany.3 Pepper notes that Webern was killed in Germany when he exited his house after curfew, further emphasizing the political priorities that loomed large in the American mind of the 1960s. These program notes seek to establish Krenek’s piece as both the product of American freedom and the heir of the great Viennese masters.
Correspondence between Krenek and Himie Voxman about scheduling a trip to campus is held in the Rita Benton Music Library Special Collections, but there is no evidence yet whether Krenek was able to visit.4
4 Ernst Krenek, Krenek to Himie Voxman, undated, in Himie Voxman Papers, Rita Benton Music Library, University of Iowa.
About the Author
Lisa Pollock Mumme will finish her M.A in Musicology at the University of Iowa in Spring 2019. Lisa studies gender and music, specifically in film music, with a secondary interest in the performing bodies of nineteenth-century Latin American opera world. Lisa’s work in film music focuses on gender in genre film, with particular attention to dystopian works. Lisa’s thesis on the Mad Max franchise located a site of embodied resistance for one disempowered character in her diegetic performance of her own theme, and defined competing musical forces that simultaneously masculinize and feminize subsequent characters. Her secondary area of research concerns the nineteenth-century Mexican opera singer and composer Ángela Peralta. Lisa plans to develop both facets of her research as a PhD student next year.
What is American Music? What does the idea of “American” music making mean for different University of Iowa artists and audiences?
In what ways have University of Iowa musicians, audiences, conductors, critics, and historians contributed to the musical identity of the United States? In what ways might they do so in the future?
The students of the Fall 2018 offering of the graduate musicology seminar in American music invite you to consider these questions as they relate to the place of American music in the past, present, and future of the University of Iowa School of Music.
The “Exploring Our Sounds” exhibit, which is on display throughout the Spring 2019 semester on the first floor of the Voxman Music Building, showcases our responses to these questions. Throughout the semester, we will be posting on the objects and themes of this exhibit in greater depth.
We hope you return to the blog and participate in “exploring our sounds.”
Students Investigate: Deeper Dives into American Music Making at the University of Iowa
Bring headphones and a mobile device so you can hear what you are reading about. Where possible, we have provided direct access to the different traditions of American music making discussed in the form of a digital music playlist. Examples were selected to further illustrate points in our exhibit text, and to encourage broader enjoyment of the diverse sounds and styles that make up the traditions of American music making at the University of Iowa. The Exhibit Playlist can be accessed at https://bit.ly/2TAom3t, or by scannable QR code at the exhibit.
Look out for theme clusters: “Curriculums,” “Student Musical Life,” and “Composers.” Over the semester, we conducted individual studies of the displayed items, drawn from the Rita Benton Music Library collections, and then worked together to put our independent work in dialogue with that of our colleagues. The “Curriculums,” “Student Musical Life,” and “Composers” areas of the exhibit are the results of these collaborative efforts.
Be ready to explore further. The dotted lines running throughout the exhibit are representative of the broader thematic connections that crisscross the different areas and aspects of the “Exploring Our Sounds” Exhibit. The expected and unexpected links that are made between “American” sounds, university programming, local community traditions, and more, should leave you thinking about the questions we asked above.
This playlist accompanies the “Exploring Our Sounds” exhibit, which is on display throughout the Spring 2019 semester on the first floor of the Voxman Music Building. Visit the Rita Benton Music Library website throughout the semester to read blog posts by the participating students, faculty, and library staff, which will examine the objects and themes of this exhibit in greater depth.
1. Excerpt, John Rapson Oral History, origins of the University of Iowa jazz program, 2018
2. Excerpt of Maria Schneider, Wyrgly, performed by Johnson County Landmark, 2000.
3. Old Gold performing “Valerie”
4. Gene Mills, University of Iowa Alma Mater, performed by the Hawkeye Marching Band, 2015
5. Excerpt of Aaron Copland, “The Promise of Living” from The Tender Land, performed by the University of Iowa Symphony Orchestra, 2010.
6. Excerpt of Olly Wilson, Voices, performed by the University of Iowa Symphony Orchestra, 1976.
7. Excerpt of Philip Bezanson, The Western Child, University of Iowa Opera Theater, 1959.
8. Michael Eckert, “Dialogo” from Three Pieces in Brazilian Style, performed by the University of Iowa Latin Jazz Ensemble, 2008.
9. Ernesto Nazareth, “Escorregando,” performed by Maurita Murphy Mead (clarinet)
10. Excerpt of Olly Wilson, Akwan
11. Ernst Krenek, Symphonic Elegy for String Orchestra (In Memoriam Anton Webern), performed by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra
Music Library patrons have commented many times on the paper flags hanging in the library stacks this Fall, which are part of a relocation project that started in late summer. Starting December 14, flagged items will be loaded onto carts and relocated to the Libraries’ Annex facility. All told, around 15,000 titles will make the move and allow for collection growth over the next five to seven years.
What happens when something is sent to the Annex? Is it gone forever, or can I still borrow it?
You can still borrow it, and quite easily! Books and scores sent to the Annex are available per request through InfoHawk+, much like items held at other campus libraries like Main and Art. There will be a few months where items will not be available while they are processed and shelved at the Annex facility, but then they are easily requestable online and usually delivered to the library of your choice within 24-48 hours from the time of the request.
The Music Library did not open in 2016 with much space for collection growth. It was estimated that the book collection could grow for 5-7 years, and the score collection for 3-5 years (new libraries usually open with at least a 15-20 year growth factor). Following this relocation project, the book collection should be able to grow for up to ten years and the score collection for at least five years. The Annex facility was in the position to take a large shipment of items from the Music Library before the close of the calendar year, so that is why the collection is being evaluated and a portion relocated in 2018.
What items are moving?
The Libraries elected to evaluate items that were purchased before 2003 and which have not circulated since at least 2003 (or the 15-15 rule). That produced a list of 13,500 books and over 18,000 scores. The Library holds over 51,000 books and almost 95,000 scores, which means about 25% of the book collection and 19% of the score collection were evaluated. In the end, the Music Library is sending 8,100 books and around 7,000 scores to the Annex, or around 15% of the book collection and 7% of the score collection. Every single book and score that is being relocated has been physically opened and reviewed by the music librarian.
Here are some additional reasons why books or scores were selected to be relocated:
Newer or better editions are available. This was especially true for scores, where many editions from the early 20th century have been superseded by newer editions. Newer editions also tend to be in better physical condition, so they can withstand the rigors of continued borrowing.
Extra copies. Most copy 2s, 3s, etc. have been sent to the Annex. There are exceptions, because some extra copies see a great deal of use (e.g., piano literature).
Older foreign language titles. This applied mainly to books, where many older items in German, French, Italian, Spanish, and other European languages were selected to go to storage. There are still many languages and authors from around the world represented across the book collection. However, most items in the collection held here on campus will be in English.
Course curricula realignment. This was true for both books AND scores. For example, the musicology faculty and courses used to include much more study of medieval and early renaissance music, but now the coursework is more focused on American music and 18th to 21st century repertories. New curricular lines, such as the bachelor’s in Jazz, are areas where the Music Library must develop its collections to support future student and faculty needs. Another good example? The School does not offer degrees in classical guitar and harp, so most solo music in those areas has been sent to storage.
Here are some reasons that books or scores were kept on campus:
Iowa connections. Scores by Iowa composers or alumni, or books written here in Iowa City or by graduates were largely kept in the stacks.
Rare or unusual items. This includes items where the RBML was one of only a few holding libraries or where something about the item was of particular note were kept in the stacks. We even found a few items that will move into the Canter Rare Book Room, including a first edition full score of Felix Mendelssohn’s Oedipus in Kolonos, op. 93 from 1852.
Maintain balance in the collection. While the collection did need to be reviewed and items relocated, it still needed to be “browsable” so that a student, scholar, or performer could go to the stacks and look through a particular call number and see a reasonable representation of literature on a topic or literature to study and perform. There were times when it was more prudent to keep unused items here on campus because their removal would have eliminated a particular perspective on a topic or thinned the types of composition available for a particular instrument or voice. For example, women composers are already underrepresented in the collection, and removal of their music to storage would only exacerbate the problem. The collection is more balanced when their music is retained in the browsable stacks here on campus.
A few final thoughts:
Relocating materials to the Library Annex is not the same as weeding them. Those materials are still available to be checked out, they just must be couriered to campus first. A very small stack of items were weeded from the collection during this process due to damage. This project has helped the Music Library to review the condition, usability, balance, and overall health of its collections. Items can be returned to campus if, indeed, a major mistake has been made or changes to the curriculum require such a move. If you have questions about this process or the results, please contact Head of the Rita Benton Music Library, Katie Buehner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I first met the late Arthur Canter about five years ago, shortly after arriving in Iowa City. He would come to the library every few months and check out a stack of recordings and books to aid in his writing of program notes for a number of performing organizations around town. Arthur liked to stop by my office and chat about local performances, painting, the workings of the mind, principles of a good program note, and his love of music. The first thing I learned about the Canters was that they went to just about everything. They attended Symphony concerts, faculty recitals, Hancher performances, art shows, Libraries’ Friends events, all with a fervent interest. However, Arthur’s enduring love was opera. He saw his first live opera, Gounod’s Faust, in 1938 at the Met. “Looking back at it, I hardly think Faust is an ideal choice for a first opera, but I had no choice and no advice. I went and ate it up. I was positively thrilled…and became a confirmed opera lover ever since.” Biographies of opera singers and books on the extravagant art formed the core of his personal music library, which he donated to the Music Library just a few weeks ago.
I was surprised to learn that Arthur was not a practicing musician. His knowledge and experience of music came from listening to recordings, attending concerts, and reading books and articles. Arthur was well versed in Western art music repertory, but was aware of its exclusivity. To that end, he often donated sound recordings of underrepresented or lost works to the Music Library, including music by women composers, and Holocaust victims and survivors. In 2014 (my first year on the job), I learned that a group of friends had raised funds so that the Rare Book Room could be named in honor of the Canters. Arthur walked up to me soon afterwards with a twinkle in his eye and pronounced, “I’m a rare book!” Arthur was accurate in a more literal sense; he is the author of a book in the Rare Book Room titled Tonight’s Program which includes twenty years of his program notes, written for performances at Hancher Auditorium. I remember unlocking the door of the Canter Rare Book Room two years later in 2016 so Arthur and Miriam could see it for the first time. Arthur was wearing musical suspenders and both he and Miriam were beaming. I made sure to show him Tonight’s Program, his rare book, on the shelf.
In the last year or so, Arthur and Miriam attended few programs around town. Arthur’s hearing was in serious decline, and it broke his heart that he could no longer hear the music he loved. He returned to exploring the visual arts, mostly producing pencil sketches and watercolors, several with musicians as their subject. Arthur believed that the visual and musical arts were more deeply entwined than most believe, and would talk at length about the role of color or timbre in musical perception. Even when he couldn’t hear music, he never stopped thinking about it or wanting to talk about it. This dogged curiosity and thirst for knowledge, for connection, is what I will miss most about Arthur. To my mind, there could hardly be a more fitting space to bear the Canter name than a room that melds together music, libraries, and a persistent pursuit of learning. It will be a privilege to share Arthur’s story and passion for music with Library patrons for many years to come.
In the summer of 2018, the Rita Benton Music Library “adopted” Wülfie Parsons, who belonged previously to Dr. Donna Parsons.
He’s a born and bred Iowa pup, and is settling in nicely to his new home here in Voxman.
Wülfie will be around the Music Library, usually near the Service Desk, so be sure to stop by and say hello! In the meantime, here are Wülfie’s top five things to know about using the Music Library in 2018.
1. Check out some music
There are over 200,000 items in the library stacks, most of which are scores.
Find something that you want to play, hear, or read and use your Iowa One card to borrow it from the Library.
2. Find a great place to study
There are large tables, windows, benches, weird 50s looking chair pod things, and Wülfie’s personal favorite seats, the study carrels. Get comfortable, bring a cup of coffee, and a stack of books or scores, and study in the Music Library.
3. Use library equipment to record music
The Music Library has two Zoom H4n digital audio recorders and one Zoom Q8 video recorder available for check out that can be used to record practice sessions, recitals, lessons, or other musical endeavors. Items circulate for one day.
4. Check out library exhibits
The Library exhibits materials from the School of Music Archives, its vast collections, and much more. This fall, the Library will mount an exhibit highlighting theses and dissertations by School of Music graduates, including critical editions, compositions, recording projects, and historical research on music in the Midwest, Iowa, and the School of Music. This spring, there will be two exhibits mounted by undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in music classes. Right now, the case is empty, but Wülfie thought he would make an engaging exhibit item.
5. Make a new friend
Wülfie thinks the Music Library is a pretty great place to study with friends, and even make new friends. You’ll meet other students in the School and students from other programs, see faculty looking for new music to play or a book for their latest research project, your friendly neighborhood Music Library staff members, and of course, Wülfie!
University of Iowa School of Music concert recordings are archived by the Rita Benton Music Library. The Library maintains a streaming audio digital collection of current performance recordings that is available to current University of Iowa faculty, students, and staff. Patrons must have a valid HawkID and password to stream recordings.
Here are just a few highlights from concerts this October in the School of Music:
Olivier Latry, organ (guest artist recital)
You may have heard about this concert from just about everyone who attended. Olivier Latry, organist at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame and professor at the Paris Conservatory, delivers a masterful performance on the Concert Hall’s Klais organ. Of particular note is the 20+ minute improvisation on the Dies Irae and “In Heaven There Is No Beer.” Really, this actually happened and it was amazing. Listen >
Oboe Music from Portugal: Courtney Miller, oboe; Minji Kwon, piano
Enjoy a mixture of old and new works from Portugal, including Os Contos do Oboé, op. 73 by Ricardo Matosinhos and composed for Iowa’s oboe professor Courtney Miller, in this faculty recital featuring professors Conklin, Arnone, Wolfe, and Rutledge. Listen >
GIRLS A-Z: A Hodgepodge of Songs: Stephen Swanson, voice; Alan Huckleberry, piano
This concert consists of 26 songs featuring the name of a woman, one for each letter of the alphabet. Broken into two long tracks (13 apiece), enjoy this recital that features many genres, styles, and languages, delivered magnificently by Iowa’s own superb interpreter of song literature, Stephen Swanson. Be sure to read the program notes by Marilyn Swanson for some background on how this curious program came to be and a detailed bibliography of all the songs. Listen >
Whether you’re new to campus or returning for another year, the Rita Benton Music Library is excited to welcome you!
Here are a handful of news, tips & tricks, and resources that can get your 2017 school year off to a great start.
Check it out, plug it in
The Music Library now has the following equipment available for circulation:
Audio Technica Headphones (quantity: 5)
Dell Optical Drives (for use with Mac or PC) (quantity: 2)
ZOOM H4N Digital Audio Recorders (quantity: 2)
Little Bits Synth Kits with MIDI bits and cables (quantity: 2)
All items are available for 2 hour checkout, in building use only.
Listen to School of Music Recordings Online
All School of Music faculty recitals and ensemble concerts are now available to stream online in the Iowa Digital Library from 2003-present. Access is limited to University personnel with a valid HawkID and password. Additional recordings will become available, as the Library will continue its efforts to preserve and digitize recordings pre-2003. Thanks to former Library Assistant Megan Small for her hard work on this project.
Christine Burke joined the staff of the Rita Benton Music Library as Library Assistant III on Friday, June 16. She is responsible for course reserves, digital projects, supervising the library in the evenings, and some collections processing.
Christine recently graduated with a Master of Music Degree (Composition) from the University of Iowa, with additional studies in clarinet and organ. Recently, her music has been performed by the Chicago Civic Orchestra, JACK Quartet, UNK New Music Ensemble, and at various festivals and conferences throughout the country, with upcoming performances by the Talea Ensemble (Time Spans Festival 2017/Earle Brown Music Foundation’s International Summer Academy), The Living Earth Show, and Kamratōn Ensemble.
Take a look at some 2016 stats and highlights
See how many pages were scanned, items were circulated, and learn the top reasons patrons visit the Music Library.
Starting on March 31, 2017, the School of Music will host three Collage concerts celebrating the opening of the Voxman Music Building at 93. E. Burlington St. “Coming Home” is the theme of the year, especially for the many alumni who have journeyed to see the new space and hear music fills its halls. Historically, the University of Iowa School of Music has often grappled with the concept of “home,” especially since the program has spent only 37 years of a 110+ year existence in a centralized location.
1906-1971: Seeking a home
When the School of Music, Affiliated was established in 1906, it occupied space in what became Unity Hall (close to present day Phillips Hall). However, faculty studios were also in homes and ensembles rehearsed in MacBride or the Armory (near the current English Philosophy Building). In its second year, the school took over space in the Dey Building across from Unity Hall on the corner of Iowa and Clinton.
In a 1920 memo addressed to University president Walter A. Jessup, newly appointed School of Music director Philip Greeley Clapp outlined the dire facilities situation, including lack of soundproofing, “doors that will stay neither open nor shut,” a lack of practice rooms, no dedicated performance and rehearsal spaces for large ensembles, and insufficient security. He was pragmatic, recommending that the School would be happy to be “tucked into new or old building with other departments” but warns that “perhaps the others may not care for our company!”
These are not “frills” but crying needs…I cannot omit to point out that developing a department of music under present conditions is almost like building a house without tools. Certainly a ten years’ delay would stifle all growth!
By the 1930s, Clapp felt the School was reasonably well served by its facilities, especially with the addition in 1931 of what became known as the “School of Music Building” on the corner of Gilbert and Jefferson. In 1954, Clapp stepped down as director and was succeeded by Himie Voxman. Documentation shows that Himie started advocating for a new building early on in his tenure as Director. It was time for the Department to teach, practice, learn, rehearse, study, and perform under one roof.
1971-2008: A place to call home
In 1968, it was announced that a new fine arts complex would be constructed on the west bank of the Iowa River to house the School of Music and several other arts venues. The state supplied 2.7 million and several federal grants totaling 1.5 million funded the School of Music portion, though the entire complex would end up costing around 11 million. Architect Max Abramovitz (New York) designed the complex, which included a 700-seat recital hall named for P. G. Clapp, a 200-seat hall named for administrator Earl Harper, and a large 2,5000+ seat performance space that would be named in memory of UIowa president Virgil Hancher. The School opened in 1971 and Hancher Auditorium rolled out the red carpet in the fall of 1972. A headline in the Iowa Press-Citizen read, “Makeshift Days Ending at Iowa School of Music” – for the first time in its 60+ year history, the School had a place to call home.
The Building carried a generic title for many years. However, in 1995 the Board of Regents, at the urging of what Himie Voxman called, “a small but very determined and energetic group of my friends,” named the School of Music Building in honor of Mr. Voxman and his many accomplishments on behalf of the University of Iowa’s music programs. Mr. Voxman’s speech at the May 2, 1995 building dedication ceremony recognized that:
Most awards and honors are destined to be placed on the lapels of jackets, hung on walls, displayed on shelves or, in some cases, deposited in banks. I believe my honor is something special. It is so great and so significant it can only be worn in one place – my heart.
2008-2016: The loss of a home
The 2008 Flood of the Iowa River ended in tragedy for the Voxman Music Building. Deemed a loss by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Voxman Music Building was razed in 2013 with plans for a replacement facility launched in 2009. Over the next eight years, the School occupied over 20 different campus and community buildings in order to supply studios, office, practice rooms, classes, rehearsal and recording spaces, performance venues, and library services. After much discussion, the decision was made to separate Hancher Auditorium and the School of Music, the latter of which returned to a mere three blocks south on Clinton Street from its first home in Unity Hall on Clinton and Iowa.
2016-present: Coming home
In August 2016, the School of Music moved into its new home on the corner of Burlington and Clinton in downtown Iowa City. The 184,000 square foot building includes a 700-seat concert hall, 200-seat recital hall, organ recital hall, rehearsal rooms, the Rita Benton Music Library, practice rooms, classrooms, studios, offices, and a student commons. More importantly, it houses all of the faculty, staff, and students of the School of Music under a single roof, right in heart of Iowa City.
Be sure to check out the “Building a School of Music” exhibit, which will be on display from April-July in the first floor hallway case located outside of the School of Music offices and across from the Rita Benton Music Library.