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Thursday January 20th

Wilson Library exhibit celebrates UNC’s music collections

The Music Library at Wilson which holds more than 165,000 books as well as 57,000 audio and video recordings turns 75! The library's 75th anniversary exhibition will go from October 20th-January 31st.
Buy Photos The Music Library at Wilson which holds more than 165,000 books as well as 57,000 audio and video recordings turns 75! The library's 75th anniversary exhibition will go from October 20th-January 31st.

Tucked inside UNC’s Wilson Library are recorded cassettes, vinyl records and written scores dating as far back as the 17th century.

A book of Mozart’s about playing violin sits nearby a guitar signed by UNC’s own Andy Griffith in the UNC Music Library’s newest exhibit, “Curating Sound: 75 Years of Music Collections at UNC,” which is commemorating the collections’ 75th anniversary.

The library will host a lecture by Tim Carter, a professor of music at UNC, followed by a concert featuring students, library staff members and professional musicians playing music from the collections.

“I’m always glad to have the opportunity to illustrate and explain what we musicologists actually do, and what resources are available at UNC,” Carter wrote in an email.

Carter’s lecture will focus on Kurt Weill, who visited the University in 1936 and helped to influence the library’s creation.

Weill — a German composer who fled the Nazi regime in 1935 — met North Carolina playwright Paul Green to compose a musical, “Johnny Johnson,” for a Broadway group.

In 1936, after Weill and Green’s collaboration, the music library was established.

At its creation, the music library just had more than 1,000 items, but librarian Philip Vandermeer said it has grown significantly in the past 75 years.

He said the music library now holds over 250,000 items, including books, sound recordings, films and rare scores.

In June 2003, it was moved to Wilson Library to accommodate a growing collection.

It is now one of the top 10 academic music libraries in the country, Vandermeer said.

“We are all very gratified to be celebrating our 75th anniversary,” he said.

Carter said it was a great honor to be asked to speak at the celebration. His lecture on Weill will also encompass Wilson’s historical collections.

The concert following his talk will be an eclectic mix of different musical genres — like Irish traditional, classical baroque or early rockabilly — that are featured works from the collection.

Steven Weiss, co-curator of the “Curating Sound” exhibit and a member of the planning committee for the event, said it will feature many original pieces from the music collection and Wilson’s special collections library.

The pieces range from centuries-old French Baroque scores to rare posters from music festivals in the last 60 years.

Carter said that the significant amount of sound recordings and archival materials make the music library the best in the South.

“The music library is one jewel in the UNC crown.”

Contact the Arts Editor at arts@dailytarheel.com.

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