New York Philharmonic Opens the Toscanini Archives, Providing Digital Access for Maestro’s 150th Birthday
Alfresco Content Services Brings Cloud-Based Access to Unprecedented Wealth of Information from Philharmonic’s 175-Year-Old Archive
SAN MATEO, Calif. and NEW YORK – April 4, 2017 – Open-source pioneer Alfresco Software announced today that the New York Philharmonic, in conjunction with Alfresco partner Technology Services Group (TSG), has now digitized materials from former Music Director Arturo Toscanini’s era, and made them publicly available, thanks to Alfresco Content Services — just in time for celebrations marking the legendary musician’s 150th birthday. The materials being released cover the Toscanini era (1925–1945) and encompass 1,300 folders of documents totaling approximately 70,000 pages of remarkable history, plus a dozen marked scores, and 200 related parts.
Now, anyone anywhere in the world is just a virtual click away from an unprecedented amount of archival material on Toscanini – “the Maestro.” For example, researchers wanting to know more about the 1930 tour of Europe, which established the Philharmonic as an elite international ensemble, will be able to access reviews, original scores with handwritten notes, logistical details, posters, and even clips of home movies featuring Toscanini that were shot on that tour.
1925-1945: The Toscanini Era is the fifth release from the New York Philharmonic Leon Levy Digital Archives – an enormous undertaking that demonstrates the ability of the Alfresco platform to scale to meet any size project and accommodate the unique needs of any organization. The digital archive already houses more than two million pages – including correspondence, operation files, marked scores, and more from the Philharmonic’s 175-year-history—all available around-the-clock.
The New York Philharmonic Leon Levy Digital Archives project was launched in February 2011, with Alfresco as provider of the digital asset management solution. In the first phase of the project, the Archives digitized 1.3 million pages of photographs and documents dating from 1943 to 1970. The current phase of the project, funded by the Leon Levy Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, has focused on digitizing the remainder of the paper materials from 1842 to 1942.
“The New York Philharmonic Archive is a treasure trove of historically significant material. Through digitization, all of these materials can be made freely and openly available to the public, and preserved as a resource for future generations,” said Kevin Schlottmann, New York Philharmonic Digital Archives Manager. “The Leon Levy Digital Archives would not be where it is today if not for the scalable, smart content management that Alfresco offers.”
Even better than the reading room
With the Alfresco-based archive, users can pan, zoom, rotate, magnify, view thumbnails, and virtually turn pages. In fact, they can see more and do more using Alfresco than they could if they had the item in front of them on a table in the New York Philharmonic Archives—and they don’t have to travel to New York to do it. As one New Yorker critic notes in this month’s playbill, “Plunging into the archive is a heady experience. It is full of unexpected gems and insight into musical life of a past era.”
Technology worthy of the Maestro
The Philharmonic has been one of the first institutional repositories to embark on a digitization project of this size and scope. Its project helps archivists and historians ingest, access, and search through the business records, photos, and printed music collections that make up the Philharmonic’s history.
“The New York Philharmonic selected Alfresco as the backbone of a highly scalable content management system that could handle heavy daily use while continuously streaming large volumes of data,” said Andrea Lagan, Chief Customer Officer at Alfresco. “Their use of Alfresco Content Services is a strong testimonial from one of the world’s most respected philharmonic orchestras. We are delighted to have been chosen to support the development and completion of such an engaging, culturally significant digital transformation.”
“The Toscanini Era is a particularly dynamic period of expansion and hardship for the Philharmonic,” said Philharmonic Archivist / Historian Barbara Haws. “It consolidates as the city’s major orchestra, emerges as an international force under Toscanini, creates Young People’s Concerts under the direction of Ernest Schelling, and deals with the effects of the Great Depression and World War II. It is also the time when new media and the coast-to-coast Sunday afternoon radio broadcasts make it ‘America’s Orchestra.’ This collection documents the uneasy transition from Willem Mengelberg, who had led the Philharmonic since 1922, to Toscanini, who was given the authority to decide which musicians would stay in the merged orchestra in 1928. It also documents the turmoil caused by Toscanini’s departure in 1936 with the ill-fated offer to Willem Furtwängler, followed by John Barbirolli’s short tenure, leading to the appointment of the fiery Artur Rodziński.”
About the New York Philharmonic Archives
The New York Philharmonic Archives, the oldest and most comprehensive collection of any symphony orchestra, contains approximately six million pages that date back to its founding in 1842, with holdings that include correspondence, business records, orchestral scores and parts, photographs, concert programs, and newspaper clippings, as well as concert and broadcast recordings dating from the 1920s. The New York Philharmonic Leon Levy Digital Archives, archives.nyphil.org, currently contains more than 1.3 million pages, including printed programs, marked conducting scores, business documents, and photographs. Supported by the Leon Levy Foundation, since 2005 the Digital Archives has received a total of $5 million to implement one of the world’s most ambitious and comprehensive digitization programs. When completed, the online collection will contain every document in the New York Philharmonic Archives from 1842 through 1970 as well as all public documents from 1970 through today. The Philharmonic is the first major symphony orchestra to provide open access to its performance history data, through archives.nyphil.org/performance history, the longest running collection of data on classical music in the United States; it now links to the Digital Archives to facilitate access to the history of any artist, concert location, date, and work.
About the New York Philharmonic
The New York Philharmonic connects with up to 50 million music lovers annually through performances, education, broadcasts, and the Digital Archives. The 2016–17 season marks the Orchestra’s 175th anniversary and Music Director Alan Gilbert’s farewell season. The Philharmonic has always championed contemporary music, with current projects including the NY PHIL BIENNIAL. The annual free citywide Concerts in the Parks, Presented by Didi and Oscar Schafer, are complemented with Philharmonic Free Fridays and education programs, including the famed Young People’s Concerts and the New York Philharmonic Global Academy, collaborations with partners worldwide to train pre-professional orchestral musicians, often alongside performance residencies. America’s oldest symphony orchestra has appeared in 432 cities in 63 countries and long been a media pioneer, today sharing live performances through downloads and online. Alan Gilbert became Music Director in 2009 — succeeding titans including Bernstein, Toscanini, and Mahler. The Orchestra also shares its treasure trove of music history online through the ever-expanding New York Philharmonic Leon Levy Digital Archives, archives.nyphil.org, which currently makes available every printed program since 1842; by the end of 2018 more than three million pages of documents from the Archives, one of the world’s most important orchestral research collections, will be available for free.
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Alfresco is an enterprise open-source software company focused on advancing the flow of digital business. The company provides a better, more effortless way for people to work, making sure they have the information they need, exactly when they need it most. The Alfresco Digital Business Platform is an open, modern, secure platform that intelligently activates process and content to accelerate the flow of business. It provides the fastest path for people to interact with information and for companies to respond to changing business needs. Over 1,300 industry-leading organizations have built solutions on Alfresco allowing them to innovate, be responsive and competitive. Alfresco’s customers include Cisco, Bank of NY Mellon, Liberty Mutual, Capital One, US Department of Navy, and NASA. Founded in 2005, Alfresco has U.S. headquarters in San Mateo, California and European headquarters in Maidenhead, UK. For more information on Alfresco, please visit http://www.alfresco.com.