February 12, 2007
Sacramento State Bulletin

Sacramento Symphony Orchestra’s music
collection finds a home on campus

Photo: Ernie Hills looks over music from the collection
Ernie Hills looks over music from the collection

More than 1,100 symphonic scores and musical works from the former Sacramento Symphony have found a new home in the University Library’s Special Collections and University Archives. Now owned by the City of Sacramento and managed by the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission (SMAC), this music has been housed in storage facilities over the past several years and has not been available for public use. The move consolidates and preserves the collection and makes it available for the first time to the campus and performing organizations throughout the region.

The collection is formally on deposit at the Library where it will be catalogued, maintained and appropriately housed, as part of a ten-year agreement with the city. Its circulation will be limited to members of the campus who are using it for research and teaching and to local orchestras and musical groups who want to borrow scores for performance purposes.

The Sacramento Symphony Orchestra was Sacramento’s premiere symphony for 75 years until it closed its doors in 1996, at which time its musical scores became the property of the city. When SMAC approached the University Library about housing and maintaining the collection, it was agreed that it was a good opportunity to save this valuable work while making it accessible to the community.

“This is an incredible resource,” said Ernie Hills, chair of the Music Department. “Now we have in our library a diverse collection, amassed over several decades, of symphonic standards and rarer pieces.”

According to Hills, housing the collection in the University Library is significant for a number of reasons. “Primarily, it is essential to care for these works in a professional environment. In addition, these works are an important resource for scholarly research.”

Each score bears the markings of its concertmaster, who was for many years, in the case of the Sacramento Symphony, first violinist Bill Barbini, a music professor at Sacramento State. These markings would be used as a guide to how the music should be played and can provide a wealth of information as to how the Sacramento Symphony’s music was performed. “This is a rare opportunity for musicians and students to study the way an orchestra performed,” said Hills. “It is a great research tool that few institutions can provide.”

The University Library will be working with SMAC over the coming months to decide who will be able to use the music and under what conditions. It is hoped that it can be loaned to local orchestras and musical groups that may want to perform pieces from the collection, saving them the expense of purchasing or renting symphonic scores. “Symphonic scores can cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars,” said Hills, “and in the case of smaller performing groups, the cost of obtaining certain works can be prohibitive. A lending library of musical scores could become an important community resource.”

For more information, contact the University Library at 278-5679. For media assistance, contact the Sacramento State Public Affairs office at 278-6156.



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