Category: Music

Alumni Librarians: Kathy Abromeit ’85

    While a student at Lawrence, I worked in the music library under the supervision of faculty member, Paul Hollinger. At that time, it was a small collection housed in the conservatory, but we all ate up that collection like children in a candy store. Additionally, I was writing an honor’s thesis on Anna Bon, 18th-century composer and her flute sonatas, so I was getting a lot of library time both working in the library and doing extensive research myself. I studied flute with Ernestine Whitman, and both of us were very excited to be exploring Bon’s work. My advisor for the thesis was Professor Marjory Irvin, and she was the one who instilled my love of research, writing, and scholarly discussion. I came to love the hunt for information, and Professor Irvin helped me to understand that the process of research is often not a straight line from where you begin to where you finish, but that it is messy, that it is connected, that and it requires an ability to tolerate ambiguity. I think she was actually teaching me about life without me knowing it at the time!

Following Lawrence, I began graduate school in musicology. I had a teaching assistantship and was on the path to complete a PhD in musicology. To supplement my income, I also got a job in the music library helping with the copy cataloging of sound recordings. Before long I started appreciating the breadth of a typical day in the library. When I would visualize my life as a musicologist, I saw a tube that was somewhat narrow but tremendously deep. When I would visualize my life as a music librarian, the tube was much broader and offered exceptional breadth but not necessarily the depth of a teaching faculty member. I know it’s not that simplistic, but what I learned about myself, from my visualization of the two professions, is that I needed a career path that offered me a full span of knowledge and exploration. Essentially, I needed a big sandbox that included music, research, expansive learning and service, and the ability to influence the canon. It seemed that librarianship could be a viable profession that met the requirements.

In talking with a few librarians and exploring the job market, I decided to switch to the master’s in musicology, rather than the PhD, and apply for library school. I’ve never looked back. It’s been the perfect career choice for me. I work at the Oberlin Conservatory Library, and it is located on the campus of Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio. It was founded in 1865 and is the second oldest conservatory and oldest continually operating conservatory in the United States. Like Lawrence, Oberlin is a liberal arts college and conservatory of music, the best of both worlds! My daily work in the Oberlin Conservatory Library focuses on public services activities. I spend my days doing information literacy work, conducting research appointments as well as supervising the public services operations of our branch library. It’s a very busy library!

After spending a great deal of time thinking about breadth and depth, my thoughts have changed. My work as a music librarian has afforded me the opportunity to become moderately knowledgeable across a domain, and deeply knowledgeable within a strand of that domain. It has been a profession with a continual learning curve as technology advances and changes. While at times it feels somewhat overwhelming, I appreciate the constant challenge that comes with an ever-changing landscape. I remind myself that I did ask for a large sandbox!

I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting and working with a wide range of musicians and scholars ranging from the undergraduates in the conservatory to the budding rap artist to the chorus member in the Metropolitan Opera to the seasoned soloist who is looking for a bit of information for their award-winning CD.

Librarianship is a meaningful profession that has given me tremendous opportunities, intellectual growth, and created a framework for my professional life. That care started at Lawrence where I was a first-generation college student who needed mentoring and guidance, and Lawrence took great care to develop me as a leader despite me coming from an economically-disadvantaged family. That spirit of support helped me to identify that I too wanted to further social justice in my library and research work. It started with Professor Irvin introducing me to music by women composers. Since that time, my path has taken me through the creation of a large folksong database, co-created with the journal, SingOut!, that indexes anthologies of folksong collections, publishing two reference books on African-American spirituals, and I’m working on a third.

I feel blessed that I had the faculty trifecta of Paul Hollinger, Ernestine Whitman, and Marjory Irvin along with Dean Colin Murdoch to launch me on my way and teach me, in the Lawrence way, to engage, develop multiple interests, and give back to my community.

By Kathy Abromeit, Class of 1985

Lux Reaches 300,000 Downloads!

People all over the world have accessed honors projects, issues of The Lawrentian, and convocations in the six years since Lux was implemented through the library.

We have now reached 300,000 downloads!

What is this Lux? Lux is the Lawrence University institutional repository, digital home to over 4000 scholarly and creative works of our students, faculty, and staff, as well as select historical documents.

If you are looking for interesting stories from student newspapers or alumni magazines, check Lux! You will find a rich and fascinating history.

Want to peruse recent honors projects? Lux is the place for you.

Interested in reading a Harrison Award paper? Studio Art senior exhibition artwork? Look in Lux. You will find these things and many more.

We hope you enjoy and are enriched by what you find in Lux! Let us know what you think.

Enjoying the Mudd from Afar

Are you a current student, faculty, or staff member of Lawrence University?

Are you away from campus for the summer?

Do you miss us?

No worries, friends, the Mudd Library is still here for you!

Whether you’re relaxing at a cottage up north, working hard at an internship across the country, or furthering your research in another country, we’re here to support you.

Here are a few ways you can use our resources, no matter where you are in the world:

You may not be here, but we are! Andrew explains our new ILL system at a recent staff meeting.
Login to our video resources with your LU ID to access thousands of streaming videos.

If you need help or have any questions, a reference librarian is on call throughout the summer, from 9 am to 4 pm, Monday through Friday. Feel free to ask a librarian if you’re having trouble accessing our resources or if you have questions about using them.

No matter where you are in the world, you can still enjoy the Mudd!

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Using Your Library Wisely

The library offers so many resources and services, it can be hard to keep track of all the ways in which we can help you succeed at Lawrence.

Below you’ll find a handy list of just a few ideas for optimizing your experience in the Mudd. How many have you employed?

Lots of seating for lots of studying.
  • Grab a study buddy and a rolling whiteboard to parse out those tricky formulas.
  • Head for the quiet solitude of the fourth floor and hide out in the stacks to read.
  • Contact a reference librarian for research assistance or make a research appointment: visit the desk, call, email, or text!
  • Watch a movie for class or relaxation in one of our five viewing rooms.

    Books and art and standing desks!
  • Browse the fiction and graphic novels on the third floor during a study break.
  • Wheel one of our standing desks to your favorite spot to focus.
  • Lounge on one of the comfy couches in the Milwaukee-Downer Room (1st floor) or in the Roger Dale Kruse Room (4th floor) while doing your class reading.
  • Reserve a group study room on either the 2nd or 3rd floor by signing your name on the clipboard outside the door. Invite your friends for an intensive study session.
  • Practice your PowerPoint presentation in the group study room on the 2nd floor.
  • Check out the art in the Mudd Gallery on the 3rd floor during a study break.
  • Cozy up to read or nap in one of our beanbag chairs! There are three spread out across the upper floors.
  • Browse the free book shelf on the 2nd floor. You can find some great music there as well!
  • Catch up on domestic or international current events with a newspaper.
  • Hide away for some quiet study among the bound periodicals on level A.
  • Visit the Circulation Desk to check out a locker for your research materials. Or check out the Wii for the weekend!
  • Gather some friends for a game break: everything from Candyland to Catan can be found on the 2nd floor.
  • Pop into the Archives on Level B one afternoon and visit with Erin Dix, our friendly and informative archivist. Find out the answers to your burning questions about the history of Lawrence and Milwaukee-Downer.

Are there any other ideas that you would add to this list? How do you use the Mudd? We’d love to hear from you!

Regardless of how you use the Mudd, we look forward to seeing you soon.

The beautiful and serene Lincoln Reading Room.

Meet the Staff, Student Worker Edition: John O’Neill

With Welcome Week just around the corner, it’s time to celebrate the fabulous John O’Neill, who began working in the Mudd during Welcome Week two years ago, when he was a freshman. Little did we know how valuable and well-loved this horn performance and government major from Reno, Nevada would become.

Not only does John work tremendously hard balancing all of his roles during the academic year, he has also spent his summers working with us in the Mudd, doing all sorts of necessary and useful projects, from helping to manage our music scores and collections, to charmingly modeling for social media posts. Summer would not be the same without John, who is always ready to lend a hand. Read on to learn more about this wonderful and talented student worker!

What is your job title at the Mudd and what work does that entail?

I am a student shelving assistant in the score section, which means that I keep the area organized and shelve everything that circulates. I have also worked at the circulation desk over breaks and have done some cataloging work with Antoinette Powell, the music librarian.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

I really love fixing up and erasing some of our “extra loved” scores because it tells me how much students use the score collection.

Share something you’ve done at work that has made you especially proud.

Very recently someone asked how many feet of CDs we would have if they were laid end-to-end. It was really fun and satisfying to figure out the answer.

As a student, where is your favorite (study/relaxation/hang-out) spot in the Mudd?

I usually head straight for the middle of the stacks on the third and fourth floors, although the “fishbowl” on the 2nd floor is also a great place to work.

What are your hobbies?

Collecting vinyls, reading, putting together puzzles, and baking when I can.

What’s the last book you read that you couldn’t put down?

Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man

What are your favorite bands or performers?

The Beatles, Chicago

How about your favorite blogs and/or magazines?

The Atlantic Weekly, New York Times, the Horn Call, and the Mudd’s blog (of course!)

What groups and/or organizations are you active in (on or off campus)?

I am active with Lawrence’s Young Democrats, Lawrence’s Quizbowl Team, and several chamber groups in the conservatory.

When will you graduate? What are your post-graduation plans?

Since I will be a fifth year and I’m only a junior, I won’t graduate until 2018!

 

 

Mozart Visits the Mudd Library

The Mudd Library was recently given the unique opportunity to exhibit an original Mozart manuscript. Technically speaking, it was an autograph (meaning Mozart wrote it himself) leaf (one page, double-sided) from one of his compositions.

To share this artifact with Lawrence students, Music Librarian and Associate Professor Antoinette Powell, and Director of Technical Services and Assistant Professor Jill Thomas put together a presentation focusing on not just the manuscript, but also historical background to put it in context. Antoinette explains:

“By researching and examining the leaf, Jill and I were able to talk about Mozart’s compositional style, the types of materials he used, the history of western Europe at that time and daily life in Salzburg. It was an extraordinary opportunity for students and faculty to see something Mozart touched.”

All of the books Antoinette and Jill used to conduct the research about the score and its historical context came from the Mudd’s collection. Their extensive research revolved around:

  • the work itself
  • the circumstances of its creation. Mozart wrote it for a family friend who was graduating from college. It was Finalmusik, which is music to be performed outdoors to honor the professors at the end of the school year.
  • how the owner acquired it
  • Mozart’s life at this time (he was 17 when he wrote it in 1773)
  • European and American history in 1773. In what is now the U.S., people were wearing hats made out of raccoons and dumping tea into Boston Harbor, while in Salzburg people were wearing elegant clothes and listening to Mozart  in a refined outdoor setting.
  • the paper and ink with which the work was created, including the differences in paper over the past 400 years

The title of the work is Serenata (Serenade in D major, K. 185.) The leaf we had on loan is from the fourth movement, Menuetto – Trio.   It contained the final 10 measures of the menuetto on one side and the first 16 measures of the trio on the other.

Over 60 people viewed the item over four days in the Milwaukee-Downer room in the Mudd Library. The students and faculty  were primarily from music composition and theory classes in the Conservatory. The students saw the autograph and were able to compare it to a modern published edition, as well as other pieces that were published around the same time and after to analyze the differences in paper making. Antoinette and Jill also showed the students what can be learned about Mozart’s process of composition by examining the leaf, including:

  • he worked fast
  • the composition was completed in his head before he put the pen to paper
  • at this time he was traveling a lot and preferred using small-format paper

The thoughtful owner of the leaf is a Lawrence University alum from the class of 2010. Although it has been returned to its owner, we are grateful to have had this unique opportunity to share such a rare piece of history with students at Lawrence.

Celebrating the Holidays!

007 (Medium)Are you looking for some holiday cheer? Check out the Mudd’s impressive collection of holiday books, CDs, movies, and more!

We have a varied and extensive  selection of  holiday favorites, sure to fill your home with joy and mirth, regardless of how you choose to celebrate the season. Grab your family and some hot chocolate and hunker down to enjoy a classic holiday movie such as A Christmas Story, The Nightmare Before Christmas, A Christmas Carol, or It’s a Wonderful Life. Enjoy the magic of The Nutcracker as you wrap gifts, or decorate your tree to the sounds of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Light some candles and learn more about Kwanzaa or the history and meaning  behind popular Christmas traditions, or relax with some Yule and Winter Solstice-inspired refrains. Gather around the fire for a read-aloud of Christmas poetry by Dylan Thomas or Maya Angelou. Counteract the stress of your holiday shopping with the hilarious Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris or You Better Not Cry by Augusten Burroughs.

Check out our Pinterest page to see an assortment of the holiday materials we have available for checkout. Or, stop by the Mudd to hang out; the library is a cozy, quiet oasis in the midst of whipping winds and holiday bustle.

All of us at the Mudd wish you and your family the very best this holiday season!

It Was 50 Years Ago Today

This item appeared in the Milwaukee Journal on September 5, 1964: “Let it be graven on tablets of jade that at 9:10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4, in the year of our Lord 1964, the Beatles walked onto the stage of the Milwaukee Arena and sang a tune called, ‘I Saw Her Standing There.’” Several singers and combos had the thankless task of being warm-up acts. The entire show lasted 1 hour and 40 minutes. This was the first and only time the Beatles appeared in Wisconsin.

The Milwaukee newspapers, along with the entire population of young people and even some adults in Milwaukee, had been anticipating this event for a while. One such person was a young lass who, with her sister, chronicled the months preceding The Greatest Experience of Their Lives with scrapbooks and a count-down calendar (pictured.)calendar

If you would like to have a first-person, primary source account of The Most Significant Event in History, make your way to the Seeley G. Mudd Library and sit at the knee of your Music Librarian to learn how it really was.

Yes, in 1964 $4.50 got you in to see the Beatles.
Beatles ticket stub

Remembering the Humor of Fred Sturm

Fred SturmAll of us in the library were sad to hear of the passing of Fred Sturm, Professor of Music and Director of Jazz Studies and Improvisational Music. What Music Librarian Antoinette Powell remembers most about him is his sense of humor.

“Besides being an educator, composer and arranger, Fred was fun and he wasn’t afraid to display it in any setting.  There was the time he and Mark Urness signed up for the wedding registry on Amazon because they thought it would be a good place to let me know what CDs they wanted the library to buy.”

Professor Sturm was even able to transform something as dull as meeting minutes into something entertaining, in his Old West interpretation of a Conservatory Planning Committee meeting:

Conservatory Sodbusters Meetin’

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Present:  Marshal Black Bart Pertl, Sheriff Wyatt Stannard, “Dances With Wolves” Ament, Sundance Dreher, Hoss Sturm, Calamity Gu, Rowdy Jordheim, Annie Oakley Powell

I. Selection of recording secretary – Ah reckon it’s time fer me to put down the ol’ jug and start doin’ me some writin’

II. Approval of April 21, 2009 minutes – Black Bart threatened to shoot us all dead if we didn’t approve the gol-danged things.

III. Admission report Dances With Wolves Ament and his posse rounded up 87 flea bitten no good mule headed varmints.

IV. Swine Flu update  Black Bart said we gotta stop takin’ baths together on Saturday nights, stop steppin’ in cowpies, an’ quit chewin’ tobacckie or Doc Holliday’s gonna shoot us all dead.

V. Commencement Concert length Wyatt Earp Stannard’s tired of all that catterwallin’ and lollygaggin’ and said he’d hang anybody that dances on stage fer more’n 8 minutes.

VI. Signage on College Avenue You tenderfoots oughta be doin’ what I got planned down in Texas – Ah’m plannin’ to brand little dogies with promo like “Texas Tech’s OK Chorale 2-Night!!” and stampede through downtown Lubbock. Moooo!!

Meeting adjourned at high noon.WEE-HAH!!!, Rooster Cogburn Bjella 5.21.09

To read more stories, or to share your own, the university has set up a webpage dedicated to Professor Sturm remembrances. We’ve also set up a display in the library highlighting some of his accomplishments.

What’s So Great About the Con’s New Steinway Piano?

Steinway-Piano_newsblog
Photo courtesy of Liz Boutelle

A generous and unexpected gift of 1958 Lawrence graduate, Kim Hiett Jordan, allowed the Lawrence Conservatory’s keyboard department to purchase a new Steinway D Concert Grand Piano. You may have read about it on the Lawrence blog.

The piano, which has been placed in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel, is one of the most popular models of Steinway concert pianos. It was carefully chosen by three of the Con’s keyboard department’s members- Catherine Kautsky, Anthony Padilla, and Michael Mizrahi (pictured)- who traveled to New York City to hand-pick precisely the right instrument.

Being one of the most popular piano manufacturers with a reputation for high-quality instruments, Steinway & Sons is not an unfamiliar name.  However, for someone who lacks more specific knowledge regarding musical instruments, the importance of this newly-acquired instrument may not be entirely evident. Luckily, the Mudd has plenty of resources for those wishing to brush up on their Steinway knowledge.  We’ve compiled a few sources to look into and in addition, a brief summary of what makes a Steinway great:

In 1836, Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg assembled his first piano in his home in Seesen, Germany, thus beginning the prosperous piano company we know today as Steinway & Sons.  In 1850, he made a bold decision to sell the company and move to America with his family due to the economic recession in Germany; America offered free-enterprise and new and different manufacturing techniques.  The Steinwegs worked for a variety of American piano manufacturers before coming back together in 1853, Americanizing their name, and officially establishing the Steinway & Sons company.

There was a strong emphasis on advertising and marketing for the company, and the construction of Steinway Hall New York City’s Union Square in 1864 allowed for concerts of world-renowned pianists performing on Steinway pianos.  “The Instrument of the Immortals” became the company’s slogan for nearly a century after a young copywriter discovered that Steinways had been used by nearly every great pianist and most of the great composers since Wagner.  However, many consider the pianos manufactured between the two World Wars to be the prime models for the company, and thus, the 1920s and 30s were dubbed Steinway’s “Golden Age.”

As for the Steinway Model D, the piano was originally designed in 1883.  And amazingly, never had a formal blueprint- the specifications for the twelve thousand part piano were handed down from each generation of foremen to the next.  Construction of Steinway Concert Grands takes nearly a year to complete, even today.  But this meticulous craftsmanship has given it a reputation that it certainly lives up to.  Steinway pianos have become famous for their ability to project more sound and project it farther- the “Steinway sound” encapsulates a full, dramatic, powerful bass all the way to a clear, singing treble, making the Model D a prime example of an exquisitely crafted instrument.

 .          .          .          .           .

Sources from the Mudd Library:

Dolge, Alfred. Pianos and Their Makers: A Comprehensive History of the Development of the Piano from the Monochord to the Concert Grand Player Piano. New York: Dover Publications, 1972. Print.  (Call No.: ML652 .D6 1972)

Hafner, Katie. A Romance on Three Legs: Glenn Gould’s Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Piano. New York: Bloomsburg, 2008. Print.  (Call No.: ML417 .G68 H28 2008)

Lenehan, Michael. “The Quality of the Instrument.” The Atlantic Aug. 1982: 32-58. Print.