Message from the Chair
Spring 2016 Meeting Summary
Secretary/Treasurer’s Report
Fall 2016 Meeting Preview
Noteworthy News
NEMLA Officers
Publication Information

Message from the Chair

Dear NEMLA members,

It’s a pleasure to greet you as the chair of NEMLA for 2016–2017. Summer is in full swing, with the long days, a slightly slower pace (at least for many of us), and maybe even some time both to travel and to unwind.  Whether your summer adventures happen in far-flung places around the globe, or you’re day-tripping to the Cape, Tanglewood, or another nearby hotspot, or even just relaxing on a quiet porch, I hope everyone finds some time to enjoy it.  New England offers a wondrous array of musical opportunities, festivals, and events that can enliven the summer months; we’ve collected information about a few of them here:

Looking back to the last few months, I’d like one more time to acknowledge the terrific team at Harvard for hosting our Spring 2016 meeting.  Amazing local host and outgoing NEMLA past chair Kerry Masteller has been a mainstay of the board and of our organization for many years, and she did incredible work to make the spring meeting happen.  The support from Sarah Adams, Lynn Sayers, Marty Schreiner, and Liza Vick was also invaluable. And Sharon Saunders’ work with the budget and registration is what makes it all function and flow together seamlessly.

With the end of the academic year, the annual turnover of the NEMLA board also occurred at the spring meeting.  Many thanks to (now Past Chair) Zoe Rath for a terrific 2015–2016 year under her leadership.  We will miss Chris Schiff as our Member-at-Large, but are pleased to welcome Jonathan Manton back, not only to New England but back to the NEMLA board, as our new Member-at-Large. Looking to the fall, Vice-Chair Jared Rex and the (slightly smaller) Program Committee are busily planning our next meeting at Bennington College, currently scheduled for October 14, 2016.

Speaking of the somewhat reduced forces on the Program Committee: NEMLA needs you!  NEMLA is one of the most active chapters in the Music Library Association, but we can only do that with the support and participation of our members, especially though committee work and hosting meetings.  The following committees are currently in need of new members: Program, Education and Outreach, Instruction, and Publications.  The Oral History committee is also reinvigorating and will be looking to long-term members who are willing to be interviewed.  You can see the work that has already been done on that project here:

Committee work is a great way to participate in the life of the organization, become more connected with your colleagues, and stay aware of activities in various parts of music librarianship in the New England region.  If you are interested, please email the chairs or one of the NEMLA board members.  And please let us know if you’re interested in hosting a future meeting!

Wishing everyone an enjoyable rest of the summer.  See you all soon!

Respectfully submitted,

Laura Stokes, Chair

Photo courtesy of Jon Manton
Slide from Dana Gee’s presentation. Photo courtesy of Jon Manton

Spring 2016 Meeting Summary

The 2016 Spring Meeting of the New England Chapter convened at Harvard University’s Lamont Library on June 3rd.  Those in attendance were treated to a program of amazing breadth and variety, a true testament to the eclectic duties and interests of our members and institutions, and to the careful selection of NEMLA’s program committee.

Following introductory remarks, the first session featured three different greater-Boston collections.  One of the key takeaways was: YOU (AND YOUR SPECIAL COLLECTIONS) ARE NOT ALONE!  Those collections that we all have nested away in boxes here and there are truly interesting, unique, and worth surfacing.  And when we do the work of cataloging and advertising we will find our audience.

A case in point was Dana Gee’s presentation on the project to locate and provide access to the plethora of American sheet music collections in the Houghton library.  As “duplicate” items were cataloged and partially digitized, they revealed both a rich and complex world of social references that is known in popular sheet music and a much richer world of performers.  Far from being duplicates, the rotogravure covers of well-known songs might feature as many as ten or more different insets of the performers that toured them in music halls.  They also opened doors on marginalized performers such as male impersonators.  For a taste, see this post on the Houghton Library Blog.

Catherine Hammer presented on The Minuetta Kessler Collection of the Boston Public Library.  Kessler’s career was in itself a near microcosm of music in the 20th Century.  A child prodigy, daughter of Russian Jewish refugees who relocated to Calgary, Kessler was a Juilliard graduate.  Her 50 year residence in Boston included a Boston Pops performance of the Grieg Piano Concerto under Arthur Fiedler.  She wrote concerti, an opera, an amazing assortment of children’s music, and a tribute to Martin Luther King.  Materials in the Boston Public Library collection include manuscripts and sketchbooks for much of her music, including her first composition “The Bears and the Children Playing on the Bridge,” to a number of pieces for Jewish services, to scores from her own music publishing business (Music Resources), to photos of her music game “Staftonia” being played by some of the many children she taught.  Those in attendance were invited to select from de-accessioned duplicates of some of Kessler’s publications – a generous and lovely gift!

Lingwei Qiu. Photo courtesy of Jon Manton

Last in this session was Lingwei Qiu’s introduction to the history of Chinese piano music, built around the 2015 publication of a 10 volume anthology celebrating the centennial.  The first published Chinese piano composition was inked by a Harvard alum, Chao Yuen Ren, but it takes sleuthing to find the score.  The initial printing was in the journal “Ke Xue = Science” published in Shanghai in 1915.  As with the previous two presentations, attendees were introduced to a world crying out to be discovered.  Though reasonably new, Chinese piano music has already gone through significant changes and obvious compositional phases, including the nationalist one that yielded Xian Xinghai’s famous Yellow River Concerto.  Attendees were able to visit the exhibit of these materials at the closing reception in the Loeb Music Library.  For images and more, please see “Along China’s Keys” in the Harvard Gazette.

The morning wrapped up with a presentation by Ronald Broude on “The Origins of Urtext.”  The concept of Urtext arises from 19th Century scholarship which renewed an interest in seeing an unedited text in the way that its creator and contemporaries saw it.  But in the years following the Second World War it has been applied by various publishers in so many different and contradictory ways as to render it almost meaningless.  Henle, Bärenreiter, and Schott all apply the term to “performing” editions which are prepared (in some cases) from the composers’ complete works editions – all showing the intervention of an editor, and many frequently including interpolations (such as fingering) which composers rarely include.  For more, please see Broude’s paper “Musical Works, Musical Texts, and Musical Editions: a Brief Overview” in the journal Scholarly Editing.

Ronald Broude. Photo courtesy of Jon Manton.
Ronald Broude. Photo courtesy of Jon Manton.

The afternoon started with the annual Business Meeting.  Treasurer Sharon Saunders gave a report confirming the chapter’s solid financial standing.  Calls were made for committee participation and the election results were revealed.  Jared Rex of Holy Cross was confirmed as NEMLA Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect and Jonathan Manton was confirmed as the Member-at-Large.  They will need your support as they seek venues, committee members, and input during the year ahead, so watch for emails concerning future needs and developments.

After a very successful year, Zoe Rath turned over the gavel to new NEMLA Chair, Laura Stokes.  Zoe will head the Nominations Committee as Past Chair.  Watch for her call for nominations in the next academic year, and in the meantime think about ways that you or your colleagues might participate.  In her first official act, Laura Stokes forcefully gaveled the session to a close.

Lunch break! Photo courtesy of Zoe Rath.
Lunch break! Photo courtesy of Zoe Rath.

The afternoon presentations were full of surprises.

Alan Karass delivered a paper based on his doctoral research in ethnomusicology: “Singing ‘Hasta Siempre, Comandante’ in Tunisia (Or, What I’ve Been Doing in Tunisia for the Last Seven Years).”  Showing just how vital and in-tune with the zeitgeist music research can be, Karass discussed how a song lauding Che Guevara has been turned into a well-known folk anthem in not-normally-Spanish-speaking Tunisia.  The recently-minted Dr. Karass’ work encompasses the time during which the Arab Spring occurred.  In a hopeful sign he talked about how Che has gone from being an aspirational figure of striving for freedom (before the Arab Spring) to a historical figure known and studied even in Tunisian high schools (after).

The last talk of the day was delivered by James Jordan: “What Is Old is made New Again: The E.M. Skinner Organ Restoration at the Church of the Transfiguration, Orleans, MA.”  As a member of the Community of Jesus, Jordan has been involved in the acquisition and reconfiguration of seventeen E. M. Skinner organs into a single (if it can be called such) instrument.  Reflecting the Community’s focus on worship through the visual and performing arts, the organ is both a musical and architectural masterpiece.  Jordan presented the history of the instrument and a tiny peek at the physical work of combining Skinner’s great organs.  Of course it takes a master to build a great organ, and Jordan dedicated a portion of his presentation to speak of the work of Nelson Barden on this project.  See their website for videos of Barden and the organ, and more on the organ project and the Church of the Transfiguration.  Those who might be on or near Cape Cod should try to schedule in a tour of the Church or one of their concerts.  It promises to be beautifully overwhelming.

Maria Jane Loizou with accompanist Tal Zilber. Photo courtesy of Zoe Rath
Maria Jane Loizou with accompanist Tal Zilber. Photo courtesy of Zoe Rath.

The program wrapped up with a triumphant concert at the Loeb Music Library by NEMLA’s own Maria Jane Loizou (accompanied by Tal Zilber).  Her selection of Lullabies and Dances started with a lullaby by Paul Bowles, followed by works by Astor Piazzola and Kurt Weill, and finished with a selection of Greek songs, including a rousing finale in the 9/8 karsilama rhythm – and yes, I did see many audience members counting 1-2, 1-2, 1-2, 1-2-3, as she sang!  It was a beautiful end to the day, and a nice transition to the closing reception next door.

With this the author turns over the duties of the Member-at-Large to Jon Manton, and I send my sincere thanks to Kerry Masteller, who is also rotating off the board this year.  Kerry: Your firm hand and good counsel have made my time on the board a joy.  Thank you.  Respectfully submitted by Chris Schiff, former Member-at-Large, and now ACTIVE member of the Education and Outreach Committee.

Closing reception. Photo courtesy of Zoe Rath.
Closing reception. Photo courtesy of Zoe Rath.

Secretary/Treasurer’s Report

NEMLA Business Meeting Minutes, June 3, 2016, Harvard University

    • Zoe Rath welcomed the first-time attendees.
    • Sharon Saunders submitted the Treasurer’s report (reproduced below).
    • Various NEMLA Committees Chairs reported on the status of the committee memberships. These included: Education and Outreach; Nominating; Program; and Oral History.  Committees are welcoming new members–please volunteer for a committee of your choice!
    • Laura Stokes put out a call for topics/programs for future meetings and also a call for volunteers to host future meeting.
    • Zoe Rath announced the election results and Kerry Masteller thanked all members who ran for election.
      • Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect: Jared Rex
      • Member-at-Large: Jonathan Manton
    • Zoe Rath turned the meeting over to incoming Chair, Laura Stokes
    • New business
      • Alan Karass talked about an archives conference that he attends. He will post information about it on NEMLA-L
      • Suzanne Lovejoy said that, as a Member-at-Large of the Music Library Association, she will take our concerns to the MLA Board

Laura Stokes adjourned the meeting

Treasurer’s Report from the Spring Business Meeting

Balances (June 1, 2016)
Savings 4,004.93
Checking 2,675.32
Total 6,680.25
Oral history grant
Beginning amount 1,000.00
Expense (3/2015) 183.00
Expenses (7/2015) 336.50
Current remaining 480.50
Checking account
Restricted funds (grant) 480.50
Unrestricted/NEMLA (non-grant) 2,194.82
Total 2,675.32
Members (57 current members)
Income from memberships paid this report period (6/1/2015-6/1/2016) 714.80
October 2015 meeting
Expenses 1,068.39
First-time attendees 139.20
Registrations 863.13
Eventbrite (meeting registrations) 111.87
Paypal (memberships paid online) 27.20


Bennington College campus. Photo courtesy of Zoe Rath.
Bennington College campus. Photo courtesy of Zoe Rath.

Fall 2016 Meeting Preview

Bennington College
Bennington, VT

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Fall NEMLA meeting will take place at Bennington College in Bennington, VT on Friday, October 14, 2016.

Bennington College, a small liberal arts institution, was founded in 1934. With a total enrollment of around 800 students, Bennington has a strong history of embracing the performing arts, especially modern dance, and continues to include the performing arts as an equal offering to its other liberal arts curriculum.

More details will be announced over the NEMLA listserv in the upcoming weeks including hotel information and a call for presentation proposals. Please e-mail Jared Rex ( if you have questions.

Special thanks to Joe Tucker from Bennington, for assisting with conference logistics, and to Marci Cohen, who is serving on the program committee.

Noteworthy News

Pam Bristah receiving flowers from NEMLA. Photo courtesy of Kerry Masteller.
Pam Bristah receiving flowers from NEMLA. Photo courtesy of Kerry Masteller.

Pam Bristah recently retired from her position as Music Librarian at Wellesley College, Bristah had worked in the Wellesley Music Library since the summer of 2000.  Before coming to Wellesley, she was Head Librarian at the Manhattan School of Music for eleven years. At Westminster Choir College, she sang in the Westminster Choir, which performed in the Spoleto Festival, both in Italy and Charleston, and with New York Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, and Boston Symphony Orchestra, among other orchestras, under Robert Shaw, Leonard Bernstein, William Steinberg, James Levine, Rafael Kubelik, and other conductors.

We will miss her but she plans to continue attending MLA meetings and looks forward to seeing us in Orlando!

Paraclete Recordings announces the release of For the Beauty of the Earth:  Celebrating Creation in Brass, Organ, and Percussion—a collection of contemporary brass works honoring Creation. From David Marlatt’s evocative Windscape and Earthscape to the brilliant and stirring hymn arrangements of James Curnow; from the echoes of space in Anthony DiLorenzo’s Luminosity to Charles Widor’s renowned Toccata arranged for organ and brass; and the beauty of Brenton Broadstock’s Benediction, each work expresses an awe and appreciation for the beauty and boundless mysteries of our universe.

The generous range of sound and colors produced by the 15-member Gabriel V Brass Ensemble and organist SharonRose Pfeiffer, worthily reflect the majesty of creation which words cannot capture.

Recorded in the superb acoustics of Mechanics Hall, Worcester, MA, and it’s famous Worcester Organ, this disc gives the listener the full experience of hearing the brilliance of these works and the vibrant artistry of Gabriel V Brass Ensemble and organist SharonRose Pfeiffer.

NEMLA Officers

Laura Stokes
Performing Arts Librarian
Orwig Music Library
Brown University
Providence, RI 02912
laura_stokes at
Office: (401) 863-3999

Jared Rex
Music Librarian
Fenwick Music Library
College of the Holy Cross
1 College Street
Worcester, MA 01610
(508) 793-2295

Past Chair:
Zoe Rath
Reference Librarian ILL Service
Stan Getz Library
Berklee College of Music
1140 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02215
zrath at berklee dot edu

Sharon Saunders
Bates College Library
48 Campus Ave
Lewiston, ME 04240
ssaunder at

Jonathan Manton
Music Librarian for Access Services
Irving S. Gilmore Music Library
Yale University
120 High Street
PO Box 208240
New Haven, CT 06520
jonathan.manton at
T: 203-432-5549

Newsletter Editor:
Maryalice Perrin-Mohr
Archivist/Records Manager
New England Conservatory
Spaulding Library
290 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
m.perrin-mohr at
(617) 585-1252

NEMLA Archivist:
Sofia Becerra-Licha
Stan Getz Library
Berklee College of Music
1140 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02215
sbecerralicha at
Office: (617)747-8001

Web Page Editor:
Sarah Hunter
Electronic Inventory Manager
Metadata Services Department
Boston University
771 Commonwealth Ave.
Boston, MA 02215
shunter at
Office: (617)353-5810

New NEMLA Officers. Photo courtesy of Zoe Rath
New NEMLA Officers. Photo courtesy of Zoe Rath

Publication Information:

New England Quarter Notes is published quarterly in September, December, March/April and June/July.
Back issues may be accessed from:

Address all correspondence concerning editorial matters to:
Maryalice Perrin-Mohr
m.perrin-mohr at

Inquiries concerning subscription, membership and change of address should be directed to:
Sharon Saunders
ssaunder at

Membership year runs September to August.
Regular Personal Membership:$12.00
Student and Retired Membership:$6.00
Institutional Membership$16.00

Return to the New England Music Library Association home page.