- Notes for Notes
The Oberlin Conservatory Library has received the collection of Frederick (Eric) R. Selch (1930–2002) given by his wife, Patricia Bakwin Selch, and their family. While Eric Selch established a distinguished career in advertising for the J. Walter Thompson agency in Britain from the mid 50s to the mid 70s, he began collecting musical instruments and books, traveling often and acquiring instruments, books, and artwork along the way. The Selch collection contains instruments and writings representing all corners of the world, but American music is its focus. At the time of Eric's passing in 2002, he had amassed a collection of 700 instruments as well as 6,000 books, manuscripts, and printed music, together with paintings, prints, drawings, and photographs that depict the history, design and use of musical instruments. "Although he took pride in not paying excessive prices for instruments, he spent lavishly when necessary to obtain a book that would fill a gap in his library," according to Laurence Libin, curator of musical instruments at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in his foreword to The Legacy of Sebastian Virdung: An Illustrated Catalogue of Rare Books from the Frederick R. Selch Collection (p. x). Two examples include: Heinrich Loritus's (better known as Glareanus) treatise, Dodecachordon (Basel, 1547), a treatise in part that explores a system of ecclesiastical modes, and which in turn, influenced such writers as Gioseffo Zarlino, whose Istitutioni Harmoniche (Venice, 1558) can also be found in Selch's collection (catalog, pp.18–21). In addition to exhibits at the Grolier Club, selections from the Selch collection have been displayed at the Goethe Institute in Boston, the University of Chicago, and the Philip Morris branch of the Whitney Museum of American Art among others. In 1971, Selch helped found the American Musical Instrument Society and its journal, serving as the society's president 1977–81. In 1976, he instituted and performed in the Federal Music Society, a twenty-six-member ensemble specializing in music of the American Colonial-Federal period (1775–1830) that played over seventy concerts in the decade of its existence. From 1983 to 1989, he was the owner, editor, and publisher of the monthly music magazine, Ovation. The legacy of Eric Selch will be celebrated not only through his collection, but also through an endowed professorship of musicology and the institution of the Frederick R. Selch Center for American Music at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. [End Page 292]
Recently President Barack Obama awarded the 2009 National Medal of the Arts to the Oberlin Conservatory in recognition of the wealth and depth of its creative expressions. This spring marked another milepost in Conservatory history when a fourth building was added to the complex. Noted for its gold LEED standard design and as the new home for the Conservatory's jazz program and recording studio, the Bertram and Judith Kohl Building will also house the Conservatory Library's special collections in a specially-designed vault. The Kohl Building was dedicated during the first weekend in May with events including presentations and concerts by Stevie Wonder and Bill and Camille Cosby who also received honorary doctorates from the college.
Oberlin Conservatory Library
From the new editor. In his first issue as editor, Richard Griscom offered readers a firsthand perspective (written in first person plural) on his training with his predecessor Dan Zager titled provocatively "How much work goes into editing an issue of Notes?" (December 1997). He then described his team's observations on what I compute as more than eleven feet of paper files, representing five years of Dan's editorship of the journal. In just one measure of how MLA's journal continues to evolve, I received one computer disc and two small boxes of paper files (approximately three feet) from outgoing editor Jim Cassaro to aid in my stewardship of the journal. The transition from paper to electronic was just one of many notable achievements in Jim's six-year tenure as editor. In his farewell note (September 2010), he likened his tenure to performing in a three-act play. I will therefore begin my editorship by leading a standing ovation for Jim's superb performance as...