11 Classical Music Highlights From the NYPL Digital Archives

The Brooklyn Academy of Music, 1882 (Public Domain/From the New York Public Library)
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Once the esoteric pursuit of historians and library nerds, interest in archival photography has skyrocketed recently thanks to digital-forward research libraries as well as social media websites like InstagramRetronaut and Vintage Everyday.

Last week, the New York Public Library did its part in a big way, releasing over 180,000 digital images for public use on its Digital Collections website. So I took a test drive. Below is a small sample of what you can find with a few classical music-focused keyword searches. Check out my Pinterest page for more examples from the NYPL.

Stephen Sondheim on piano with Leonard Bernstein and Carol Lawrence (on far right) standing amongst female singers rehearsing for the stage production West Side Story (The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1957).
Stephen Sondheim on piano with Leonard Bernstein and Carol Lawrence (on far right) standing amongst female singers rehearsing for the stage production “West Side Story” in 1957 (The New York Public Library Digital Collections/Public Domain).

 

Carnegie Music Hall, in 1908. New York Public Library Digital Collections
Carnegie Music Hall, in 1908. Note how the awning extended to the curb of West 57th Street. (New York Public Library Digital Collections/Public Domain.)

 

Carnegie Hall, c. 1910-1915. (Public Domain/From the New York Public Library)
One of several exterior shots of Carnegie Hall in the archives, this photographed between 1910 and 1915. (Public Domain/From the New York Public Library Digital Collections.)

 

Metropolitan Opera, 1910 (Public Domain/From the New York Public Library)
An illustration of the Metropolitan Opera in 1910 (Public Domain/The New York Public Library Digital Collections).

 

In The Metropolitan Opera House : Scene From Die Meistersinger, 1898 (Public Domain/From the New York Public Library)
An illustration of the boxes at the Metropolitan Opera House. Patrons watch Wagner’s Die Meistersinger – and each other – in 1898 (Public Domain/The New York Public Library Digital Collections).

 

The Old Metropolitan Opera House, 1914 (Public Domain/From the New York Public Library)
The old Metropolitan Opera House, at 39th Street and Broadway, in 1914. (Public Domain/The New York Public Library Digital Collections).

 

Symphony Hall, Boston, 1903-1904 (NYPL/Public Domain)
An illustration of Symphony Hall in Boston, made between 1903 and 1904 (The New York Public Library Digital Collections/Public Domain).

 

Bruno Walter conducting the Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra (NYPL/Public Domain)
Bruno Walter conducts the Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra, 1945 (The New York Public Library Digital Collections/Public Domain).

 

Igor Stravinsky with pianist Nicholas Kopeikine at rehearsal of New York City Ballet production of "Agon", choreography by George Balanchine (New York, 1957). (NYPL/Public Domain)
Igor Stravinsky with pianist Nicholas Kopeikine at rehearsal of New York City Ballet production of “Agon”, choreography by George Balanchine in 1957. (The New York Public Library Digital Collections/Public Domain)

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