Browse through all of our archival programs. Read about the project here.
Directed by archivist Andy Lanset, the department provides a central repository for thousands of audio recordings, photographs, memorabilia, reports, news items, program guides, institutional records, and promotional materials.
Among its holdings are more than 50,000 recordings in a variety of formats, from early lacquer and acetate discs, to reel-to-reel tapes, to digital audio tapes and compact discs.
From the March, 1941 WQXR Program Guide:
The magic of radio has broadened the ranks of the Metropolitan Opera audience until it extends from coast to coast and beyond to the countries of South America. But radio has not been able to bring back to our stage the great voices of the past which were stilled before opera performances went on the air, nor can it repeat an opera again and again to satisfy the appetite of the enthusiast.
From the January, 1941 WQXR Program Guide:
Mr. Ganz is conductor of the Young People's Chorus of the New York Philharmonic-Symphony Society. He is a pioneer in the field of children's concerts, having directed such concerts for the past eighteen years. The Young People's Concerts from Town Hall, New York, January 13th and February 17th at 3:45 P.M. will be broadcast by WQXR.
The late Paul Fussell (1924-2012) was a noted cultural and literary historian, who taught at Rutgers and the University of Pennsylvania. He wrote about such diverse subjects as Samuel Johnson, travel, and the American class system. His numerous books include Poetic Meter and Poetic Form, The Great War and Modern Memory (for which he won a National Book Award), and The American Infantry in Northwestern Europe, 1944-45. Fussell was a veteran of World War II, fighting in Europe, where he was wounded and decorated with a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.
From the April, 1941 WQXR Program Guide:
Mr. Hutcheson is President of the Juilliard School of Music in New York. In addition to being a great pianist and teacher, he is the author of numerous books on music, including the recently published "A Musical Guide to Richard Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung."
From the October, 1944 WQXR Program Guide:
The success which has attended the presentation on Broadway of new forms of music of great composers such as Bizet, Johann Strauss and Grieg has aroused a certain amount of resentment among music purists. As one of them remarked about Carmen Jones: "The orchestration of Bizet's music was expert and adequate, but I still prefer my Bizet straight, if you don't mind."
Last week we presented an allegory for retrieving audio, where we compared it to listening to a distant radio station. Of course, that is only half of what audio archivists do: the other half is to try to extend the reach of that signal into the future.
Picture yourself on a weekend retreat in a rented cabin in the woods, not far from your home. Although you love the isolation (no wi-fi, no TV), you would like to listen to your favorite radio show on Saturday afternoon¹. After looking around, you find a cheap clock radio in the bedroom and, at the appointed time, you fiddle with the (maddeningly small) tuner wheel, tune the (analog) dial, and hope that your favorite station's signal reaches your receiver's dinky little antenna.
From the October, 1942 WQXR Program Guide:
We asked Mrs. Lytle Hull to write this because she is in close touch with efforts to bring more and better music to the public. She is the Director of the Philharmonic Symphony Society, the President of the New Opera Company, and the Acting President of the Musicians Emergency Fund.
Thomas Edison's 'right hand man' praises WNYC's static-free sound in this 1936 missive.
From the October, 1943 WQXR Program Guide:
The author of this peek behind the scenes at WQXR is one of our program editors. His specialty is the lighter classics, and he knows that kind of music from Arensky to Ziehrer. Among the WQXR programs Mr. Simon produces are Just Music, The Maxwell House Dinner Concert, The American Express Cavalcade of Music and The Operetta Scrapbook.
From the February, 1943 WQXR Program Guide:
Prof. Moore as head of the Music Department of Columbia University is not only famous as an educator but also well known as a composer and writer. He is the composer of "The Devil and Daniel Webster" and as the author of "From Madrigal to Modern Music," is particularly well qualified to write on this subject.
In 1951, jazz superstar Hazel Scott boldly spoke against Jim Crow. At least a decade before Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, the former "Darling of Café Society" talked about her own hopes of a future with "all racial prejudice eliminated."