Lisa Chaufty, University of Utah
As the conductor of the Utah Symphony from 1949 until 1979, Maurice Abravanel built the symphony from a struggling community orchestra into the 52-week per season powerhouse it is today. Abravanel’s recordings with the Utah Symphony—particularly his Mahler symphony recordings—extended his reputation from the United States to the international scene.
The McKay Music Library at the University of Utah holds the maestro’s collection of personal conducting scores and books. To coincide with the Utah Symphony’s 75th Anniversary celebration (2015-2016), the McKay began digitizing Maurice Abravanel’s annotated scores of the Mahler symphonies, forming the heart of the Abravanel Studio Digital Collection.
Opportunities to contextualize the maestro’s score annotations arose as the McKay, in partnership with the Utah Symphony, began a sister project: a set of oral history interviews with musicians who had performed under Abravanel.
In addition to highlighting how the two projects intertwined to illuminate the creative mind of a great conductor, this presentation aims to chronicle one music library’s journey to create, preserve, and promote a unique digital collection.