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New York Philharmonic Receives $2.4 Million Grant From Leon Levy Foundation to Complete Digitization of Archives

"These archives are part, not only of the history of the Philharmonic, but also of the culture of New York City," said Shelby White, Founding Trustee of the Leon Levy Foundation. "The response of the public since 2011 has confirmed the importance of the project, and providing access to the Philharmonic's entire history will make it immeasurably more valuable for research. The Leon Levy Foundation is proud to support it."

"There are few organizations that could justify preserving the level of detail that the New York Philharmonic does," said New York Philharmonic Archivist/Historian Barbara Haws. "The history of the New York Philharmonic - a world-class entity, reflecting the power of its hometown, and known for attracting great artists and leaders over a long time span - provides a window through which our culture can be explored and examined. Recognizing that the Philharmonic's rich tradition is ongoing, the Leon Levy Foundation has generously guaranteed global access to this amazingly long narrative for generations to come. With great foresight, the Leon Levy Foundation has kept in mind future generations: just as scholars today research our history from 1864 or 1964, scholars in 2064 will be able to study Philharmonic documents being created today, allowing an evaluation and celebration of a continuous run of history far into the future."

Since its launch in February 2011, the newly named New York Philharmonic Leon Levy Digital Archives, available online at archives.nyphil.org, has generated more than 250,000 unique visitors from more than 175 countries, resulting in 1,695,000 page views, with usage growing more than five-fold from the launch, achieving an average of 5,500 hits per week. Of those 250,000 unique visitors, 62,900 researchers have returned to the site ten or more times; of those, 11,044 individuals have used the New York Philharmonic Leon Levy Digital Archives more than 200 times. This magnitude of research would not be possible without the digital availability of the material, as there would be no way to physically accommodate so many interested researchers.

Current material available in the Digital Archives includes 1,781 scores marked by Leonard Bernstein, Andre Kostelanetz, and others,15,896 music parts marked by Philharmonic musicians, 3,235 printed programs, 1943-70, 4,069 business and planning folders, and16,339 photographs and images.

All documents and the photographs themselves have been photographed - not scanned - by Ardon Bar Hama and his team using innovative and advanced techniques to achieve the highest quality. The images are managed in Alfresco, an open-source digital asset management system configured by a team of developers led by Ray Wijangco of Technology Services Group (TSG) in coordination with the Philharmonic's Digital Archives team headed by Mitch Brodsky.

The New York Philharmonic Archives, the oldest and most comprehensive collection of any symphony orchestra, contains approximately six million pages that date back to its founding in 1842, with holdings that include correspondence, business records, orchestral scores and parts, photographs, concert programs, and newspaper clippings, as well as concert and broadcast recordings dating from the 1920s.

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