The Music Department houses a number of rich resources for student performers and scholars. There are piano practice rooms, a concert hall, electroacoustic composition studios, a sound studies lab, ethnomusicology lab, and collection of historical instruments. The Music Building also houses the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library, the primary repository of musical materials at Harvard.
The Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library is the primary repository of musical materials at Harvard. The library’s general collections include about 91,000 books, 143,000 scores, 83,000 sound recordings and video formats, and nearly 1,080 periodical titles that support research in a wide variety of musical disciplines including historical musicology, music theory, ethnomusicology, composition, and historically informed performance practice. In addition, the Isham Memorial Library houses a collection of 8,250 rare books and scores and 31,200 microforms.
Other music collections at Harvard include those of the Houghton Library (antiquarian materials); the Harvard Theatre Collection (documents and artifacts for the study of theatre, dance, and opera); Lamont Media in the Lamont Library (circulating recordings and undergraduate materials); the Andover-Harvard Theological Library (hymns and hymnology); Widener Library (materials related to A.B. Lord’s folklore studies); and The Hiphop Archive at Harvard University (part of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research).
John Knowles Paine Concert Hall (Music Building)
The 437-seat Paine Concert Hall is at the heart of the Music Department’s performance activities. The Hall houses student class recitals and concerts by the Blodgett Artists-in-Residence, the Harvard Group for New Music, the Bach and Mozart Society Orchestras, and chamber ensembles. Hydra electroacoustic concerts, solo recitals, world music and jazz performances take place there, as do lectures, conferences, and special events. The Hall, built in 1914, is an historic structure that has recently been refurbished. The acoustician Wallace Sabine, who designed Boston’s Symphony Hall, oversaw its acoustic design.
Collection of Musical Instruments
The Harvard University Collection of Instruments began with the donation of the Isham viols in 1949. It comprises objects including both Western and non-Western instruments, the Isham Collection, and a small group of musical miscellany. The Collection represents the cultures and traditions of many parts of the world including Europe, North America, the British Isles, and the mid- and far-east, especially China. The objects range from rare 17th-century lutes to Japanese kotos. Here you’ll find a piano made by Streicher & Sons of Vienna in 1869; the piano Brahms would have played. The collection also features clavichords, a William Dowd harpsichord, and a Dolmetsch clavichord once played by virtuoso Gustav Leonhardt.
Go to Collection of Instruments WEBSITE
Harvard has three primary concert halls that are available to students and the general public. John Knowles Paine Hall (see above) is located on the second floor of the music building, and is a concert hall that seats 437. Other performance venues include the beautiful 1166-seat Sanders Theatre and Lowell Hall (seats around 200), which is frequently used for jazz. Several of the Harvard houses also offer opportunities for musical performance. For instance, Dudley House hosts several graduate student music groups including a chorus, orchestra, jazz band, and traditional music ensemble.
Many of the Harvard houses also have common rooms that can be used for music performance, and multi-purpose areas such as University Hall’s Faculty Room, the Barker Center Thompson Room, the Arts at 29 Garden, and the courtyard of the Harvard Arts Museums are used for concerts as well.
Office for the Arts
The Office for the Arts at Harvard (OFA) is a central resource for arts information, opportunities, programs, and support at Harvard University. The OFA runs co-curricular arts courses such as Skills for Singing (for students who would like to improve their fundamental skills for choral singing). Learning From Performers is a visiting artist program that gives students opportunities to interact with professionals in workshops, master classes, informal discussions and other educational forums. The OFA also produces an annual, campus-wide arts festival.
Grants for artistic projects, fellowships for emerging undergraduate artists, music lesson subsidies (for students studying privately with a teacher off-campus), a jazz master residency program, and venue management and ticketing services/Harvard Box Office are some of the other initiatives sponsored by the OFA.
Sound Labs and Studios
The Sound Lab
The Sound Lab gives all Harvard affiliates access to cutting edge tools for audio capture and recording, digital media and video editing, as well as audio mixing, mastering, and restoration. It consists of four Mac-based workstations that run a variety of media production software including Avid’s ProTools and Sibelius, Apple’s Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro, Ableton Live, and Adobe’s complete Creative Cloud.
The Sound Lab also offers professional field recording equipment by Sound Devices, Rode, Earthworks, Sennheiser, Sony, Audio-Technica, and Zoom. The equipment is available for checkout with a valid Harvard ID through the Music Labs Equipment Room.
Every week during the Fall and Spring semesters, the Sound Lab offers instructional workshops on media production hardware and software. These workshops are taught by Harvard faculty and staff, as well as internationally recognized artists and producers.
Please email Christopher Danforth to be added to the Sound Lab Workshops mailing list or if you have any questions about equipment and access.
The Ethnomusicology Laboratory (EthnoLab) was created to provide technical resources to aid the ethnomusicological research of Harvard University students and faculty. It includes various types of field recording equipment, as well as a Mac-based production suite for transcribing, analyzing, editing, and publishing materials collected in the field. The EthnoLab is also equipped with the latest software and hardware for transferring analog media to a variety of digital formats for archival purposes.
Access to the EthnoLab is open to current graduate students in ethnomusicology, undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in ethnomusicology courses who require the resources of the EthnoLab for course projects, and individual students with the consent of a faculty member and upon application to the Department Administrator, subject to availability.
Questions about equipment and access should be directed to Christopher Danforth at email@example.com.
Music Labs Equipment Room
The Music Labs Equipment Room gives all Harvard affiliates access to the latest in media production equipment and hardware. The equipment is available for checkout with a valid Harvard ID.
Monday-Thursday, 10am to 12pm, and 2pm to 4pm, and also by appointment.
Closed on Weekends, Holidays and Breaks
Questions about checking out equipment should be directed to Christopher Danforth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Harvard University Studio for Electroacoustic Composition (HUSEAC)
Harvard’s electroacoustic music resources are concentrated in the Harvard University Studio for Electroacoustic Composition (HUSEAC) located in Paine Hall Rooms 22, 31, 32, and 33, with an office in Room 21.
Each Mac-based workstation has four or eight channel spatialization capability. Room 33 adds 7.1 Surround Sound, DV and HDV video editing with a DVD mastering suite. All workstations run Pro Tools, Nuendo, Max/MSP+Jitter, the IRCAM Forum suite, Csound, and much more. Our vintage Serge and Buchla analog modular synthesizers, as well as a variety of classic outboard signal processors, are housed in Room 22. The HUSEAC facilities are open to graduate composition students and those enrolled in electroacoustic music seminars.
The Hydra loudspeaker orchestra is a sound projection system designed for the performance of electroacoustic music with or without the participation of instrumentalists. A loudspeaker orchestra consists of loudspeakers distributed throughout a performance space used for the spatial diffusion of an electroacoustic work.
Harvard Group for New Music
Established in 1984, Harvard Group for New Music brings together the community of graduate composers at Harvard University. Weekly colloquia provide a platform for critical discussion with presentations from current students as well as guest speakers. Concerts by some of the world’s best musicians showcase members’ newest music throughout the year.
Piano Technical Services
Piano Technical Services (PTS) tunes, maintains, repairs, restores and rebuilds the collection of approximately 200 pianos in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. Our primary responsibility is to the Harvard University Music Department where approximately one-quarter of the keyboard collection resides. We also service Sanders Theatre, the Houses, and the many other departments where keyboard instruments are located.
The Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard
The Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard was founded by the late Paul Fromm in 1952. Since 1972, it has been located at Harvard University where it has operated in partnership with the Harvard University Music Department. Over the course of its existence, the Fromm Foundation has commissioned over 400 new compositions and their performances. The Fromm Foundation has also sponsored hundreds of new music concerts and concert series, among them Tanglewood’s Festival of Contemporary Music, American Composers Orchestra, and the Fromm Concert Series at Harvard University. The foundation has also supported a Fromm Visiting Professorship for established composers in the Department of Music, and the Paul Fromm Composer-in-Residence program at the American Academy in Rome.