Thursday, May 3rd, 2012...4:23 pm
New exhibition commemorates John Milton Ward
A memorial celebrating the incredible life, teaching, scholarship and collecting of John Milton Ward is being held on Sunday, May 6 at 3pm at Paine Hall in the Harvard Department of Music, where Ward taught for over thirty years. Ward passed away on December 12, 2011.
In the 20+ years since his retirement as William Powell Mason Professor of Music, Ward acquired a collection of original music and dance materials of international significance and donated it to Harvard University libraries. The bulk of the material – thousands and thousands of items – finds its home in the Harvard Theatre Collection in Houghton Library. Yet there are also extensive collections in the Loeb Music Library.
In conjunction with the memorial, the beneficiaries of his munificence – including curators, catalogers and librarians from Loeb and Houghton – came together to create an exhibition of materials highlighting Ward’s largesse in five distinct areas. The exhibition will be on display from May 6-July 31 in the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library.
From the Houghton team, Ward Collection Cataloger Andrea Cawelti’s case presents the fruits of Ward’s active collecting in the area of ballet, as explored through the 1832 production of La Sylphide. Harvard Theatre Collection curator Luke Dennis’s case explores the processes of iteration and adaptation that so fascinated Ward by focusing on a small handful of materials he collected related to three operas and the ways they evolved from city to city and over time. The operas are Weber’s Der Freischütz, Offenbach’s La princesse de Trébizonde and Strauss’s Der Zigeunerbaron.
From the Loeb Music Library team, Robert Dennis, Recordings Librarian, assembled “Operatic Works for the French Stage,” a selection of five scores by Rossini, Verdi, Massenet, Debussy and Dukas drawn from The Ruth Neils and John Milton Ward Collection of Opera Scores, a collection of 8,000 volumes of operas, ballad operas, operettas and musicals published from the mid-18th to mid-20th centuries. Doug Freundlich, Associate Keeper of the Isham Library, curated a case exploring the lute and its variants, which were a recurring theme in Ward’s research. Freundlich’s case highlights Ward’s work on the Spanish vihuela, the humble cittern, and the lute in Elizabethan England. Rhona Freeman and Peter Laurence of the Archive of World Music (founded by Ward) present examples of ethnomusicological commercial and field recordings – both audio and visual – from Ward’s original core collection through the present. Represented are genres which cover the global map, from Anglo-American ballads, rare recordings of Carnatic music from South India, to modern-day Turkish hip-hop.