The Archives of the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center

This article presents a brief history of the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center (CPEMC), and an overview of its archives. The Center was one of the earliest and most influential centers of electronic music in the United States, especially during the decade or so after its founding. Established in 1959, assisted by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, it was a joint venture between Columbia and Princeton Universities, directed by composers Otto Luening and Vladimir Ussachevsky (representing Columbia), and Milton Babbitt and Roger Sessions (representing Princeton). The Center was active in supporting the work of many domestic and international composers wishing to work in electronic media, and was the locus for the composition of many important and influential works of electronic music. The Center also housed the RCA MKII synthesizer, the first programmable music synthesizer. The archives of the Center consist of roughly 80 percent sound recordings, principally reel-to-reel tapes, including original recordings of the concerts of the Composers’ Forum from 1951 to the mid-1970s. The remaining holdings include documents; manuscripts; technical manuals and blueprints, music manuscripts, sketches, and scores; bibliographies and discographies; photographs; slides; a small amount of correspondence; administrative records; and ephemera. The Center is still active today, as the Columbia University Computer Music Center. The archives have been recently deeded to the Columbia University Libraries, and some processing and preservation work has commenced.

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Link To Audio Files At UbuWeb: AGP123 – US Electronic Music IV | Columbia-Princeton