92nd Street Y Presents an Online Archive of Recordings
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Posted by: Minji Kim
Help us congratulate ISPA member organization 92nd Street Y on its launching of 92Y On Demand, an online portal that makes parts of its collection available free to the public
That collection includes audio and video recordings of more than 10,000 events, going back to 1949, from the classical music recitals to literary events and pop performances. The below articles was published on Thursday, November 21, 2013 in the New York Times ArtsBeat blog. Enjoy the full article on the original New York Times Website, or re-produced below.
If you have attended concerts, poetry readings and public interviews at the 92nd Street Y and noticed microphones suspended over the stage that were clearly for archival recording rather than amplification, you may have caught yourself daydreaming about the treasures the Y’s archives must hold.
That collection, it turns out, includes audio and video recordings of more than 10,000 events, going back to 1949, among them, not only the classical music recitals and chamber concerts that have long been a mainstay of the Y’s arts programming, but also literary events — readings by Dylan Thomas, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Vladimir Nabokov and Susan Sontag — and pop performances by Joan Baez, Leonard Cohen, the Shirelles and others.
Since the summer, the Y has been quietly experimenting with 92yondemand.org — an online portal that makes parts of its collection available free to the public, letting web surfers who stumble onto it (some by way of its "75 at 75” series, which pairs recordings of readings with new essays, to celebrate the Poetry Center’s 75th anniversary) test the search engine and controls as new recordings were added.
Now the Y has 1,000 shows ready to stream, and on Thursday it is opening the site — that is, openly courting visitors — by featuring a handful of recordings it has just posted: Pablo Neruda’s first public reading in the United States, from 1966; a 1976 performance by the chamber group Tashi, with the world premiere of a Charles Wuorinen work named for the group; two 1977 performances by the Tokyo String Quartet; a 1976 recital by the violinist Henryk Szeryng; and a 1991 recital by the pianist Alfred Brendel.
Besides listening to the featured performances, you can search for others — a 1980 Andrés Segovia recital, for example; or Anthony DeCurtis’s interviews with Lou Reed (2006), Mos Def (2008) or Sting (on Oct. 30); Doris Lessing reading excerpts from "The Grandmothers: Four Short Novels” (2004); or Paul McCartney reading his poetry (2003).
A spokesman for the Y said that the center planned to add new recordings weekly, but could not say whether all 10,000 items would eventually be posted because in some cases the rights have not yet been negotiated.