Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Editorial: The United States should support the the Arnold Schönberg Estate for Memory of the World

Schönberg Hall at UCLA

The Government of Austria has proposed the Arnold Schönberg estate for inclusion in the Memory of the World Register for 2011. I strongly recommend that the United States Government join with Austria in sponsoring this action. Arnold Schönberg sought refuge from the Nazi government by moving to the United States in the 1930s. He lived in Los Angeles from 1934 until his death in 1951. He taught at both the University of California at Los Angeles and the University of Southern California. He had an great influence on many composers worldwide, but notably during his time in the United States he taught and influenced many American composers.

Each of the universities named the building housing its music department after him. There exists an archive of materials related to his time in the United States at UCLA, and an archive of his correspondence at the Library of Congress. The major archive of his work was housed at the University of Southern California for a quarter of a century before the Arnold Schönberg family moved it to the Arnold Schönberg Center in Vienna. The U.S.C. library in its history of the archive states:
During its 25-year existence, the Institute Archive supported the research of thousands of researchers and scholars--hosting an average of 86 on-site researchers per year (whose average stay was 3 days each), and responding to more than 570 off-site requests for information per year (about 200 letters, 150 telephone inquiries, 90 faxes, and 140 e-mails). The Archive also provided hundreds of thousands of pages of photocopies and thousands of photographs (as well as other materials such as books, films, videos, and microfilm) to users over this period of time.
I would recommend that the United States delegation to UNESCO discuss the possibility of a joint sponsorship of the archive with the Austrian delegation, considering adding the archives in the United States to those in Austria for inclusion in the Representative List.

John Daly
The opinion presented in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Americans for UNESCO.

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