June 22, 2001 University of Utah representatives, music
lovers and community supporters will gather on Sat., June 23 to
celebrate the dedication of a new music library that, in addition
to providing a stimulating study space and computer and technology
lab for students, will house a remarkable, rare music collection
for public enjoyment and research.
An open house for the library, named in honor of Emma Ray Riggs McKay,
is scheduled from 5:30 until 7:30 p.m., and the dedication begins at 6:00.
Representatives from the McKay family and the S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney
Foundation will join Music Department Chair Edgar Thompson, Music Director
April Greenan, and Fred Esplin, vice president for university relations
to celebrate the opening of Utahs newest cultural treasure. Joyce
Bennett, wife of Utahs Senator Robert F. Bennett, will perform in
a flute trio, along with the Universitys honors string quartet.
The library is one of the many extraordinary things to come out
of the renovation and construction of the new David P. Gardner Hall,
according to Thompson. This is the first time in the history of
the department that the majority of music resources are located and accessible
right within our own building.
The library will not only be used by university students as a place to
study, but will also be a research and resource center for all music lovers
and scholars worldwide. The entire collection of manuscripts, music scores,
and photos are currently being indexed and will be available online starting
Sat, June 23 at www.lib.music.utah.edu
I am thrilled by the amazing community support we have seen for
this project, said Thompson. The financial support from the
McKay family and the Quinney Foundation, in particular, has been outstanding
and our gratitude to them has no bounds.
April Greenan commented that, The generous gift from the McKay family
has made it possible to build and establish this marvelous library and
museum. And the support from the Quinney Foundation will allow us to acquire
books, scores, and recordings in perpetuity, to ensure that the library
survives and thrives.
Greenan added that, It is very fitting we name the library in honor
of Emma Ray Riggs McKay (known as Ray to her friends and family), who
was an accomplished musician and lifetime supporter of musical endeavors
at the U. Not only are we celebrating the dedication on her birthday,
but she was born in 1887, the year Thomas Edison introduced his phonograph.
Born in 1887 to Emma Louise Robbins and Obadiah H. Riggs, who were teachers
at the U of U, Ray was [according to her fathers memoirs] a
ray of sunshine entering our home. She had a fine contralto voice
and often joined her four brothers in singing performances. She spent
hours practicing on the piano under the guidance of her mother, who taught
music at the university. Before finishing college, she moved to Cincinnati
and enrolled in the Conservatory of Music, majoring in piano.
Ray eventually returned to Utah and was one of six students who graduated
from the U in 1898. Following graduation, she accepted a teaching position
at Madison Elementary in Ogden. In 1901, she married David O. McKay, future
president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Ray insisted
their seven children learn to play the piano, and often accompanied her
sons on their
instruments. Ray, her husband, their seven children and their spouses
all graduated from the U.
The McKay Music Library contains the Maurice Abravanel Studio (dedicated
last October), the S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney Reading Area, the Mariska
Aldrich Memorial Archive and the Walter and Helene Druke Shaw Collection.
The library will also display on a rotating semester basis work by students
in the universitys art department. We are excited about collaborating
with the art department to display university students work,
stated Greenan. Several music students will join art students on an advisory
committee to determine which art goes up and when. It is exciting
to see the emphasis on interdisciplinary efforts. It helps our students
not to be so encapsulated, and it provides an opportunity for art students
to see first-hand the process involved in getting their work up and displayed.
The library contains thousands of scores, manuscripts, recordings and
musical equipment in the collections previously mentioned. A sampling
of inventory includes: a Bosendorfer piano that plays piano rolls and
has an mechanical attachment to convert the rolls into CDs; over 10,000
LP recordings, many of which capture rare, historical and cultural events
such as the Apollo landing and presidential speeches; piano rolls featuring
music from Gershwin, Bartok and Debussey; and 40,000 scores, many of which
are on rare wax irreplaceable cylinders, and include original recordings
from Thomas Edison.
Summer hours for the library are weekdays from 9:00 until 6:00 p.m. and
Saturdays from 10:00 until 5:00 p.m. For more information about library
resources and hours call (801) 581-6691.