The library's Orchestrations collection is one of the only public collections of orchestral scores and parts in California, and, to our knowledge, the largest such collection west of the Mississippi. Our orchestral music collection contains scores and parts that are loaned to orchestras and performing groups in Southern California. The service area includes the following ten counties: Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange, Los Angeles, Kern, and Imperial.
The orchestrations collection began in 1934, when Montana copper magnate, William Andrews Clark, Jr. willed the library his collection of orchestral scores and parts. Clark was the first benefactor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, and he provided the funds that started and sustained it in its early years. Clark was also a benefactor of the Los Angeles Public Library’s Art & Music Department. His gift of 752 works formed the core of the library’s current collection of orchestral scores and parts.
Expansion to the collection came in 1948 with the purchase of the Earl Wilson Music Library, and in 1980 the library received a grant from the Chevron Oil Corporation in the amount of $75,000 to be used exclusively for the orchestral score collection. With this gift, 600 compositions were added to the collection. The Art Department currently has about 2,400 individual orchestral titles with parts and about 6,000 total orchestrations. With an average of about fifty parts to each work, this figures to about 300,000 pieces of music.
Currently, about 300 organizations have Orchestrations accounts through which they borrow from the collection. These include choral groups, opera societies, community orchestras, chamber groups, church choirs, college, university, and high school orchestras, and even TV and film studios. For many groups, the library’s collection forms the backbone or in some cases the only source of music for their performances.
The hours of service for the Orchestration Desk are Monday through Thursday 12 noon - 7 p.m., Friday & Saturday 12 noon - 5:00 p.m., and Sunday 1:00 - 4:30 p.m.
For more information on our orchestral collection, including how to open up an orchestrations account and check out procedures, please contact the Orchestration Desk directly at 213-228-7231.