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8/5/2016 » 8/6/2016
Joint West Coast Chapter Meeting


Walter Gerboth Award
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Walter Gerboth

The Walter Gerboth Award was established in 1984 by the Music Library Association in memory of its Past President and Honorary Member Walter Gerboth. Walter Gerboth was a librarian, teacher, mentor, a leader in the Music Library Association, and a pathmaker in music librarianship. The award is made to individuals in the first five years of their library careers (professional, career paraprofessional, or independent researchers within five years of MLS/equivalent) to support research-in-progress in music or music librarianship. If an award is offered, applicants must be MLA members in good standing in order to accept. Calls for applications are issued in the spring. Awards are announced each year at the MLA Annual meeting.

Walter Gerboth (1925–1984) was Head of the Music Library and Professor in the Department of Music at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. He was instrumental in the development of what became the MARC format for machine readable cataloging of music. Active in MLA, Walter served as MLA President from 1969 to 1972, as a member-at-large on the board of directors, and chaired many of MLA committees. Walter also created many of MLA's serial publications. The Music Cataloging Bulletin was his idea, as were the MLA Index and Bibliography Series and the MLA Newsletter.

Of the many accomplishments for which Walter was most loved and admired, among the most important was his role as a mentor, initially to individuals, but ultimately to the profession of music librarianship itself. As a result of his encouragement, many of his students at Brooklyn College became music librarians. At annual MLA meetings he always acquainted himself with the newest members and saw to it that they were given responsibilities for MLA projects and committee assignments. In recognition of his stature in the profession, Walter was posthumously awarded MLA's highest honor, the 1985 MLA Citation.

The Walter Gerboth Fund, endowed by Janice Gerboth and the contributions of hundreds of MLA members, supports the Walter Gerboth Award. Few music librarians work in institutions that encourage them to conduct research by providing release time or subsidy. The Walter Gerboth Award enables MLA to recognize promising work by its newer members (a group to which Walter Gerboth gave special encouragement), to support scholarship in music bibliography and librarianship, and to honor the memory of one of MLA's most distinguished and loved members.

Donate: Standard Investments ~ Donate: Socially Responsible Investments

The application deadline for the 2017 award is Friday, July 15, 2016. Recipients will be notified in advance of the registration deadline for the MLA 2017 meeting. Applications may be submitted by email or via the webform below. Email submissions should be mailed to the Chair of the Committee, Rebecca Belford, and must be in Microsoft Word or PDF format. Application materials:

  • A description of the project and a statement about its significance
  • A detailed total budget, specifying the amount of funding requested from MLA (to a maximum of $1200) and its purpose (capital purchases are not eligible). Indicate any other sources of funding you may have already secured.
  • Two letters of recommendation—one for the project and one for yourself
  • A curriculum vita
  • Names and contact information for two additional references

Apply here 


2016 recipient:

The MLA Walter Gerboth Award goes to Dr. Sonia Archer-Capuzzo for her project "Constructing a Biography of Lev Aronson.”  The project will build toward sharing the legacy of Lev Aronson (1912-1988). He was a cellist, teacher, and composer who was born in Germany, grew up in Latvia and Russia and survived imprisonment in five concentration camps during World War II.  He then immigrated to the United States, winning a position as principal cellist of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.  Archer-Capuzzo’s research will result in the first Grove article on the influential cellist and teacher and ultimately a comprehensive biography. As Dr. Archer-Capuzzo wrote in her proposal, "Aronson's story of survival and resilience, and his passion for music and education, should not be lost." The research project includes interviews with living acquaintances and former students of Aronson's who provide a direct connection to his musical life and career. The Gerboth award will support recording and transcription of those interviews. 

Additionally, the funding will support translations of materials in Aronson’s collection located at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  Most of these materials were written in German or Yiddish, and the translations will bring this repertoire into the public realm.  Aronson corresponded extensively with cellist Rudolph Matz, with whom he co-authored The Complete Cellist, an important cello technique study.

Dr. Archer-Capuzzo holds both an MLIS (2011) and a DMA- Clarinet, secondary concentration in Ethnomusicology (2008) from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.


Past recipients and projects

2013 Jessica Nay The development of a catalog to the words of Ferdinand Praeger
2012 Bonnie E. (Beth) Fleming
A biography of visionary arts patron Betty Freeman
2011 Anna E. Kijas A bio-bibliography of pianist and composer Teresa Carreño
2010 Mac Nelson The Varga legacy: an oral history
2009 Mark Puente The development of a Music Library Association personnel characteristics survey
2008 Kristine Nelsen
A study of the working musicians of Las Vegas showrooms and lounges from the 1950s through the 1970s
2007 Michelle Lynn Oswell A database for the English lute song from 1597-1622
2006 Christopher Mehrens An investigation of American music criticism sources in the Library of Congress
No award given
2004 D.J. Hoek An updated compilation of Arthur Wenk’s Analyses of Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Music

Jennifer Oates
An exploration of Hamish MacCunn resources in Scotland and England
2003 Daniel Boomhower Bärenreiter-Verlag's Bach publications: 1923-1954
2002 John Anderies Tri-College Digital Music Initiative: Developing a core integrated collection
2001 David Hursh A census survey concerning reference services in American academic music libraries
2000 John M. Bewley A study of the scores in both the Ormandy and the Stokowski archives that were marked and/or arranged by them, to analyze their contributions (and those of their copyists)

Gary Dale Vargason, Jr. A bio-bibliography of the composer Ernst Bacon
1999 Mary DuMont A qualitative survey of reference performance at decentralized academic music libraries
1998 Deborah Herman-Morgan and Philip Ponella The role of information technology in the public services offered by academic music libraries in the United States

Kristina Shanton Research on J. Bodewalt Lampe
1997 Jennifer Ottervik A bibliography of operas incorporating jazz elements
No award given
1995 Georgina Binns An annotated bibliography of Australian patriotic and nationalistic songs to 1919

Edward Komara Charlie Patton's 1930 Paramount Records sessions
1994 Felicia Piscitelli A bibliography of Catholic hymnals published in the United States from the Second Vatican Council to the present (1965-1993)
1993 Harriette Hemmasi An augmentation of the prototype music thesaurus
1992 Pamela Bowden Dahlhauser A study of unindexed United States District Court Copyright Records
1991 Alan A. Green A bio-bibliography of American composer Allen Dwight
1990 David Hunter The preparation of bibliographic descriptions of opera and song books published in England, 1703-1726
1989 Joan Redding A descriptive catalog of the manuscript scores and musical sketches of Lennox Berkeley
1988 David A. Day
An annotated catalog of the printed and manuscript opera and ballet collection of the Théâtre de la Monnaie, housed at the Archives de la ville in Brussels
1987 Robert Richart An annotated bio-bibliography of György Ligeti
1986 Holly Ann Gardinier Bibliographic and historic research of French music and theater almanacs in the Sibley Music Library