Rare collection of recordings by Anthony Braxton enters library’s digital collections

  • Black man with short grey hair and wireless round glasses blows into brass wind instrument in front of music stand with silver microphone in upper right overhead.
    Anthony Braxton, 2012
September 7, 2023

The Irving S. Gilmore Music Library partnered with the Tri-Centric Foundation to digitally preserve and provide online access to a treasure trove of rare archival material: 751 audio and video recordings by Anthony Braxton, one of the most prominent and ground-breaking composers and musicians of the 20th and 21st centuries.

“This is perhaps the most notable collection of Anthony Braxton’s recordings anywhere in the world,” said Jonathan Manton, director of digital special collections and access at Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

“Thanks to the efforts of Digital Special Collections and Access staff members Christy Bailey-Tomecek, librarian for AV Access Services, and Tracy MacMath, manager of Digital Accessibility and Design, this collection is now available online for teaching, learning, and research both here at Yale, and across the world.”

Recordings at Risk

In 2019, the Gilmore Music Library and Tri-Centric Foundation secured a grant from Recordings at Risk (RAR), a program sponsored by the Council on Library and Information Resources.

The Tri-Centric Foundation was founded to support the work and legacy of Braxton, named a MacArthur Fellow in 1994 and a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master in 2014. The foundation preserves and disseminates materials in a massive archive of Braxton’s scores, recordings, and writings, production of performances, and pedagogy.

The successful grant request was for funding to preserve “rare and unique audio, audiovisual, and other time-based media of high scholarly value through digital reformatting,” spanning from 1970 to 2011. The project, dubbed the Braxton75 Archival Recordings Project, was launched to honor Braxton’s 75th birthday in 2020.

Archives at Yale

Tri-Centric donated digitized copies of these hundreds of recordings to Yale Library in 2021, where they were digitally preserved and are now discoverable through Archives at Yale. The original recordings are housed at the Tri-Centric Archive in New Haven.

Recordings from this collection are available to stream online via Aviary, Yale Library’s audiovisual access system. Recordings for which Anthony Braxton and/or the Tri-Centric Foundation own or have otherwise secured full intellectual property rights to are openly available without restriction. All other recordings are available to Yale users by logging into Aviary using their Yale University ID; non-Yale users can request access directly through Aviary.

Search and stream the Anthony Braxton Recordings Collection in Archives at Yale.

Learn more about the Tri-Centric Foundation.

—Deborah Cannarella

Image: Anthony Braxton at Roulette, Brooklyn, New York, 2012. Photo by Chris Jonas