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World Music Archives, Wesleyan University

  • Wednesday, March 13, 2024
  • 6:30 PM
  • Zoom (See Event for Details)

A man with headphones working on a computer at a desk.Photo courtesy of Wesleyan’s World Music Archives.

Title: World Music Archives, Wesleyan University

Date & Time: Wednesday, March 13th at 6:30 PM (EST)

Format: Webinar via Zoom

Join us for a virtual conversation about world music and media preservation with the team at the Wesleyan’s World Music Archives. The World Music Archives collects and preserves ethnomusicological field research and other original audio and video recordings. Look forward to learning the history behind the collection, best practices for sound/media archives, how they work with other library, archival, and object collections at Wesleyan. There will also be a collection show and tell!

Presentation will be conducted by the Director of World Music Archives and Music Librarian Aaron Bittel, Archives Assistant Jody Cormack Viswanathan, and Music Library Assistant Jennifer Thom Hadley.

This is a free, virtual webinar hosted via Zoom. Advance registration is required. Upon registering for the webinar, you will receive a confirmation via email with a link to join the webinar. 


From its origins as Prof. Emeritus David McAllester's personal fieldwork collection of Comanche and Navajo music, recorded in 1940 and 1950 and first used in teaching at Wesleyan in 1953, the World Music Archives has grown to include original field research materials from graduate students and established scholars, from Wesleyan and elsewhere, documenting human musical practices around the world.

  • well over 3000 original audio tapes (reel-to-reel tapes, cassettes, digital audio tapes, and digitally-recorded betamax)
  • approximately 700 discs (primarily 78 rpm commercial discs, but also a number of instantaneous disc records)
  • 100 videotapes in numerous formats
  • accompanying notes, texts, and indexes
  • Archival materials by and about musicians that are not field recordings, for example the John Cage Papers, are mostly held in Special Collections & Archives.

Professional headshot of Aaron M. Bittel Aaron M. Bittel is Director of the World Music Archives and Music Librarian at Wesleyan University, where he works to promote creative ways of engaging with a diverse collection of cultural heritage materials, from unique to common. Previously, he served as Archivist-Librarian and Head of Digital Projects at the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive, and was also an adjunct faculty member, teaching courses on audiovisual archives and oral history at UCLA. He has regularly contributed to the cultural collections field, especially in the areas of education and training, and research archives, as part of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC), the Music Library Association (MLA), and the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives (IASA). Aaron is also an active musician with scholarly and performing interests in free reed instruments and traditional musics of Quebec, Ireland, and the Balkans.

Professional headshot of Jennifer Thom Hadley Jennifer Thom Hadley has been a library assistant at Wesleyan University’s World Music Archives & Music Library since 1991, and has also served on the library’s Special Collections & Archives staff, which expanded her understanding of archival practices.  She holds a BA in Music and MA in world music from Wesleyan and an MLIS from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Professional headshot of Jody Cormack ViswanathanJody Cormack Viswanathan has been Archives Assistant to the director of the World Music Archives at Wesleyan since 1991. She studied and performed South Indian classical vocal music with T. Viswanathan for over twenty years, additionally specializing in the music of South Indian classical dance (Bharata Natyam) under the tutelage of T. Balasaraswati. She received her MFA in music from California Institute of the Arts in 1975, and completed her doctorate in ethnomusicology at Wesleyan in 1992. Her dissertation “Svara Kalpana: Melodic/Rhythmic Improvisation in Karnatak music” provided an analysis and comparative study of the behavior of raga, rhythm, and individual style in this form of musical improvisation. At present her interests involve both the performance and study of traditional and “ folk" music trends within the Celtic music diaspora, and she is currently in the process of writing a book on the music of prominent Anglo-Irish folk musician, Andy Irvine.


Please note that by registering and attending this event/webinar, you automatically grant your consent to be photographed and/ or video-recorded and to the release, publication, or reproduction of any and all recorded media of your appearance, voice, and name for any purpose whatsoever in perpetuity in connection with the Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York, Inc. and its initiatives, including, by way of example only, use on websites, in social media, news, newsletters, Metropolitan Archivist, and advertising.

Questions? communications@nycarchivists.org

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