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Author: linklater (Page 1 of 16)

A Collection in Bloom

Marti Epstein (1959-) is an American composer, pianist, and professor originally from Denver, Colorado and a resident of Boston, Massachusetts for most of her professional career. The Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library has acquired much of Epstein’s compositions and correspondences, partnering with Epstein to share and preserve her work. 

Portrait of the composer Marti Epstein, who is wearing glasses and smiling.

Portrait of Marti Epstein (Career Girls web site)

Epstein earned her Bachelor of Music in Composition at the University of Colorado (1982) and obtained her Master of Music in Composition (1984) and her Doctorate of Musical Arts in Composition from Boston University (1989). In addition to instructing students in composition at Berklee College of Music and the Boston Conservatory, she composes between three and five pieces a year, usually on commission. Her composition work is often for musical ensembles, including many based in New England and reaching international patrons.

This collection contains 39 scores by Epstein, many of which were completed as commissions, such as Waterbowls, composed in 1989 for Kathleen Supové and commissioned by the New England Chapter of the Music Teachers National Association. 

In addition, included in the collection are Epstein’s youthful works, pieces she composed during her studies. After her high school band teacher suggested she become a composer, she began taking lessons from Professor Robert Beadell at the University of Nebraska. 

Composer's manuscript score.

Marti Epstein, Cereal music. Ms. Coll. 181, Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library.

Composer's manuscript score.

Marti Epstein, Viennese waltz. Ms. Coll. 181, Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library.

Epstein describes her music as “unrealistic,” and many of her compositions are handwritten on large sheets of music.

Bloom, one of these pieces, is a 2009 composition commissioned for Robert Sheena and the Boston Conservatory Wind Ensemble. Prominently featuring English horn, other instruments in the piece include piano, harp, marimba, glockenspiel, vibraphone, and xylophone. The piece is separated into 10 sections, with English horn either at the forefront of the section or supporting other instruments; fast rolled chords throughout the piece represent water. 

Composer's manuscript score.

Marti Epstein, Bloom. Ms. Coll. 181, Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library.

The Marti Epstein collection of scores and recordings: approximately 1977- is now available to be scanned or viewed by appointment. To access, click on Request to Copy or Visit in HOLLIS. This collection was processed by Émilie Blondin and Christina Linklater. 

Contributed by Émilie Blondin, Class of 2025, with quotations and information from Career Girls website , Marti Epstein’s website and Wikipedia.

Welcome (back), Professor Eileen Southern

Eileen Southern, a Black woman who was a professor at Harvard University, is depicted. Professor Southern is wearing a white short-sleeved blouse smiles at the camera. Her body is turned away.

Portrait of Professor Eileen Southern. Lilian Kemp. August 4, 1986. Radcliffe College Archives PC 479-1-2.

On your next visit to the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library, take the stone steps to the second and third floors. In the stairwell, you’ll be greeted by three striking portraits of Eileen Southern (1920-2002), a professor in Harvard University’s Department of Music and Department of Afro-American Studies from 1974 to 1986. Professor Southern’s book The Music of Black Americans: A History, now in its third edition and most recently reprinted in 2022, essentially created a new academic subfield — Black music studies.

Eileen Southern, a Black woman who was a professor at Harvard University, is depicted. She is sitting at a conference table. Her book The Music of Black Americans rests in front of her. She is wearing a sleeveless dress and a printed blouse. Professor Southern is smiling.

Portrait of Eileen Southern. Martha Stewart. [197-?] Radcliffe College Archives PC 479-1-1. Image ID 4120734.

These portraits were discovered in a HOLLIS Images search for “Eileen Southern.” HOLLIS Images brings together image content from archives, museums, libraries and other collections across Harvard. High-quality images are readily available to view and download.

Eileen Southern, a Black woman who was a professor at Harvard University, is depicted. Professor Southern is smiling and laughing. She is standing in front of a chalkboard. Professor Southern is wearing a two-piece suit.

Professor Eileen Southern Standing in Front of a Chalk Board. Photographer unknown. [1976?] Radcliffe College Archives PC 479-1-4. Image ID 29864970.

Professor Southern’s childhood in Minnesota, her studies at the University of Chicago and New York University, her years of teaching at HBCUs, and her deep and innovative study of early European music and African American music are described on Eileen Southern and The Music of Black Americans, a digital exhibition created by Harvard students, faculty and staff.

Three black-and-white framed photographs are mounted on a wall. They depict Professor Eileen Southern, a faculty member at Harvard University. Professor Southern was a Black woman.

Three portraits of Professor Eileen Southern line a stairwell of the Loeb Music Library.

Contributed by Christina Linklater, Keeper of the Isham Memorial Library and Houghton Music Cataloger. Christina Linklater was co-director of the Eileen Southern Initiative.

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