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First Floor (Plaza Level)
Phone: (212) 870-1624
Fully accessible to wheelchairs
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The Orchestra Collection is located on the first floor of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, just past the elevators and the copy room. Due to the specialized nature of the Collection, access is limited to four hours per week and is only open during the concert season, September through June. Materials for summer loan are checked out during the month of June and must be returned before or on the September due date. For more information see Summer Loan.
The Orchestra Collection contains scores and parts for orchestral, choral, operatic, and solo vocal works, representing over 2,000 works in the standard orchestral repertory. It is a fee-based lending library for use by professional, student, and community orchestras. Fees are charged on a sliding scale depending on the status of an orchestra's members as either professionals or amateurs, and the number of items borrowed.
Holdings of the Collection are now found within the main NYPL Catalog. Here is the procedure for searching:
- Go to the Classic Catalog.
- Choose keyword and then type "orchestra collection" (in quotes) and the name of the composer and/or piece you want (e.g., "orchestra collection" beethoven mount olives)
- In this instance you see one result, as the holdings contain one set of Beethoven's Christ on the Mount of Olives, op.85—also note, if the set was checked out you would see a due date.
- If you want to browse the collection (which is rather large, at over 2,000 sets) you can simply search "orchestra collection" in the author field and you will see our complete holdings.
- Keyword searches will be the most valuable. Other ways to use the keyword search: "orchestra collection" concerto flute, will show all the flute concerti in the collection; "orchestra collection" christmas will show all the Christmas-related holdings.
The Orchestra Collection lends materials to organizations, not individuals. We require representatives of the orchestra, typically conductors or librarians, to apply for use of the collection on the official stationery of the orchestra or its sponsor. Application for borrowing privileges includes payment of a nominal fee, and must be renewed annually (see our collection's Information and Rules page for the fee scedule). You will need to bring three items on the day you register:
A letter, on the organization's stationery, granting specific orchestra members permission to borrow material from the Orchestra Collection on their behalf.
- Either a check made out to "NYPL Orchestra Collection" or cash is acceptable, but be sure to bring exact change.
- A current ID.
- If the group has registered in the past, you will need to bring the organization's library card as well.
There is no interlibrary loan for this department.
Use of collection
Only registered users may pick up and return material. Borrowing is limited to complete sets of orchestra music. Individual instrumental parts are not available for loan. The Orchestra Collection's rules spell out all of our policies and procedures.