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Meet George Boziwick, Chief of the Music Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

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George Boziwick holds a Master of Library Service degree from Columbia University and has been Chief of the Music Division of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts since 2006. For the previous fourteen years he was the division's Curator of American Music. He has assisted in bringing major collections to the Music Division, such as those of Arthur Berger, John Kander and Fred Ebb, Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick, Meredith Monk, the American Music Center score collection, and many others. He recently curated the exhibition "Take Me Out to the Ball Game": 100 Years of Music, Musicians, and the National Pastime. Boziwick has served on the Board of Directors and is active in both the Music Library Association and the Society for American Music. He has also contributed articles to Notes (the quarterly journal of the Music Library Association), American Music, The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, and the Routledge Encyclopedia of the Blues. Boziwick holds an MA in music composition from Hunter College and his works have been performed by such organizations and performing ensembles as The National Association of Composers, the Newport Music Festival, the Composers Concordance, and the Dorian Wind Quintet, and he was the Composer in Residence with the Goliard Ensemble for their 2005 Southwestern Music Festival tour. His Magnificat has been published by C. F. Peters, and his music has been recorded on the Opus One label. Boziwick is also an accomplished blues harmonica player, performing with a variety of groups and individuals including rhythm and blues greats Bob Gaddy, Larry Dale, and Roscoe Gordon. And don't miss the multi-talented Chief of NYPL's Music Division demonstrating his smokin' harmonica chops!

What are your favorite books?

Emily Dickinson, The Poems of Emily Dickinson

F. Scott Fitzgerald, most everything he’s written

Doris Kearns Goodwin, No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II

Roger Kahn, The Boys of Summer

Walter Lord, The Good Years: From 1900 to the First World War

David McCullough, The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge

Wallace Stevens, The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens
As a composer, I find that setting a Wallace Stevens poem inspires creativity and imagination in ways I had never before experienced.

Jan Swafford, Charles Ives: A Life with Music
I’ve read many biographies of contemporary composers but this book is a particularly powerful musical and psychological drama of one of America’s greatest and most misunderstood composers.

What are your favorite movies?

A League of Their Own, directed by Penny Marshall

The Pride of the Yankees, directed by Sam Wood

The Time of Their Lives, directed by Charles Barton and starring Abbott and Costello

To Kill a Mockingbird, directed by Robert Mulligan

What are your favorite albums/CDs?

Paul Butterfield Blues Band, East-West
His recordings were an early influence on my own playing.

Aaron Copland, Symphony No. 3, conducted by Leonard Bernstein; Roy Harris, Third Symphony, and William Schuman, Symphony No. III, conducted by Leonard Bernstein
All three of these symphonies are a wonderful introduction to what we identify as classic American concert music conducted by a classic American champion of these works.

Henry Cowell

Claude Debussy, Pelléas et Mélisande, conducted by Pierre Boulez

Maurice Duruflé, Requiem
Better than the more well-known Fauré Requiem in my opinion. A stunningly beautiful work using original chant material from the Mass for the Dead.

Bill Evans, The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings, 1961

Morton Feldman

Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers, Alphabet Blues
An exciting group performing original high-powered blues with a West Coast swing, something that as a performer I’ve found very inspiring.

Jo Stafford, G.I. Jo
Classic 1940s.

Jo Stafford, American Folk Songs

Why do you love The New York Public Library?

I like all public libraries because of what they stand for. I love the history of NYPL and the magic and breadth of the collections. Just experiencing the connections one can make between collections throughout NYPL and those of the Performing Arts Library is a daily revelation. It is also a great privilege to interact with our readers and the expert and devoted staff.

What are you currently working on?

Pianist Margaret Leng Tan and I just completed Inside the Piano, a video discussing and demonstrating some of the treasures of the Music Division. In addition, earlier this year I curated an exciting exhibition, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game": 100 Years of Music, Musicians, and the National Pastime, featuring much rarely seen material, which was on display at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts July 11–October 31. As a composer I am currently setting an Emily Dickinson poem for organ and choir.

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