Library receives Recordings at Risk grant to preserve Cabrillo Festival tapes

UC Santa Cruz is one of seven recipients of a pilot grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). The Recordings at Risk award is designed to support the preservation of rare and unique audio content of high scholarly value.

The University Library’s Special Collections will use the grant to digitize 69 open-reel audiotapes of live music performances from the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music.

These recordings were originally made by Berkeley community radio station KPFA. They were later transferred to the Bay Area music non-profit organization, Other Minds, which last year donated its archives to UC Santa Cruz. The reel-to-reel tape format is particularly susceptible to degradation, and this grant ensures that the recordings will be preserved for future use.

These recordings provide insights into the early creative processes of composers and artists who are recognized influencers of American new music. They will be made available on demand to patrons both on-site and via remote access.

“This material allows us to glimpse into the intersection of experimental new music and progressive independent radio, which converged at the Cabrillo Music Festival," said archivist Kate Dundon of Special Collections & Archives. "We anticipate that it will be used by musicologists, historians, composers, students, and others interested in experimental and avant-garde music.”

”For this grant, we worked with Other Minds to select several world premieres of European composers at the Cabrillo Festival from 1965, 1967, and 1982, as well as a few John Cage pieces," Dundon added. "We anticipate that the recordings will be available to researchers in April 2018.”