Barry S. Brook and Malena Kuss | University of North Texas Special Collections

Name: Barry S. Brook and Malena Kuss

Historical Note:

Barry Shelley Brook (November 1, 1918 – December 7, 1997) received a B.S.S. from the City College of New York (1939) and an M.A. from Columbia University (1942), where he studied with Paul Henry Lang, Erich Hertzmann, Hugh Ross, and Roger Sessions. He continued his studies at the Université de Paris, and, in 1959, he was promoted there to the Docteur de l’Université after defending his dissertation on “La Symphonie française dans la seconde moitié du XVIIIe siècle.” In 1974, he received a honorary doctorate ad eundum gradum from the University of Adelaide. He was decorated for his service as a U.S. Air Force captain in the European theater of operations during World War II. His lifelong affiliation with the City University of New York began as a fellow at City College (1940-42) and continued at Queens College (1945-89). In 1967 he founded CUNY’s graduate program in music and was its Executive Officer until his retirement in 1989. In 1986 he became a Distinguished Professor at CUNY.

Brook was also on the faculty of the Juilliard School and the head of its DMA program (1977-87). In 1984, on the initiative of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, he designed and established a doctoral program in musicology at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris. As a visiting professor Brook taught at nine other universities in the U.S., Australia, and France. He received many awards, including the Dent Medal of the Royal Musical Association (1965), the French government named him a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters (1972), the Royal Swedish Academy of Music elected him to be among its fellows (1988), and the American Musicological Society recognized his contribution to musicology with an Honorary Membership (1997). He served as the vice-president (1974-77) and president (1977-80) of the International Association of Music Libraries (IAML), and the vice-president (1980-82) and president (1982-84) of the International Music Council (IMC).

Brook’s interests were immense and in many areas pioneering, ranging from music iconography, the history of thematic catalogues, the sociology and aesthetics of music, and the application of computers in musicology, to the 18th-century French symphony and the music of Haydn and Pergolesi. His dissertation is a groundbreaking study on the 18th-century French symphony, which provides extensive documentation, a thematic catalogue of over 1200 works, and an edition of eight works. He initiated fundamental research on the history of the thematic catalogue, publishing a facsimile of the Breitkopf thematic catalogue and two editions of the annotated inventory of thematic catalogues (with Richard J. Viano). In source studies Brook developed a technique of analyzing composers’ handwriting, demonstrating this by identifying Pergolesi’s authentic opus and the body of Haydn’s string trios. While initiating the publication of Pergolesi’s collected works, of which he was the general editor, he also founded the Pergolesi Research Center at the CUNY Graduate School, which owns an extensive microfilm collection of Pergolesi sources. Under his editorship a sixty-volume series of symphonies 1720-1840 and a dozen volumes in the series of French opera in the 17th and 18th centuries were published. In 1979 Brook initiated, under the auspices of the International Music Council of UNESCO, a global project called The Universe of Music: A History intended to provide a comprehensive history of music cultures throughout the world. After his death in 1997, Malena Kuss assumed the Executive Directorship of the Universe of Music project and published two volumes on Latin America (Performing Beliefs: Indigenous Peoples of South America, Central America, and Mexico [2004] and Performing the Caribbean Experience [2007]).

It is to Brook’s credit that he understood the enormous possibilities of computer applications in musicology, and in the early 1960s he had already advocated their use in the control of music sources. In 1964 he made a proposal for the Plaine and Easie Code, a system of notating music using ordinary typewriter or keypunch characters. The following year he founded Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale (RILM), the international annotated bibliography of music scholarship, and in 1967 the first volume of RILM Abstracts was issued under his editorship. At the 1971 St. Gall meeting of IAML, he initiated the Répertoire International d’Iconographie Musicale (RIdIM), an international project aiming to develop the methods, means, classification, cataloguing, and research of iconographic sources relevant to music, and, in 1972, he organized the Research Center for Music Iconography at the CUNY Graduate School, where he developed a vast archive and designed a computer-operated information retrieval system. He was also a member of the RISM Commission Internationale Mixte (1986-97).

Brook’s interests and projects are embodied in the extensive documentation and archival sources housed at the Center for Research and Music Documentation which he founded in 1989 at CUNY. The Center has since been renamed in his honor. The Barry S. Brook and Malena Kuss Special Collection at the University of North Texas Music Library holds correspondence and works in progress documenting the creation and development of The Universe of Music: A History project (1979–2007).

Malena Kuss (b. 1940) is Professor Emeritus of Musicology, University of North Texas, Denton (1976–1999), and former Vice President of the International Musicological Society (2009–2017). She holds a Ph.D. in Historical Musicology from UCLA (1976) and a M.M. in Piano Performance from SMU (1964). Internationally recognized for her research on the music of Alberto Ginastera (1916–1983), with whom she studied composition for six years in Buenos Aires, Kuss has published extensively on opera in Latin America, oral and written musical traditions in comparative cultural contexts, and music historiography from a global perspective.

Her deep commitment to disseminating the perspectives of Latin Americans in the Anglophone sphere of influence resulted in the publication of an unprecedented history of musical traditions which gathers contributions by over a hundred scholars from 36 countries and places particular emphasis on music in social contexts and instruments as living cultural artifacts (Performing Beliefs: Indigenous Peoples of South America, Central America, and Mexico [2004] and Performing the Caribbean Experience [2007], with 4 CDs). An expert in 20th-century music, her work on Ginastera has centered on intratextual relationships, pitch organization, and postmodernism in an American cultural setting (“Symbol und Phantasie in Ginasteras Bomarzo [1967],” 1984; “The structural role of folk elements in 20th-century art music,” IMS/Bologna 1987/1990; Alberto Ginastera Musikmanuskripte, Paul Sacher Stiftung, 1990; “The many meanings of Bearbeitung,” 2012; “The progress of a method,” 2013; “Ginastera y sus laberintos,” 2016). Research into the musical dramaturgy of a vast repertoire of operas from Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, and Peru served to explore cultural tropes, feeding historiographical reflections and coverage of the repertoire in reference works (“The ‘Invention’ of America: Encounter settings on the Latin American lyric stage,” IMS/Madrid 1992/1993; “Nacionalismo, identificación y Latinoamérica,” 1998); “Prologue” to Music in Latin America and the Caribbean: An encyclopedic history,” volume 1, 2004; “Western thought from a transcultural perspective: Decolonizing Latin America,” 2005; “On shifts and rifts, or musicology without borders,” 2014; entries in Pipers Enzyklopädie des Musiktheaters and New Grove Opera). Between 2008 and 2010, Kuss was invited to serve as Consulting Curator at the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix, Arizona, where she designed 43 exhibits and built a collection of over 1,500 instruments.

In 2009, Malena Kuss received the prestigious Platinum Konex Award, which honors the most influential personalities of the last decade in the arts, theater, and literature in Argentina. Other recognitions and research awards include Fulbright-Hays, NEH, ACLS, Mellon, and Paul Sacher Stiftung grants. In 1997, she held the “Jesús C. Romero” Chair in Musicology sponsored by Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes; and, in 1999, she was honored by the International Music Council with an Individual Membership for her work on The Universe of Music project, a world history of music under her executive directorship since 1997. She was also the recipient of an Honors’ Professorship from the University of North Texas Student Association for excellence in teaching. In 2017, Kuss was elected to Honorary Membership in the American Musicological Society, which, according to its By-laws, honors “long-standing members of the Society who have made outstanding contributions to furthering its stated object.”

An affinity with musicology as broadly defined (Charles Seeger) coalesced in collaborations with the International Music Council associated with UNESCO (The Universe of Music: A History, 1983–1997) and service to the International Musicological Society, the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives, and Documentation Centres (Secretary, Bibliography Commission, 1984–1990), and the American Musicological Society (member and chair, Stevenson Award Committee, 2008–2009; 2018–2021; member and juror, AMS 50, 1996–1999). Elected to the Directorium of the International Musicological Society for two terms and Vice President between 2009 and 2017, Kuss represented IMS on the Grove Music Online Advisory Panel and founded the IMS Regional Association for Latin America and the Caribbean in 2012 (IMS/Rome), serving as Coordinator until 2016 and organizing its first conference on “Latin America and the Canon” (Havana, 2014). In 2015 Kuss was chair of the IMS Program Committee for the inter-congressional symposium on “Music Research in the Digital Age,” which was held jointly with IAML at New York’s Juilliard School.

Barry S. Brook headed the MLM/UMH project from its inception in 1979 until his death in 1997. Following his expressed wishes, Malena Kuss was elected President of the UMH Board of Directors at a meeting in Paris in 1996, established the project as a not-for-profit corporation no longer associated with the IMC of UNESCO in 1997, and assumed the Executive Directorship in 1997, publishing two volumes in a series of four on Latin America and the Caribbean in 2004 and 2007.

Note Author: Malena Kuss

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