Recently Listed Music Collections in West Yorkshire

To further my career aims, I recently began volunteering at the West Yorkshire Archive Service and wanted to share what I have been working on with THE INTERNET. The WYAS staff have turned up several unlisted, music-based collections for me to list.  Although I have yet to discover any lost Vivaldi manuscripts, the collections are nonetheless interesting and diverse…

LC/WYAS1870 Leeds Leisure Services (1978-2001). This collection consists of the working files of the Leeds International Concert Season (run by the Music department of Leeds Leisure Services). The collection would be of interest to researchers of British orchestras and other performing ensembles, since many were invited to perform in the concert series, including BBC Philharmonic, The Hallé, English Northern Sinfonia (aka Orchestra of Opera North), Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and many others.  Some of the most interesting material relates to competitions originating in Leeds. The Leeds’ Conductors Competitions (material covers 1983-1999) gives interesting portraits of up-and-coming conductors.  The Tetley G.U.L.P. pub piano competitions (material covers 1990-93, 1996-98) which were staged in the Victoria Pub, Leeds, present a charming story of efforts to encourage a dying breed.

WYB339 Gary Cavanagh Collection (1861-c. 2009). This collection consists of newscuttings, concert posters, notes and other material relating to Cavanagh’s extensive research into the Bradford rock music scene, culminating in the book he co-authored with Matt Webster, Bradford’s Noise of the Valleys: A history of Bradford Rock and Pop 1967-1987 (Bank House Books, 2009). A distinctive feature of both the book and the collection are the ‘rock family trees’, which trace the connections and common musicians between various bands. Many of the bands are albeit obscure (anyone remember Southern Death Cult?), but this collection would definitely interest the Bradford native or late twentieth-century British rock music researcher.

WYC Misc 514 Misc Records of the Northgate-End/Halifax Orchestral Society (1829-1908). This collection documents music making and concerts in the Halifax area during the nineteenth century. Misc 514/1 is a large scrapbook that includes mainly concert posters and programmes. This would be of interest to researchers of British amateur music societies since it offers a nearly comprehensive view of performance trends for classical choral and orchestral repertoire in nineteenth-century Yorkshire (e.g. lots of Handel oratorios!). Misc 514/2 is a record book for the Northgate-End Orchestral Society (1882-1908). Since it lists members’ names and attendance, this item might interest a family historian with musical ancestors in Halifax.

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