Western Libraries

Music - Special Collections

Western's Music Special Collections are world-class, and are housed in the Gustav Mahler-Alfred Rosé Room of the Western Libraries Music Library. Please click on the coloured links (below) for additional information regarding a particular collection:

The Gustav Mahler - Alfred Rosé Collection
A collection of international significance, being one of the largest bodies of Mahler primary-source material in North America. Located in the Gustav Mahler-Alfred Rosé Rare Book Room of the UWO Music Library, the "GM-AR Collection" includes 600 unpublished letters and postcards (509 in Mahler’s hand), together with one hundred documents and musical scores, all related to the life and times of Gustav Mahler, and his brother-in-law Arnold Rosé, long-time concertmaster of the Vienna Philharmonic and leader of the Rosé String Quartet.

The Opera Collection
A major research source of approximately 2,000 volumes of manuscripts and first editions of opera, dating from the seventeenth to early twentieth centuries. Contemporary materials which enhance the collection include letters, treatises and instrumental titles–both printed and manuscript sources. Opera composers represented include: Lully, Rameau, Handel, Hasse, Adam, Arne, Bellini, Mozart and Rossini. This collection is unique in Canada, and its presence at Western ranks us as one of the top eight centres in North America, for the study of pre-1800 opera; support from Western, SSHRCC (Social Sciences Humanities Research Council of Canada) and Western Alumni has been responsible for bringing this outstanding collection to the Music Library.

The Metastasio Collection
An adjunct to The Opera Collection, The Metastasio Collection at the Western Libraries Music Library gathers together opera scores and libretti based on original libretti by Pietro Metastasio (1698 - 1782).

The Thomas Baker Collection
Acquired in 1985, through to the generous sponsorship of the late Gordon Jeffery, the "collection of Thomas Baker of Farnham, Surrey, is a remarkable phenomenon-for it appears to have been quite untouched from the time of Baker's death (c1773) to the present day."
[Richard MacNutt.]

The Cherubini Collection
A bequest from the estate of Western alumnus, Stephen Charles Willis, numbering more than two hundred individual titles, including LPs, CDs, books, music scores, microfilms and manuscripts.

The Drs. James & Margaret Whitby Collections
Significant gifts of antiquarian music from the Drs. Whitby, including a remarkable and extensive collection of early published chamber music, primarily for string ensembles.


The three collections below are NOT housed in the Gustav Mahler - Alfred Rosé Room, but are merely listed here for users' convenience.

Cobbett Chamber Music Collection
The Cobbett Chamber Music Library contains mainly chamber music for strings - some 1,300 titles, which are NOT part of the standard chamber repertoire.

Bach Arias for Obbligato Instruments

The information at this link - will direct users to obbligato instrumental parts - for Bach arias, held either in our main collection (T.C. 234) or in the Choral Band Orchestral Music library (T.C. 134).

The Choral / Band / Orchestral Music Library is part of the Western Music Library's operations, but is located on the main floor of Talbot College (T.C. 134), and houses our collection of large-ensemble performance materials.  Titles with ten or more parts are held in the C/B/O, as are multiple copies of choral music (100 vocal scores for Handel's Messiah, for example). The loan of C/B/O titles is restricted to Faculty members in the Don Wright Faculty of Music, and to those Western students enrolled in this Faculty's choirs and large instrumental ensembles.  C/B/O materials are considered to be short-term loan materials, and as such do not circulate to alumni, nor to guest borrowers.


The Music Library holds significant microform collections. A guide and listing to the major microfilm series we hold may found at this page Music in Micro-Formats.


Author: Lisa Rae Philpott
Last update: January, 2013