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AWM RL 15077-16059

Rubin, James. Collection of Indian classical music, 1957-1989: Guide

Archive of World Music, Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library, Harvard College Library

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Harvard University, Cambridge MA 02138

© The President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Archive of World Music, Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library, Harvard College Library
Creator: James Rubin
Title: Collection of Indian classical music
Date(s): 1957-1989
Location: Archive of World Music
Call No.: AWM RL 15077-16059
Quantity: Sound recordings: 53 linear feet (983 sound tape reels, analog, various sizes) ; 4.75 linear feet (431 sound discs, analog, 78 rpm). Accompanying materials: 4 linear feet.
Abstract: Sound recordings made in India and America between 1957 and 1989. The collection consists mostly of Carnatic music with some programs of Hindustani music. These are primarily live concert recordings with a few programs recorded from All India Radio. Most of the recordings were made during the annual concert season in Chennai in December. Several were also made at the Tyāgarāja Arādhana Festival that takes place each January in the town of Tiruvayāṟu. The collection also includes copies of commercial recordings of both Indian and non-Indian music as well as a few miscellaneous recordings. The documentation consists of 32 small handwritten notebooks and 15 program books printed by the Music Academy. The collection also includes 431 78 RPM records of Indian and Middle Eastern music as well as several books about Indian music.

Processed by:

John A. Loud with assistance by Carolann Buff, Sarah Adams, Brian D. Hoffman, Josh Packard and Vagheesh Narasimhan

Acquisition Information:

The collection was given to the Archive of World Music at the bequest of James Rubin in 1991.

Access Restrictions:

There are some restrictions to access of the collection. Please consult the staff of the Archive of World Music.

Historical Note

James Rubin was an enthusiastic collector and promoter of Indian music even though he had no formal training. He was the founder and executive director of the Pan Orient Arts Foundation, an organization that helped organize concerts by Indian artists in the United States. He was born in Boston in 1927; he graduated from Brookline High School in 1943 and Brown University in 1948. During World War II he served in the Army Air Corps. He was the vice president of the First Hartford Realty Company of Manchester, CT for 35 years until he retired in 1989. He died of leukemia on March 17, 1991 at the age of 64. The earliest recording in his collection is a performance by sitarist Ravi Shankar made at Rubin's Newtonville, MA home in March 1957; his last recording was made in Madras in December 1987. In the interval he traveled to India twenty times to attend the annual music festival in Madras and make recordings. He is still fondly remembered by musicians in Madras as 'Rubin Mama' (Uncle Rubin) for wearing Indian dress, his love of music, and his avuncular manner. He was a close associate of the famous singer M.S. Subbulakshmi and recorded many of her concerts. He arranged her nationwide tour of the United States that culminated in her famous performance at the United Nations

Scope and Content

The collection represents James Rubin's recordings of Indian music in India and America from 1957 through 1989. It consists of over one thousand reels of audio tape and accompanying documentation. About 400 of the tapes were recorded in India and 100 in the United States. The remaining tapes contain edited copies of other recordings in the collection, copies of commercial recordings, tapes recorded by other people and given to James Rubin, and live recordings of miscellaneous events in the Boston area. The documentation consists of several small notebooks containing notes written in India by James Rubin and his assistants. These contain performance details including the date, time, and place of each performance; the performers' names; and the title, composer, raga and tala of each composition. These hand-written notes are supplemented by program books published by the Music Academy and broadcast listings published by All India Radio. Details of performances recorded in the United States are either written on the tape boxes themselves or are included as annotated program notes inside the boxes. The title of each composition is transliterated from the original language according to the system used by the Library of Congress. The names of the Carnatic ragas are rendered according to Walter Kaufmann's The Ragas of South India. Kaufmann' s The Ragas of North India is followed for Hindustani ragas when possible. Ragas not found in Kaufmann follow Patrick Moutal's Hindustāni Rāga-s Index. Names of performers use the forms found in the OCLC authority file whenever possible. When no authorized form exists the name is transliterated from its Sanskrit form or from Tamil or Urdu when appropriate.

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