The renowned pen company Montegrappa Italia has announced its sponsorship of the Juilliard Manuscript Collection Web site.
Since its founding in 1912, Montegrappa Italia has manufactured fine writing instruments for those who appreciate the art of writing by hand. Its generous sponsorship of the Juilliard Manuscript Collection Web site (www.juilliardmanuscriptcollection.org), which features images of manuscripts penned by some of the world’s greatest composers, reflects the company’s dedication to the highest standards of artistic excellence.
Donated to the School in 2006 by Juilliard’s chairman, Bruce Kovner, the Juilliard Manuscript Collection is one of the most important collections of composer autographs to be amassed and donated to an educational institution in the last two centuries. Among its 138 items are autographs by J.S. Bach, Beethoven (his annotated copy of the Ninth Symphony), Copland, Debussy, Liszt, Mahler, Schubert, Schumann, Stravinsky, and Wagner. These scores were collected expressly because they showed remarkable evidence of the compositional process, with cross-outs, corrections, notes to the publisher (sometimes angry notes in the case of Beethoven), and sealing wax paste-overs for revised passages. They are essential and meaningful sources of study for performers and scholars.
Working with the Israeli photographer Ardon Bar Hama, Juilliard has digitized all of the autograph scores in the collection and made them available on the Juilliard Manuscript Collection Web site. Since its launch in May 2007, the site has had thousands of visitors. It features special “zoomify” technology, which allows viewers to zoom in on every miniscule detail on the page; you can almost deconstruct Beethoven’s very messy ink blots.
The musicologist Richard Kramer has written, “An autograph is like a snapshot, catching its subject in a private moment, in the midst of an act, spontaneous or posed.” Through its sponsorship of the Juilliard Manuscript Collection and its Web site, Montegrappa brings these very special moments from the lives of some of history’s greatest composers to performers and scholars around the world today.