Please note that this Web site is under construction. We appreciate your patience as we work to provide complete entries and accurate information for the composers in the Music Archive Catalogue. Please send responses to Joseph Dalton at email@example.com.
In 2001, with a Challenge Grant from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Estate Project began to preserve and promote the work of composers with AIDS, both living and deceased. This online catalogue surveys the work of more than 130 composers lost to AIDS. It includes biographical and career information (work list, discography, and bibliography) for each composer, as well as links to estates, publishers and libraries where their music can be accessed for further study and performance. In cooperation with The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, many of these collections of scores, recordings and papers are being donated to the Library's Music Division.
The Estate Project has also produced a series of concerts and recordings of work from the Music Archive and aided composers living with HIV/AIDS by commissioning new work and providing archival assistance. Additional funding for the Estate Project's work in music has been provided by the Bay Foundation, Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Cowles Charitable Trust, Jean and Louis Dreyfus Foundation, Yvar Mikhashoff Trust for New Music, New York Community Trust, Peter J. Sharp Foundation and Peck Stacpoole Foundation. Joseph Dalton, former executive director of Composers Recordings, Inc. and current arts reporter and music critic for the Albany Times Union, is the director of this project. Nurit Tilles co-authored the catalogue.
Please note that all of these endeavors, including the research and
publication of this catalogue, were supported by grants and
contributions, which are acknowledged herein. The Estate Project for
Artists with AIDS is not a foundation or grant-making organization and
is unable to provide any financial assistance to any projects involving
the music contained in this catalogue.
The Estate Project does not own or hold any rights to the musical works
contained in this catalogue. Those rights remain with the composers'
estates or other parties as indicated in the catalogue entries.
by Joseph Dalton
When the Estate Project for Artists with AIDS was established in 1991, its first public face was a composer. Thirty-two year-old Kevin Oldham appeared on the cover of The New York Times on December 27, 1992, in an article announcing this new initiative to assist artists who face foreshortened lives in planning for the care and preservation of their creative legacies.
(click to view full article)
"Whether you stay alive or not seems to be the trivial part," Oldham told The Times. "It's your work itself that must have a life of its own. If I can make sure that my music will continue to have life, that seems to be the more important consideration."
« Composer Keven Oldham (1960-1993) was featured in the first article ever written about the Estate Project. The article appeared on the front page of The New York Times on December 27, 1992. Photo: Lee Romero/The New York Times.
For Oldham, AIDS had become a catalyst to take his muse more seriously. A virtuoso pianist who also played and sang cabaret, he was propelled by AIDS from being an occasional songwriter into a serious composer. As can be seen from his entry in this catalogue, virtually all of his works come from the last half-decade of his brief life.
Oldham pursued music to the end. In January 1993, he checked himself out of a New York hospital to rehearse and perform his Piano Concerto with his hometown orchestra, the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra. The day after the performance he was admitted to a local hospital, where he died six weeks later.
The heroic struggle to make music while facing death is mirrored on some level by each of the 130 composers documented in this catalogue. A few were genuinely famous, like rock star Freddie Mercury of the band Queen, guitarist and singer/songwriter Tom Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Broadway star Peter Allen, and rapper Eazy-E. But most were like the majority of composers and musicians in America todayhardworking and largely overlooked by the mainstream media, but nonetheless ull of ideas and ambitions. They just didn't have the gift of time.