Thursday, January 08, 2015

Hartenberger World Music Collection of instruments is donated to The Sheldon

The Hartenberger World Music Collection, which includes more than 2,500 musical instruments from around the world, has been donated to The Sheldon by Dr. Aurelia and Jeff Hartenberger.

The collection features African, Asian, European, Oceanic, Middle Eastern and Central, South and North American instruments dating from pre-Columbian times to the present day, and has an estimated value of more than $2 million.

The donation was announced Wednesday, and will be celebrated with "A World of Music: Africa, Asia and Latin America ~ Instruments from the Hartenberger World Music Collection," a new exhibition opening Friday, February 6 in the Sheldon's Gallery of Music. An opening reception with complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres will be held that evening from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., and all the Sheldon galleries will be open until 9 p.m. as part of Grand Center's monthly First Fridays event.

Curated by Dr. Hartenberger, an associate professor of music at the University of Missouri – St. Louis, Webster University, and Maryville University, the exhibition will feature instruments from Africa, Asia and Central and South America, including an eight and one-half octave marimba from Guatemala, a Chimú whistling bottle from 1000 C.E., and a shoko from the 1912 coronation of the Emperor Yoshihito of Japan.

Various parts of the collection have been featured since 2001 in exhibitions at The Sheldon, and the instruments will continue to be shown in rotating exhibits curated by Dr. Hartenberger, as well as used in programs presented by the Sheldon's educational foundation. According to the news release announcing the donation, "it is the goal of The Sheldon to eventually create a world music museum as part of an expanded Sheldon Art Galleries" and to "selectively build the collection through donations, with the help and advice of Dr. Hartenberger and a gallery board committee.”

In addition to instruments from Africa, Asia, Oceania, the Middle East and the Americas, the collection also features European and American instruments used in classical music and jazz, including some owned and played by jazz greats with St. Louis connections such as Clark Terry, Oliver Lake and Hamiett Bluiett.

It also includes experimental, unusual and one-off instruments like the jazzophone (pictured), which was made in the 1920s in Germany. When not in use at the Sheldon, instruments in the collection will be stored offsite in a facility made available by MiTek Industries, which is run by Sheldon board member Dick Marriott.

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