Shelf Life

Shelf Life is a course in partnership Between the College of Performing Arts and the New York Public Library (NYPL) Archives. The course is the brainchild of Jane Ira Bloom, the acclaimed soprano saxophonist, composer, and Jazz faculty member. She created the class after writing a piece for a jazz quartet that was inspired by fragments of Emily Dickinson’s poems. Bloom wanted her students to have the opportunity to work with poetry and other materials to which they’re not normally exposed.

In the course, students from the School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, Mannes School of Music and the School of Drama were tasked with “bringing the archives alive.” The students spent hours researching a topic of their choosing in the NYPL Archives and responded by creating original compositions and performance based on their engagement with poetry, letters, interviews, films, and recordings. The students of the first iteration of the course performed their compositions, at a show titled “Shelf Life”, followed by a Q&A on their research, at NYPL’s Bruno Walter Auditorium in December 2017. The performances included a variety of instrumentation, voice/spoken word, and other visual media.

(Image Source: The New School Medium page)


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