Students to benefit from music donation

Byron L. "Butch" Berman
Byron L. "Butch" Berman

The Berman Music Foundation has donated thousands of CDs, LPs and DVDs of jazz and rock music to UNL's Music Library. The collection's primary focus is jazz, with additions of rock music, recordings of Butch Berman's KZUM radio show, and videos of live performances from Lincoln venues. Many of the materials in the collection are out of print and cannot be found on the open market.

"The University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Music Library is honored to receive this special collection, which will be maintained, preserved, and expanded upon," said Anita Breckbill, music librarian and university libraries professor.

Breckbill said the donation was made at the most opportune time. The School of Music added two new advanced degrees in jazz studies — master of music and doctor of musical arts — and the collection will provide vital scholarship to the students working on these degrees.

Nancy Busch, dean of libraries, said UNL students' success depends on UNL alumni and Nebraska community members' support of library collection growth with either donations of collections or money to purchase new materials.

"We are grateful for the Berman Foundation's generosity with the donation of this collection, especially in light of the new jazz studies program. The only way we can ensure the students' success is if we have collections such as the Berman Collection for their study and research."

Scott Anderson, professor in the School of Music, said the donation is a wonderful asset for the Music Library and believes it has even greater impact for UNL students. Anderson explained that the freshman class of 2012 was born in 1994, and most students, if not all, may have never heard the music or musical groups found in the Berman Collection.

"I can't wait for my students to discover and experience some of the live performances on DVD," he said.

Anderson also said he is thinking about developing an honors course focused on the vibrant rock scene from the 1970s and 1980s Lincoln, which is reflected in the live performance recordings.

The rich collection was fostered by Byron L. "Butch" Berman (1949-2008) over his lifetime and became part of the Berman Music Foundation, which he established in 1995. The mission of the foundation, according to its website, is "to protect and promote unique forms of American music."

Anthony M. Rager, a trustee with the foundation, said entrusting UNL's Music Library with this special collection will fulfill the foundation's mission. Rager said he is excited that the next generation of students will be learning from the collection and discovering music new to them. He personally knew Berman and described him as passionate about all aspects of music.

"I hope the student musicians discover pieces in the collection that inspire their imaginations and influence them to create something new," Rager said.

The Berman Collection was moved from the Burkholder Project in the Haymarket area to the UNL Music Library, located in Room 30 at Westbrook Hall on UNL's City Campus. Items in the collection will be available for check out. KZUM, Lincoln's community radio station, has been given permission to use the collection for on-air play.

UNL's Music Library is one of the busiest in the system — second to Love Library in traffic and check-out numbers.

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— Joan Barnes, University Libraries