Contemporary Music Score Collection Is a Global Hit

UCLA Library recently celebrated a major milestone achieved in just two years: Scores published in the Music Library’s groundbreaking Contemporary Music Score Collection were viewed more than 100,000 times and downloaded 45,000-plus times by users around the world.

Since 2020, composers of contemporary music, including UCLA students and faculty, have contributed their scores to this innovative, open-access platform and made it the largest repository of its kind in the world.

“This experimental project has had a significant global impact and has been a great return on investment for open-access publishing,” said Matthew Vest, UCLA music inquiry and research librarian who started the all-digital collection two years ago.

Among the contributors have been composer Raven Chacon, winner of the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Music, and three composers on the Washington Post’s list of artists to watch in 2022.

UCLA alumnus Tomas Serrate, who received his Ph.D. in music composition, also published his score there.

“Being published by the Contemporary Score Edition has had an important impact in my development as a composer,” Serrate said. “It has been a huge help to establish myself professionally and make my music available to performers worldwide.”

Users can download the scores for study for free. Artists who want to record or perform a score must gain rights from the composers. The Collection is hosted online by the University of California’s eScholarship digital repository.

The project is an outgrowth of the Music Library’s Contemporary Score Edition, which includes digital and printed work composed by UCLA students and faculty. The Hugo and Christine Davise Fund, which advances contemporary music on campus, made the Edition and Collection possible.

In 2020, Vest offered to add the scores of composers entering a competition sponsored with Kaleidoscope, an L.A.-based ensemble founded by UCLA alumnus Benjamin Mitchell. More than 7,800 scores were submitted from 86 countries, and over 5,500 were published in the Collection. At least one-third of the scores were by composers from underrepresented communities.

“Projects like the Collection show how important it is to share the creative work from local communities with the world, and how valuable it is to reach out to a diverse group of library users,” Vest said.