Chamber Music Collection | Celebrate Classical Music Month!

By Leanne F. Thu, September 27, 2018

What better way to celebrate Classical Music Month this September than to perform some of your own music? The Free Library’s Chamber Music Collection can provide you with the materials to perform some, well, classics!

What is the Chamber Music Collection?
It is the largest public library circulating collection of chamber music performance parts in the United States and it’s right here in our city to use for free! Originally part of the Free Library’s Fleisher Collection of Orchestra Music, the Chamber Music Collection was transferred to our Music Department in 1934. Containing nearly 30,000 works, representing music from Baroque to Modern, the collection includes works for up to ten performers, including solo instruments and vocal/instrumental combinations. The collection has music for almost any small ensemble combination you can think of, ranging from standard string quartets, to tuba and whale ensemble. Contemporary works and new editions of standard titles are continually being added to the collection. 

How do you find the Chamber Music Collection?
Only part of the Free Library's Chamber Music Catalog is available online through our website. You can browse the results by composer under "author" and instrumentation under "subject" by the filtering options in the left-hand side menu of the catalog. If you find what you are searching for, please call the Music Department at 215-686-5316, or send an email to chambermusic@freelibrary.org to find out if the Free Library owns a particular chamber music work. Musicians who live in or are visiting the Philadelphia area may also come to the Music Department in person and have a nostalgic browse through the Chamber Music card catalog. 

Who can use the Chamber Music Collection?
Anyone! It is available to any amateur, student, or professional musician, and is not limited to use by Philadelphia residents. Musicians from all over the United States, as well as a number of foreign countries, borrow chamber music from the Free Library of Philadelphia. If you are unable to come in person, we only ask that you pay for shipping and we will send the music anywhere you need it.

Please contact us or check out our FAQ page for more info!

If you prefer listening rather than performing, you can always find CDs and streaming audio from the Free Library.

Don't forget to check the events calendar as we start filling up the fall / winter season with performances!

View from the Chamber Music office with a violin from our MIC collection.
View from the Chamber Music office with a violin from our MIC collection.
Our trusty card catalog.
Our trusty card catalog.
Our copy of
Our copy of "Beneath the Horizon" by Priscilla McLean, which includes reel-to-reel audio of whales performing their parts.

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