The Free Library’s Chamber Music Collection is the largest public library circulating collection of chamber music performance parts on the East Coast. Originally part of the Free Library’s Fleisher Collection of Orchestra Music, the Chamber Music Collection was transferred to the Music Department of the Free Library in 1934. Representing all periods of music from Baroque to Modern, the collection includes works for up to ten performers, including solo instruments and vocal-instrumental combinations. Contemporary works and new editions of standard titles are continually being added to the collection.
The Chamber Music Catalog is in the process of being added to the Free Library’s online catalog at know.freelibrary.org but this process is not yet complete. If you don’t find the chamber music works that you need in our online catalog, call the Music Department at 215-686-5316, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also come to the Music Department in person and browse the Chamber Music Card Catalog.
The Chamber Music Collection is available to any amateur, student, or professional musician, and is not limited to use by Philadelphia residents. Musicians from all over the world borrow chamber music from the Free Library of Philadelphia.
If you are local to the Philadelphia area, you may pick up the music in person at the Parkway Central Library Music Department. We are located at 1901 Vine Street and our normal hours are: Monday through Thursday 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM; Friday 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM; Saturday 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM; and Sunday 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM.
If you would like us to mail the music to you, we ask that you pay the postage. Postage must be paid by check as we are unable to accept credit cards. Your music will be sent out as soon as your outgoing postage payments arrive. We usually ship by library rate mail, which can take up to two weeks to arrive. If you need your music sooner than that we can send it by first class mail. You are responsible for both outgoing and return shipping costs.
If any part of the music that you borrow is lost, mutilated or destroyed, you will be billed for the full value of the music, as well as any additional amount sufficient to cover full replacement cost. Any music that is more than four months overdue is assumed lost. Failure to pay replacement costs for unreturned or damaged music may result in loss of borrowing privileges.
In some cases, the chamber music parts sets include scores. However, for many works, the score is housed in the Music Department’s main collection and can be accessed through the Free Library’s online catalog. These items may be borrowed by Free Library cardholders, subject to the conditions listed on the page “About Your Card” at know.freelibrary.org/MyResearch/register/card.
Scores borrowed on a library card must be picked up from the library in person. We do not mail items from the Music Department main collection. Individuals located outside of the Philadelphia area should contact the Interlibrary Loan department of their local library to borrow scores from the Music Department’s main collection.