The Jacob Siskind Music Resource Centre

Photograph of Siskind behind piano talking to guitar playerOver the course of his life and 48-year career, Jacob Siskind acquired great amounts of musical recordings to which he often referred in his radio shows. Siskind’s music collection is amazing in its comprehensiveness, comprising approximately 20,000 LPs, 8,000 CDs, and 3,000 78-rpm records. These recordings include contemporary pieces written by modern-day composers, diverse versions of classic and contemporary pieces to contrast and compare. It is with this curated collection of resources that Jacob Siskind was able to develop his understanding and awareness of the field of classical music and continue educating himself and his audience.

To most effectively allow continued use of this unique resource, Carleton University’s Archives and Research Collections (ARC) and MacOdrum Library are pleased to offer public access to them in The Jacob Siskind Music Resource Centre. This centre will feature specialized audio production equipment, Finale stations, and musical instruments such as electric pianos allowing students to collaborate on composition and research. The centre will also include a lounge to encourage discussion and interaction. The centre will highlight Siskind’s collection of recordings alongside the newly acquired CBC Jazz Collection comprising over 20, 000 CDs, giving Carleton one of Canada’s most comprehensive Canadian jazz collections. The Centre will support access to the abundant music resources and ensure their use through outreach and education. In addition to the Music Resource Room, the MacOdrum Library's fifth floor will also house a 1913 Steinway Concert Grand piano - one of the first full-sized concert grand pianos in Canada.

Another important aspect of the Music Resource Room is Jacob Siskind’s collection of the papers and personal items of Montreal music critic Thomas Archer. Among Siskind's personal collection are interviews and correspondence with leading figures in music such as Montreal mezzo-soprano Sarah Fischer, Jewish-Ukrainian pianist Emil Gilels, Czech soprano Ruczena Herlinger, pianist and conductor Victor Borge, and widow of composer Alban Berg, Helene Berg.

Siskind’s correspondence, sheet music, collection of concert programs and, above all, his collection of musical recordings will be valuable for classical music and journalism students, faculty and researchers at Carleton and in the broader community. His connections with the world of music in both Canada and abroad are a unique resource for those interested in Music, Criticism, Art History, Canadian Studies, and Journalism.