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CDD collection

Music Library Collection


Houman Behzadi


Collection profile

The University of Toronto (U of T) Music Library holds the largest and most comprehensive music research collection in Canada. Referred to as a national treasure, it is also considered to be one of the most important collections of its kind in North America. The Library acquires print, electronic and audiovisual resources that support all areas of research and inquiry at the U of T Faculty of Music. The Music Library's main users are the university faculty, students and staff. Additionally, the collection serves much larger local, national and international patrons via in-person consultations or the established Inter-Library Loan channels.

The Library collects from a large geographic region, namely North and South Americas, Western Europe, East-Central Europe, Russia, Africa, Middle East, India, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand. While English is the primary language of the majority of the library’s monograph holdings, we collect in German, Italian, French, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Russian, Polish, Ukrainian, Czech, Hungarian, Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish, Persian, Arabic, Hindi, Chinese and Japanese, among others. Monographs in five languages (English, German, French, Italian, and Russian) are housed at the Music Library and the rest are held at various other branches of the University of Toronto Libraries, including Robarts, East Asian, or UTL at Downsview Libraries.


Programs and degrees supported


  • Composition
  • Comprehensive
  • Ethnomusicology
  • Music Education
  • Music for Arts and Science Students
  • Music Theory
  • Musicology
  • Performance -- Conducting
  • Performance -- Early Music
  • Performance -- Instrumental
  • Performance -- Jazz
  • Performance -- Keyboard
  • Performance -- Opera
  • Performance -- Voice Studies


  • Advanced certificate in Performance
  • Artist Diploma
  • Bachelor of Music
  • Bachelor of Music Performance
  • Diploma in Operatic Performance
  • DMA in Collaborative Piano
  • DMA in Composition
  • DMA in Performance
  • DMA in Piano Pedagogy
  • DMA in Solo Piano
  • MA in Ethnomusicology
  • MA in Music and Health
  • MA in Music Education
  • MA in Music Theory
  • MA in Musicology
  • MMus in Collaborative piano
  • MMus in Composition
  • MMus in Conducting
  • MMus in Historical Performance
  • MMus in Instrumental Performance
  • MMus in Jazz
  • MMus in Music Technology and Digital Media
  • MMus in Opera
  • MMus in Piano Pedagogy
  • MMus in Vocal Performance
  • MMus in Vocal Pedagogy
  • PhD in Ethnomusicology
  • PhD in Music and Health
  • PhD in Music Education
  • PhD in Music Theory
  • PhD in Musicology

The Music Library is proactive in supporting the new areas of education and research at the Faculty of Music. We collaborate with our faculty members and students to gain a fine understanding of their evolving needs. Below is a list of a number of recently-added programs:

  • Music and Health
  • Music Technology
  • Comprehensive -- Jazz
  • Music Education -- Jazz


Book, music score and CD acquisition

Through the University of Toronto Libraries’ (UTL) Dealer Selection Order (DSO) plans, the Music Library receives newly published/released monographs, music scores and audio recordings from book dealers and vendors worldwide. Since 2000, the DSO plans have provided us with an average of 2,000 monographs, 1,200 music scores and 600 CDs on an annual basis.

In addition to the major university press publications, we collect stand-alone titles and series that correspond to the readership levels of our main user groups (general and advanced academic). The UTL also provides its users with a hybrid information-seeking environment by subscribing to a large number of eBook packages.

The Music Library acquires performance and scholarly editions of music scores from several well-established Canadian and foreign vendors. The Music Library's holdings are especially strong when it comes to monumental editions (M1 and M2) and collected works of composers (M3).

The scope of the Music Library's CD collection reflects, to a large extent, that of its music scores. With the exception of Canadian labels or Canadian content on foreign labels, we do not duplicate content in CD format should the content be available on Naxos Music Library (NML) and NML Jazz, NML World, and other classical and jazz music streaming databases to which the Library subscribes. This policy allows us to save precious shelf space and maximize the subject and geographic coverage of the CD collection.

The Music Library collaborates with Media Commons to purchase classical and jazz music DVDs. In order to enhance access to this collection, the DVDs are housed at Media Commons located on the 3rd floor of Robarts Library. The Library subscribes to several music video streaming services, including and the Alexander Street Press music and dance packages.


Journal subscriptions

The Music Library has subscriptions to several hundred journals in print, print-plus-online, and online-only formats. The ongoing subscription fees, currency fluctuations and unpredictable annual price increases of journal subscriptions necessitate a high degree of stewardship in this area. New titles are acquired based on the careful examination of incoming requests from the faculty and graduate students. We also add Open Access journals to the UTL online catalogue based on a set of defined criteria including author affiliation, prestige, ease of access, and scholarly values.


Electronic databases

The Library has subscriptions to a large number of electronic resources that are accessible both on the U of T campuses and remotely through user authentication. These include, but are not limited to encyclopaedias, dictionaries, handbooks, major music indices (e.g. RILMRIPMMusic Index, etc.), and the Alexander Street Press eScore packages. We monitor the use of electronic databases as best we can to assess their continued usefulness and relevancy.


Special collections

The Music Library has a designated space for its special collections and archives. The archival collections of the Library are veritable testimonies to the rich musical life of Toronto in the twentieth century. Countless manuscripts, correspondences, concert programmes, photographs, and recordings have made the archives a historical treasure trove documenting the contributions of Canadian musicians and music scholars in the national and international scenes. The archives and special collections include, among others the Kathleen Parlow, John Beckwith, Boyd Neel and Conservatory Chamber Music Club (Toronto) collections. The Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library holds an extensive collection of Italian opera libretti printed before 1900, which offers a valuable insight into the origin and development of opera.


Growth and future directions

Following the UTL’s 2013-2018 Strategic Plan, the Music Library remains committed to building and expanding its world class collections. In doing so, we strive to monitor and understand the rapid changes in the information seeking preferences of our user groups. The application of this knowledge to our collection building practices is of high importance, especially in light of our growing space and financial challenges. The Music Library will continue to liaise with the U of T Faculty of Music to stay abreast of developments in music scholarship in Canada and beyond.