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Five Questions: Laura Yust, Cataloger

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We’re bringing back our Five Questions interview today with Music Cataloger Laura Yust (courtesy of Senior Music Cataloger Sharon McKinley). Enjoy!

Laura, what are you working on these days?

Besides the regular scores and books about music, I’m cataloging a fascinating item from the mid-16th century that contains German tracts on music and music theory by Georg Rhau and Galliculus (I’m holding it in the picture to the right!). I’m also working on some Roy Harris materials and I recently cataloged some manuscripts by Joseph Goodman.

What do you listen to when you work?

Well, since I can’t concentrate on my work when I listen to music, I have to say nothing! When I do listen to music I tend to be an omnivorous listener. I enjoy attending the Music Division’s concerts, especially when new music is on the program. I also love listening to a wide range of chamber music and Lieder. My favorite concerts I recently heard were the ones given by eighth blackbird, the Doric String Quartet, and the performance of the piano solo work Vingt regards sure l’enfant Jesus by Messiaen. Following random clips on Youtube is also great fun. There is no telling what I’ll get to hear or where it will lead me.

What’s an item or collection that makes you want to say, “Hey, look at THIS!”

The German tracts on music that I mentioned above certainly fall into this category. Another item is the holograph manuscript of Robert Schumann’s op. 90 Lenau Lieder and Requiem. The Music Division also has a collection of songs written in response to the Titanic disaster that are interesting and worth looking into because they range from the popular style of the day by accomplished song composers to some heartfelt phrases of music written by people who apparently had little knowledge of music or how to write it. Some of these songs were written in self-devised musical notation instead of standard notation. People were obviously deeply affected by the disaster and had to find some way to express themselves.

What musical interests do you pursue outside the Library?

I’m a pianist and am currently rehearsing a trio with a violinist and cellist, just for fun. When I have time I also play trios with a clarinetist and another cellist, and occasionally I do some accompanying for singers. I attend as many concerts as I can manage, given my schedule, and occasionally I go to a weekend music festival. One year I participated in a chamber music weekend event at the Levine School of Music. I’d like to do that again some day since it was both enjoyable and instructive and I met some really nice musicians.

What question would you like us to ask you?

Ask me about gardening with native plants and why it’s helpful to the environment. If you have lots of time, ask me about my cats, Scherzo and Shpilkes!

Comments (3)

  1. What kind of cats are Scherzo and Shpilkes? How did you determine their names?

    • Laura loves talking about her cats! Here’s what she has to say: Scherzo is a male orange tabby and Shpilkes is a female grey tabby. They’re littermates and were strays that we adopted. My friend and I named the male kitten Scherzo because he was so active and funny, and the word scherzo means ‘joke’. Shpilkes is a Yiddish word that means you have ‘ants in your pants’ or just can’t sit still. We named the female kitten that because it suited her personality. They’re both about a year old now and are completely living up to their names! They still play together all the time and keep us entertained. They do everything together and when one meows, the other immediately responds.

  2. Thanks for featuring a cataloger!

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