Bernstein resources now open to the public.

The New York Philharmonic Orchestra has made available thousands of its archival documents, scores, sound files and video recordings for music lovers to explore online. Its collection of unique source material stretches back to the Philharmonic’s debut concert in 1842, but the first stage of  digitisation  focuses on the golden “International” era 1943–1970, commencing with the year Leonard Bernstein was appointed assistant conductor and encompassing the rise of the United States as a major global power with New York as its cultural capital.

The selection now onlineboasts Bernstein’s correspondence and more than 3,200 printed programmes; forthcoming video content includes the televised John F Kennedy memorial concert and the Young People’s Concerts. As digitisation progresses, the orchestra expects 1.3 million pages to be uploaded by 2012, with eight million pages and 7,000 hours of audio and video to go live in the next ten years.

Described by Zubin Mehta as “a treasure”, the project is the most extensive to be undertaken by any orchestra. Musicians, researchers and interested readers around the world can look forward to the next two installments, The Founding Era (1842–1908) and The Modern Era (1909–1943).