[ exhibits ]

November’s Instrument of the Month

In preparation for a forthcoming exhibit of brass instruments, the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments is displaying these post horns as November’s instrument of the month.

Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Joseph M. Dworkin. Accession no. 3602 and 3603.

The instruments are made of copper and brass which are soldered together into a single coil. These instruments are made in coiled form for carrying in the pocket.

The post horn is scored for in Mozart’s Serenade for Orchestra No. 9 in D Major, which was later nicknamed “Posthorn” for its short post horn solo in the second trio of the Minuetto movement. The post horn is also referenced in Schubert’s Die Post from Winterreise when the piano accompaniment includes a post horn-like fanfare. Also, in Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 in d minor, Mahler writes a solo part that is supposed to resemble the sound of the post horn. Today, that solo is often played on a Furst Pless post horn (which has rotary valves), Flugelhorn, or Trumpet.


Historically, post horns were used by postillons and guards on mail coaches to announce arrivals and departures and to call attention en route. Their continued appearance today as a post office emblem in many European countries testifies to the breadth of their former use.  The stamp pictured above was featured in the MOPHILA International Stamp Exhibition in Hamburg (1985) for modern stamp collecting, or Moderne Philatelie, from which MOPHILA takes its name.


Come to 15 Hillhouse Avenue to view these two post horns in person. Or, visit our online Digital Collection to see our entire collection.





Published November 12, 2017
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[ Exhibits ]

October’s Instrument of the Month

This month, the Collection of Musical Instruments is displaying a Sea Dragon Horn as its featured instrument. Traditionally referred to as the Dbang Dung, this Eastern Tibetan horn is a little more than a foot in length with a brass mouth piece indicative of an early brass horn. The narrow body terminates in the head of a serpent with jaw opened wide and a thin brass tongue poking out. Made primarily from light brass and possibly other metal alloys, it has what appears to be three shades of metal coloration. It is unclear whether these colors are due to discoloration over time or purposeful. Turquoise gemstones adorn the dragon’s head. Believed to be acquired sometime before the Chinese invaded Tibet in the 1950s, the Sea Dragon Horn was used in rural areas to call the attention of townfolk to ceremonies and festive occasions.

The Sea Dragon, known in Sanskrit as Makara, is a common mythological being relevant in both Hindu and Buddhist iconography. In Hindu mythology, the Sea Dragon is the animal-vehicle of the Hindu God Ganga, the River Goddess. Tibetan Buddhism, on the other hand, developed a rather different view of the Sea Dragon as a symbolic weapon. Sea Dragons remain viewed as creatures of great tenacity and strength in Tibet.

The Dbang Dung was donated to the Collection by Theodore Woolsey Heermance along with many other instruments within his possession in the 1980s.

We invite you to come to 15 Hillhouse Avenue to view the Dbang Dung in person before it returns to our holdings!


Published October 10, 2017
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[ concerts ]

House of Time in Concert


Gonzalo Ruiz, oboe, and Tatiana Daubek, violin, of the ensemble House of Time.

On Sunday February 26th at 3:00pm, the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments will present the next concert in its annual series with a performance by the early music ensemble, House of Time. Their program, titled “Imaginary Theater: Music of Handel and Rameau,” consists of instrumental selections from the baroque opera stage.

Tickets are currently SOLD OUT, but all those interested in the program are encourage to view the concert live at 3:00pm from the comfort of their own home via the Yale School of Music’s live stream.

For more information about our artists, House of Time, you can visit their website here.

Published February 23, 2017
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[ concerts ]

The London Haydn Quartet in Concert with Eric Hoeprich


The London Haydn Quartet and Eric Hoeprich, clarinet.

The Yale Collection of Musical Instruments is pleased to present The London Haydn Quartet in concert with Eric Hoeprich, clarinet, on Sunday, January 15th at 3:00pm.

The ensemble will be presenting a program which includes: Haydn’s String Quartet Op. 72 No. 2; Beethoven’s String Quartet Op. 18 No. 2; and Weber’s Clarinet Quintet Op. 34.

Tickets for the concert are currently SOLD OUT; therefore, we encourage those interested to listen along from home via the Yale School of Music’s live stream. Click here for live stream


Published January 10, 2017
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Annual Alumni Assembly Tours Collection

On Thursday, November 10th the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments hosted two tours for the annual assembly of the Yale Alumni Association. This year’s gathering focused on the arts, stressing the importance of the professional schools of art, drama, architecture, and music as integral parts of Yale’s creative environment –an environment which distinguishes it from other major universities.

The Collection’s curators led the guests through the museum’s three galleries, where discussions ranged from descriptions of treasured objects, to the Collection’s inter-disciplinary collaborations with different departments within the university. Some visitors had strong personal ties to the Collection as they reminisced on classes and tours of the past, while others found themselves in the museum for the first time.

Full Article

Published November 18, 2016
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[ exhibits ]

November’s Instrument of the Month

This month the staff of the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments is delighted to display examples of the Paul Munier Collection of Military Snare Drumsticks as the Featured Instruments of the Month.

15-015 YCMI, Munier drumsticks

Examples from the Paul Munier Collection of Military Snare Drumsticks.

Three pairs have been selected from his collection of sixty which highlight the various sizes, shapes, and materials used to construct drumsticks. One pair of solid steel practice drumsticks was used by F.G. Holt, a snare drummer in John Philip Sousa’s band. Another pair of Holt’s sticks are the “Tru Balance” model, hand turned by prominent drumstick manufacturer, George B. Stone & Sons, Inc. The third pair is made from the tropical hardwood cocobolo of Central America.

Come to 15 Hillhouse Avenue to view the three pairs of drumsticks in person. Or, visit our online Digital Collection to see the entire collection of drumsticks that Mr. Munier presented to Yale in 2012.

Published November 3, 2016
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[ concerts ]

Kristian Bezuidenhout in Concert

images-2The Yale Collection of Musical Instruments is delighted to present acclaimed forte-pianist Kristian Bezuidenhout in concert on Sunday, October 30th at 3:00pm. 

Bezuidenhout’s program will feature works by Beethoven and Hadyn. Seating is limited, and tickets can be purchased by visiting music-tickets.yale.edu , or calling (203) 432-0822. 

We also encourage any one interested to view the concert live from the comfort of your own home by tuning into the Yale School of Music’s live stream. Click here for live stream 

Published October 20, 2016
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[ exhibits ]

October’s Featured Instrument of the Month


The shofar made of animal horn.

After a brief hiatus, we are pleased to resume presentation of the Featured Instrument of the Month with the display of a shofar, a Hebrew ritual horn constructed from the naturally hollowed horn of an animal, such as a ram or kudu.

Since the instrument lacks any keys or fingerholes, the shofar’s pitch is controlled only by the player’s embouchure. It is used primarily in Jewish religious services, and is blown every weekday morning in the month of Elul leading up to Rosh Hashanah (Sunday, October 2nd – Tuesday, October 4th), as well as at the end of Yom Kippur (Tuesday, October 11th – Wednesday, October 12th).

Visit the Collection during October to see the instrument in person, or click here to learn more through our digital collection.

Published October 5, 2016
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[ concerts ]

The Flanders Recorder Quartet opens the Collection’s 2016-2017 concert series


The Flanders Quartet (from left to right):
Bart Spanhove, Tom Beets, Paul Van Loey,
and Joris Van Goethem.

The  Yale Collection of Musical Instruments  opens its annual concert series on SundayOctober 2, at 3:00 pm with the celebrated Flanders Recorder QuartetAlthough tickets are no longer available (the concert is sold out!), we encourage all who are interested in the ensemble’s perfor-
mance to view the concert live via the Yale School of Music’s livestream link.

Click here for livestream

The program, entitled Beauté parfait, or “Our Beloved Favorites,” features works from the Renaissance by Sweelinck, Dowland, and Byrd and from the Baroque by Dornel, de Boismortier, and Bach.  Listeners also will have an opportunity to hear two contemporary pieces written specifically for the quartet by Pieter Campo (b. 1980) and Sören Sieg (b. 1966). New sounds on old instruments…

On Saturday, October 1, the FRQ will participate in a memorial service honoring the woodwind maker Friedrich von Huene (1929-2016).  The service will take place at All Saints Parish, 1773 Beacon St, Brookline, MA, at 2:00 pm.  The Quartet will offer the major portion of its musical tribute before the service from 1:30-2:00 pm.


Friedrich von Huene in his workshop, ca. 1980, playing a flute
that he modelled after a Baroque instrument by Chevalier in the
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Friedrich von Huene was a well known instrument designer, builder, musician and teacher.  A recently published obituary about him by the Collection’s curator, Susan E. Thompson, may be found in the Fall 2016 issue of the American Recorder magazine (pp. 11-13).

American Recorder Fall 2016




Published September 26, 2016
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[ acquisitions ]

Collection Acquires Late-19th Century Music Box


William Purvis and the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments is pleased to announce the acquisition of a late-19th century Sublime Harmonie music box by Swiss maker Paillard.


Details of the floral inlay atop of the Sublime Harmonie music box.

The Paillard family in Ste.-Croix Switzerland pioneered many advancements of music box craftsmanship, including improvements in changing from one tune to the next, the development of interchangeable cylinders, and the patented invention of the Sublime Harmonie music comb tuning arrangement.

This ca. 1880 example is encased in rosewood with fine floral inlay decorating the top. A 17 inch cylinder is outfitted with eight selections from a variety of 19th century operas including a march from Donizetti’s La fille du régiment, the “Can-can” from Offenbach’s Orphée aux enfers, and the famed “Anvil Chorus” from Verdi’s Il trovatore.

The music box was donated to the Collection by Ms. Elizabeth H. Nutt of Candia, NH, and we are grateful to her contribution to our growing collection of mechanical musical instruments, as well as to the museum as a whole.

Published July 24, 2016
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