Music Manuscript

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Boewig's signature at the end of a Philharmonic manuscript
Boewig's signature at the end of a Philharmonic manuscript

Henry G. Boewig was born in Germany in 1858 and came to the United States in 1883. When he first joined the New York Philharmonic in 1888, he played in the second violin section but later became the orchestra’s music librarian where his impeccable handwriting served well to copy music and make arrangements. Examples of his penmanship are fixtures of the Philharmonic’s library and archives to this day; after the final bar in his manuscripts one often finds his signature and date. 

Boewig’s fastidiousness set the bar for clarity and precision required at the Philharmonic library for generations to come. His parts, which reflected cuts, note revisions, bowings, and phrase markings, are still consulted by today’s librarians. 

Although Boewig officially retired from the Philharmonic in 1930, he continued arranging and transcribing music for the orchestra for the next few years. He died in Brooklyn in 1939 at the age of 80. 

Place(s): Germany; New York; Brooklyn
Year: 1883

– New York Philharmonic Archives

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