Wilton Library, CT state dignitaries, and the family of late jazz legend Dave Brubeck on Saturday, Oct. 30 celebrated the grand opening of The Brubeck Collection with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the library, now the permanent home for Brubeck’s archive.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, State Sen. Will Haskell, State Rep. Stephanie Thomas, Selectman Joshua Cole, Selectman Ross Tartell, and former Wilton first selectmen Bill Brennan and Bob Russell attended the celebration. Special guests included renowned musicologist Stephen Crist, Professor of Music History at Emory University.
GOOD Morning Wilton aired a live-stream of the event.
The Brubeck Collection was established by Dave Brubeck and his wife, Iola, as a “living archive” to Brubeck’s long and illustrious career as a celebrated musician and composer. The Brubeck Collection is one of the preeminent jazz archives in the world and passes on Brubeck’s legacy to future musicians, musicologists, researchers, historians, jazz aficionados, and the public.
“We are honored to be the home of The Brubeck Collection and to open the doors to this prestigious archival collection,” said Elaine Tai-Lauria, Executive Director of Wilton Library. “We look forward to welcoming our community and visitors from around the world to experience and appreciate Dave Brubeck’s genius and the incredible contributions of this great jazz legend and his family. The stewardship of The Brubeck Collection is a special gift to our town and one that we greatly value; it represents Wilton’s, and indeed Connecticut’s, unique contribution to the music world.”
Chris Brubeck, one of Dave and Iola Brubeck’s sons, and his wife Tish Brubeck, were instrumental in bringing the archival collection to Wilton.
“Wilton was the town where my siblings and I grew up. It was the town where my dad came home to after each of his tours, and it was the town where we often enjoyed playing with him as musicians. Our family agreed that Wilton Library is the right place for this special collection,” he said.
About The Brubeck Collection
In January 2020, it was announced that The Brubeck Collection would be relocated to Wilton Library in the Brubeck family’s hometown of Wilton, Connecticut. The Collection was established in 2000 at Dave and Iola Brubeck’s alma mater, the University of the Pacific in California. The Brubeck Collection is one of the largest and most important jazz archives in the world dedicated to an individual musician/composer, with items dating from the early 1900s to the present, and is expected to grow in the coming years.
The Brubeck Collection is housed in a specially designed and constructed archival room at Wilton Library. The distinctive design is reminiscent of the Brubeck family home with its Japanese motif and a unique curved fireplace.
“Dave Brubeck’s Wilton home transposed the lyrical forms of music with the rhythms of architectural structure. We wanted the Brubeck archive at Wilton Library to riff on Dave’s jazz spirit, with flowing shapes and Japanese-influenced millwork that soften the library’s modernist design,” said Rob Sanders, President of the Board of Trustees and the architect who designed the archival space.
The Brubeck Collection archive room features a listening station, computer for access to digital images and recordings, and thousands of materials, including:
- music scores
- audio and video recordings
- photographs and digital images
- business and personal correspondence
- interviews and article clippings
- concert programs
- posters and promotional materials
“We are incredibly excited to share this unique and notable collection with the public,” said Michael Bellacosa, Curator of The Brubeck Collection. “To use the materials in The Collection, people will need to make an appointment. But in the spirit of Dave and Iola Brubeck’s wish that The Brubeck Collection will be a ‘living archive’ open to all, we are also offering special Open House hours on the second Tuesday of every month from noon to 5 p.m., when everyone is welcome to stop by for a personal tour of the archive room with no appointment needed.”
“The Brubeck family’s relationship with Wilton Library is very special,” Tai-Lauria added. “Dave, [and sons] Chris, Darius [Brubeck], and Dan [Brubeck] have selflessly performed in countless concerts to help raise funds for our library. Chris and his wife, Tish, who still live in Wilton, initiated our Hot & Cool Jazz Concert Series and continue to assist us in attracting world-class musicians to Wilton — for which we are forever grateful.”
The Brubeck Collection is open to the public by appointment, during library hours. There will be an on-site archivist to assist patrons and users. To make an appointment, please email email or call Michael Bellacosa at 203.762.6318. For more information, please visit The Brubeck Collection online.
Wilton Library is also home to the Brubeck Room, a 150-seat performance space that was created specifically for concerts, lectures, and author talks, named for Dave Brubeck and his family in 2006 during the library’s major expansion.
About Dave Brubeck
Dave Brubeck, a pianist and composer whose legendary career spanned more than six decades, was one of the most popular and innovative musicians in the jazz world. The Dave Brubeck Quartet’s acclaimed 1959 Time Out album was the first jazz album to sell a million copies, and the “Take Five” recording from the album became a Top 40 hit and remains the biggest-selling jazz single of all time. His other well-known works that have become jazz classics include “Blue Rondo à la Turk,” “In Your Own Sweet Way,” and “The Duke.”
Beyond jazz, Brubeck composed numerous classical works, including oratorios and cantatas, a mass, ballet suites, quartet and chamber pieces, and orchestral works. He was a popular performer at international jazz festivals and concert halls and made several performances at the White House. Throughout his career, he received numerous honors and awards, including the National Medal of Arts and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. On his 89th birthday in 2009, he received the prestigious Kennedy Center Award.
Brubeck met his future wife, Iola Whitlock, while they were both students at the College of the Pacific. She was instrumental to his success, and became his collaborator in life and music, writing lyrics for many of his compositions and working as his manager, booker, and publicist all while raising their six children. Dave Brubeck passed away in 2012; Iola Brubeck passed away in 2014.
Dave and Iola Brubeck are survived by 10 grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, their only daughter Catherine Brubeck Yaghsizian, a writer and philanthropist, and four sons who are also musicians: Darius is a pianist and composer; Chris is a bassist, trombonist, and noted composer; Dan is a drummer and producer; and Matthew is a composer, cellist, bassist, and keyboardist.
Wilton Library is a nonprofit library association. For more information, visit the Wilton Library website or call 203.762.3950. The library is located at 137 Old Ridgefield Rd. in the heart of Wilton Center.