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Topics: Arts and Culture, Nonprofit

Preserving History with the New York Philharmonic

May 2022

About the Episode 

The New York Philharmonic is the oldest symphony orchestra in the United States, and it has over a century’s worth of archives including artifacts from performance history to images. To keep pace with online demand and to better serve the public, the New York Philharmonic turned to Amazon Web Services (AWS) to modernize its digital archives. To understand how the New York Philharmonic began its journey with AWS, the Fix This team sat down with Gabryel Smith, director of archives and exhibitions, and his colleague, Bill Levay, digital archivist at the New York Philharmonic. Gabryel and Bill share how the organization uses the cloud to preserve history, further engage with visitors, and more. Dive into the archives, and listen to the episode's opening music—a New York Philharmonic performance of Beethoven 9 with Kurt Masur, former music director, conducting.

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Guest Speakers

Gabryel Smith Headshot
Gabryel Smith Headshot

Gabryel Smith

Gabryel Smith is director of archives and exhibitions for the New York Philharmonics. Since 2009 he has curated over 30 exhibits for the Orchestra at David Geffen Hall, the New York Historical Society, and Vienna's Haus der Musik. He has lectured on the New York Philharmonic's history for audiences at Princeton, Juilliard, New York University, and around Lincoln Center as well as at conferences such as the Society of American Archivists. He has written articles for Playbill, Sony Masterworks, SAA's Performance!, and has contributed to the Philharmonic's weekly programs. In October 2021, he joined the Juilliard School Extension Faculty. He received his master's in archival training and American history from New York University. 

Bill Levay Headshot
Bill Levay Headshot

Bill Levay

Bill Levay is the Digital Archivist at the New York Philharmonics, where he manages digital assets and collections, including the Shelby White & Leon Levy Digital Archives. He is a Certified Archivist with a master's in library and information science from the Pratt Insititute School of Information. He also teaches a graduate-level information technology course at Pratt. 


02:37 - Brief history of New York Philharmonic
03:58 - Overview of the archives and cloud migration plans
05:58 - How the cloud will help modernize the archives

09:47 - How the New York Philharmonic plans to use the AWS IMAGINE Grant
12:13 - The importance of preserving art and culture and improving access to archives using the cloud

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