Utilizing the New San Diego Central Library as a Musician… What a Resource! (6.4.2015)

Utilizing the New San Diego Central Library as a Musician… What a Resource!


After months of working from home, and realizing that my dishes were cleaner than any of my music was memorized, I figured it was time to regroup. I had to get out of the house.

I am not disciplined enough to stay focused on the task at hand with enticing options like folding laundry and paper filing readily available. I tried coffee shops, but that too was not terribly effective. It was more fun to people watch, and I spent money on bad coffee one too many times.

My next stop? The San Diego Central Library. It seemed like a good choice since it comes complete with free wifi, access to music scores, recordings and reference materials.  And indeed it was- thus began my current love affair with the library.


(The reading room on the 8th floor, looking up into the dome.)

A little over a month ago I had a coach recommend that I could improve my stylistic approach to Richard Wagner’s music by listening more. I needed to spend some quality time listening to recordings of his operas from Bayreuth, the theatre he designed and built specifically for the performance of his music. To this day the most authentic Wagner is heard at Bayreuth (click here to hear a recording from 1936), and thousands go there every year to make their ‘pilgrimage‘ as an homage to the composer.

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(The path to greatness… look at all those scores!)

The library has proven to be a fantastic location for this type of activity. A quick search through the library catalog displayed a wide variety of piano reduction and complete orchestral scores- all just sitting on shelves waiting for me to come along and pluck them up! I am able to come in, pull a score off the shelf, find recordings and then listen. They have large comfy chairs, or my personal favorite- large empty tables, just waiting for me to come along to spread out my computer, scores and notebooks.

(The large empty tables just waiting for me!)

In the last month I’ve also started the daunting task of learning new roles. One of the first and most important parts of learning a new role is understanding the language. Texts and translations! What is your character saying? What are the people around that person saying? There is no better source for this than the volumes of Nico Castel’s (may he rest in peace) translations of opera libretti. Does the SD Central Library have these books? No! Did this stop me? No!

Due to a relatively new program called the “San Diego Circuit Consortium Catalog” with your SD Public Library card you can access books at any library within the San Diego County Library, SD Public Library, SDSU, UCSDor USD system. So sure enough, UCSD had the Nico Castel volumes I needed and I was able to request to have them sent downtown. Amazing! Now I can translate texts to my little hearts content, and I don’t have to be a student at UCSD or drive to La Jolla to do so!


(The architectural detail of Robert Quiqley’s design is present every where, even in the lamps!)

In addition to their collection of scores and recordings, or the incredibly large catalogue of books and reference materials available- it’s also just a beautiful space to work. The large study area under the dome on the 8th floor offers spectacular views of the city and bay. They have large solid tables with terrific lighting and outlets so that you can plug in your computer to recharge that dying battery.  Lest I forget to mention their staff of librarians that are very helpful, and are in fact the folks who turned me on to the whole Circuit program in the first place.


(Looking out towards the mountains in the east.)

If you haven’t already done so, take an afternoon and visit the library. They have two hours of free validated, underground parking- so you literally have nothing to loose. Especially if you are a musician, this is an incredible resource!

(Ah yes, the music makers…)

Keep reading and listening,

Anishka (aka Nishi la Tremenda!)