Located in the Music Library Reference Section, in MALIC, Jardine Hall room 313

** Denotes titles located in the general circulating collection in Ablah Library


Note: Biographical information may also be found in the listing of encyclopedias and under listings by genre.

Bakerís Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (Slonimsky)  REF ML105.B16
This is a great place to begin looking for brief to longer biographical entries, and with some works lists.  Not as in-depth as Grove, but voluminous in the number of entries.  The latest editions are housed in the Music Library reference collection, and older editions in the circulating collections on the 2nd floor of Ablah Library. 

Bakerís Biographical Dictionary of 20th Century Classical Musicians  REF ML105.S612 1997   
With some overlap, this does contain a different selection of entries from Bakerís Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, focusing specifically on the 20th century.  A second copy is available in Ablah library, 2nd floor.

The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music  REF ML105.H38 1996
This volume emphasizes classical musicians, although jazz and popular entries are also found here.  Yet another option when seeking biographical information.

International Whoís Who in Classical Music  REF ML105.I54
Extensive international coverage of living musicians, with contact information for each entry.  Appendices provide contact information for orchestras, opera companies, festivals, organizations, competitions and awards, libraries and conservatories.  Older editions are found in Ablah Library, 2nd floor.

Index to Biographies of Contemporary Composers (Bull)  REF ML105.B9
This source is particularly good for locating information on lesser-known composers in the modern era.  Published from 1964-1987 in 3 volumes this set indexes 185 sources of biographical information of late nineteenth and twentieth century composers.  Each volume indexes a different set of sources.  One checks the applicable name in volume one.  If an entry is found, consult the source indicated by abbreviation (the abbreviation key is found in the front of each volume), continue to check volumes two and possibly three if the name is not initially located. 

All Music Guide to Classical Music  REF ML156.9.A385 2005
Find here entries for performers, ensembles, composers and works (note, works are located under each respective composer).  Entries are notable for the inclusion of recommended representative recordings.

Contemporary Composers REF ML390.C66 1992
Find here biographical entries including associated publishers, bibliographies and lengthy works lists.

Brainardís Biographies of American Musicians  REF ML106.U3 B73 1999  
Find here biographical information on nineteenth century American musicians from a nineteenth century viewpoint, with bibliographies including twentieth century citations. 

Whoís Who in American Music: Classical  REF ML106.U3 W6 1985  
Though dated, this covers a broad range of musical occupations.  Consider this when searching for entries of music educators, librarians, writers, editors, and administrators, as well as composers and performers.

Contemporary American Composers (Anderson)  REF ML390.A54 1982
Although dated, this 2nd edition volume is helpful for biographical information on lesser-know composers, not covered elsewhere.  Entries often contain at least partial works lists.  An earlier edition is available in Ablah Library, 2nd floor.

Who was who in American History Arts and Letters  REF NX503.Z8 W48
This is an additional place to search for biographical information for those who were involved in the arts.

** Stage Deaths  REF Z5781.S76 1991
In 2 volumes, this title covers essential biographical information for international artists of the stage including opera, dance, music, theater, film and television personalities.  Entries include the artistís stage name, alias or billing name (where applicable), real name, names of parents, name of spouse(s), date and place of birth, date and place of death, type(s) or work done, source(s) of obituaries, and any book-length biographies in English.

A Dictionary of Musicians from the Earliest Times (Sainsbury)  REF ML105.S2 1825a 
This was the first major biographical dictionary of musicians in English.  In 2 volumes.

Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (Brown)  REF ML105.B87 1970
This is a good place to find biographical entries of British performers and teachers, not often found elsewhere. 

Biographisch Ė Bibliographisches Quellen Ė Lexikon der Musiker und Musikgelehrten christlicher Zeitrechnung bis Mitte des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts (Eitner)  REF ML105.E4 1959  
This set is useful for identifying works (by composer) that are no longer extant.  In 10 volumes.  

Historisch-Biographisches Lexikon der Tonkunstler (1790-1792) und Neues Historisch-Biographisches Lexikon Der  Tonkunstler (1812-1814)  (Gerber)  REF ML105.G38
A reprint of two important early German biographical dictionaries combined in a 4 volume set.

International Encyclopedia of Women Composers (Cohen)  REF ML105.C7 1987
In 2 volumes, this work provides short biographical entries and works lists for women composers throughout history.  The second volume also contains some helpful appendices such as a breakdown of composers by profession and instrument, a bibliography, discography and etc..  Previous edition is located in Ablah Library, 2nd floor.

The Norton/Grove Dictionary of Women Composers  REF ML105.N66 1994
Another good place to check for women composers, particularly those who are less well-known.  Covers women throughout history, in the standard format for Grove publications with a short biographical article, followed by a works list and bibliography where possible.

The Pandora Guide to Women Composers  REF ML390.F85 1994
Covering only Britain and the U.S. from 1629 to the early 1990s, this contains no works lists, but does have a helpful bibliography at the end of the book.

Biographical Dictionary of Afro-American and African Musicians (Southern)  REF ML105.S67 1982
For biographical information on Afro-American and African musicians in a wide variety of music occupations throughout history.  With brief but useful bibliographies.

International Dictionary of Black Composers  REF ML390.I58 1999
In 2 volumes, each entry provides a biographical outline, educational background and career highlights; a works list, bibliography, an analysis of their place in musical history and analysis of a selection of their works.  This set is not only international but covers all music genres.

** Directory of Blacks in the Performing Arts  REF PN1590.B53 M3 1990
This title contains brief biographical information along with career data for those involved in drama, music, and dance.  An earlier edition is also ocated in Ablah Library, 2nd floor.

Biographical Dictionary of Russian/Soviet Composers  REF ML106.S68 B56 1989
Provided here are entries for over 2000 composers born in Russia or the provinces, containing biographical information, works lists and bibliographies.

Les Musiciens Polonais et Slaves  REF ML106.P7 S7 1971
This reprint of the 1857 biographical dictionary of Polish and Slavic composers, also contains a history of Polish music and musical instruments.

British Musical Biography  REF ML106.G7 B8 1971
Another good place to check for biographical information on performing musicians of British origin.  This reprint of the 1897 work covers Britain and its colonies. 

Who is Who in ACUM  REF ML106.I75 R3
Biographical entries for authors, composers and publishers associated with the ACUM performing rights organization of Israel.

Dictionnaire des editeurs de musique francais (Devries)  REF ML112.D45
In 2 volumes, this is both a biographical dictionary and a compilation of facsimile music catalogs of music publishers and dealers in France from the 1500s to 1820.

Music in Belgium  REF ML390.C4 M9
This covers Belgian composers of the early 20th century.  Entries consist of a biographical background and a short listing of major works. 

Contemporary Czechoslovak Composers  REF ML390.G3x
Though published in 1965, this specifically covers 20th century Czech composers.  Entries are rather brief.

Australian Music & Musicians REF ML360.G5x
This contains biographical entries arranged by musical occupation, with an historical outline and chapters on performing groups/organizations in Australia.

Percussionists  REF ML399.B38 2000
Containing entries on classical and jazz percussionists, this provides selective discographies, videographies and bibliographies where applicable. 

A Directory of Composers for Organ  REF ML128.O6 H46 1996
With background on composers for the organ, this work is particularly helpful in locating information about lesser-known composers. 

Galaxy of Composers REF ML390.U5 1988
This provides biographical information about composers of educational keyboard materials.  Covering over 30 composers, each entry includes a works list.  One of the few places focusing on this area of specialization.

A Dictionary of Pianists (Lyle)  REF ML105.L9 1985
With brief entries, this provides biographical information on performers through history.  Doesnít cover more contemporary pianists, but is international in coverage.  With some black and white photographs.

A Dictionary of Violin Makers  REF ML802.S82
Find here entries for violin makers before the 20th century.

Meister Italienischer Geigenbaukunst  REF ML830.H3x 1965
Limited to Italian Violinmakers, each entry is provided in German, English and French, followed by photographs of a sample instrument for identification.


Updated: June 06, 2012
Rachel Crane, Music/Fine Arts Librarian