John Roberts

By Severt, Martie | Fontes Artis Musicae, October-December 2014 | Go to article overview

John Roberts


Severt, Martie, Fontes Artis Musicae


I met John Roberts when I attended my first conference in 1991. John Roberts was already one of the more prominent participants, acting as chair of the Bibliography Commission. John served 1AML in many other capacities. He was a member, and chair, of the Publications Committee, and a member of the Commission Mixte of R1SM. John also served on the Board of Directors of 1AML-US. We should not underestimate his role in the merger (a couple of years ago) of 1AML-US and MLA.

In 1995 John Roberts was elected VicePresident, re-elected in 1998 and he served as lAML's President from 2001 to 2004, followed by 3 more years as Past-President.

Since 1998, the year I was appointed treasurer of IAML, our contacts have intensified and I have been able to observe more closely his involvement in IAML.

For IAML it is a privilege that a librarian of one of the finest music libraries in North America, who is also an eminent scholar, is willing to serve the association.

IAML benefitted hugely from his many talents and his great knowledge in all fields of librarianship and musicology.

As President of IAML, John Roberts had the difficult task of leading the association with its many branches, working groups, committees, publications and contacts with other associations (John twice attended a meeting of IMC). Helped by his diplomacy, his patience, his language skills and his perseverance John was successful in building bridges between libraries and librarians with sometimes very different background, traditions and cultures.

An important achievement of John Roberts's Presidency was a debate on IAML's conference structure which resulted in changes to improve programs and the involvement of all participants.

IAML was very fortunate to meet in Berkeley in 2002. I am convinced that many participants of that conference wish they could return to Berkeley, as I was able to do, to visit the new music library which opened a couple of years after that conference. This truly magnificent building not only honours the University of California, Berkeley, its Libraries and its Music Department, but also John Roberts. He endlessly used all his talents to make this a library worthy of its fine collections, and to provide outstanding service to students and scholars.

As we all know John did not stop his involvement in IAML after finishing his term as Past-President in 2007. Since retirement from the Berkeley Library John has been able to spend much more time on his scholarly activities, with a focus on Handel and his work for the Hallische Handel Ausgabe, as a prominent member of the editorial board. …

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