Westminster Music Library

WML logoThe largest public music library in the south of the UK, Westminster Music Library (WML) was founded in 1946 when the music critic Edwin Evans died, leaving his collection of thousands of books, letters, manuscripts and scores. Following his death, a committee was set up to administer his collection and deposited it with Westminster Libraries, who with their support, continue to expand, promote and maintain this unique resource. Now holding over 60,000 items covering western and non-western classical, traditional, popular music and jazz, WML also offers the use of a digital piano, composition software, an extensive range of electronic resources from Grove to Naxos and regular music making activities, all for free.

The Library actively seeks opportunities to work with new partners, inviting and encouraging the widest possible audience to engage with the collection.

For over five years, WML has organised recitals and music workshops for members of Open Age – A local user led charity enabling retired older people to maintain active lifestyles and develop new and stimulating interests; it offers work placements to members of Streetwise Opera – an award-winning charity that uses music as a tool to help hundreds of homeless people move forward in their lives; and organises music workshops for the Bridge Community Project – an educational initiative which identifies and nurtures young children who might not otherwise have the opportunity to engage in classical music.

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
This important partnership was established in 2008 when external funding was secured to present a series of music workshops in WML, working with musicians and workshop leaders from the Orchestra’s education programme – Resound. During these highly successful workshops, participants created new pieces and explored new repertoire with the support of these world class musicians.

RPO Workshop

Feedback from annual user surveys illustrates that the extensive use of WML by professional musicians, teachers and music programmers is an indication of the vital role it plays in the musical environment of London and the nation: 

“Westminster Music Library has a collection of national standing and has had enormous impact on musical activity in the capital and beyond. In the public library arena it is unsurpassed”

“It is invaluable having such an excellent music library with books and scores of classical music, not forgetting those in the store that aren’t on open shelving. Staff are knowledgeable and help you find what you need. In an age when so much is done by computer, it really is important to have access to in and out of print books, historical gems, scores and other music. Plus staff who can answer obscure questions that the computer can’t tackle. Long may it flourish.”

“…There is no doubt in my mind that the [music] Library is of enormous local and national importance. The collection of scores, books and orchestral parts is unparalleled. The staff are knowledgeable and extremely helpful. The late opening until 7pm is a boon for those who are out at work during the day…”

“…For the last few years I have been completing a thesis …much of the recent secondary material that needed to be incorporated had to be found through inter library loan searches. A small amount of the material came through the British Library but the bulk was found by you. I was very demanding but was never made to feel as if I was an inconvenience or worse. Everyone was helpful. The thesis has been examined and approved…this is in no small part thanks to you… Sincere thanks.”

“London is a city full of world-class musicians, orchestras and venues…If performers ask where to best find sheet music, scores or literature, we direct them to Westminster Music Library, simply because it offers the most comprehensive selection and is by far the largest public music library in the south of the country.

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