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November 10, 2003

UCSC receives gift of 2,700 classical CDs from late UC Berkeley professor

By Scott Rappaport

The University Library at UCSC has received a gift of 2,700 classical CDs from the personal collection of the late Jesse C. Rabinowitz, a distinguished emeritus professor of molecular and cell biology at UC Berkeley, as well as an enthusiastic cellist and avid patron of the arts.

Music librarian Paul Machlis surrounds himself with just a few of the 2,700 classical CDs donated to the UCSC library by the late Berkeley professor Jesse Rabinowitz. Photo: Scott Rappaport

"The Music Department is tremendously grateful for this bequest, which will enhance the quality and diversity of our classroom teaching, benefit the innovative research undertaken by members of the music faculty, and support ongoing efforts to establish new graduate degree programs in music at UCSC," said Music Department chairman Anatole Leikin.

When fully cataloged, the Rabinowitz collection will increase the library's classical CD collection by almost 50 percent, raising it to a very high standard for a university of this size. UCSC music librarian Paul Machlis noted that Rabinowitz was a highly knowledgeable collector, buying deeply in genres ranging from early to contemporary music, and including titles from foreign and independent labels in addition to the major classical recording companies.

"A collection of this size and quality would normally take me many years to build, given current budgetary conditions,” Machlis said. “Mr. Rabinowitz's bequest will allow me to focus precious funds for compact discs on other sorely needed areas of music."

Rabinowitz was first introduced to the UCSC library by his longtime friend, Edward Penhoet, former dean of the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, cofounder of Chiron Corporation, and now director for science and higher education programs at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. “He was a true devotee of culture,” Penhoet said of Rabinowitz in a recent UC Berkeley publication. “Science, art, music, literature—all interested him. Without a doubt, he was the most complete example of a Renaissance man I’ve ever known.”

A talented photographer, Rabinowitz also left his extensive and wide-ranging collection of color slides to Special Collections at UCSC. The library is planning to make portions of this archive available online. Rabinowitz often exhibited his photographs at galleries in the San Francisco Bay Area and won the Grand Prize in Color award of Saturday Review magazine’s 1969 World Travel Photography Contest.

“These photographs are from Jesse Rabinowitz's world travels,” noted Christine Bunting, UCSC’s head of Special Collections and Archives. “His work is deeply humanistic in content, capturing intimate scenes of everyday life and the faces of many cultures. We're extremely pleased to have his work represented in Special Collections' photographic collections,” Bunting added.

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