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BPO library dedicated to bookish donor

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is an impressive sight to see on stage at Kleinhans Music Hall.

But what's under the stage is equally impressive.

That's where the orchestra's vast music library is stashed. The library holds scores of scores -- some 3,000 pieces -- covering centuries' worth of symphonic literature. The library is staffed by two full-time librarians, a part-time assistant, and a corps of volunteers.

The full-time librarians, Patricia Kimball and Travis Hendra, can often be spotted shortly before a performance begins, setting out the scores for the conductor. Without a library, an orchestra cannot function. Over the years, the BPO's library has been its unseen hero.

Now, the BPO's library is getting a new identity.

In an early-morning ceremony May 31, the orchestra is dedicating it to Bradford Lewis. Lewis, a longtime fan of the BPO, gave a substantial monetary gift to the BPO's Crescendo Campaign. Lewis has been a season subscriber  since 1969. He served on the orchestra's Board of Trustees from 1990 to 1995 as chair of its education committee.

BPO staff said that Lewis avoids the spotlight, preferring to be active behind the scenes. He has long been drawn to libraries. For almost 15 years, he volunteered with the music collection of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library System, which holds the largest collection of American sheet music in the United States.

Naming the BPO's library in his honor seemed a natural step.

"Brad's passion for music has inspired all of us, and we are honored that he has chosen to support the Philharmonic in this extraordinary way," JoAnn Falletta, the BPO's music director, said in a statement.

"Our music library is the heart of our organization, and their superb work enables the BPO to serve our community week after week with concerts of all varieties," she added. "Brad has been a beloved personal friend, and I am so proud that our library will bear his name."

The Crescendo Campaign began in 2014, with the goal of increasing the orchestra's endowment to provide a stable, renewable source of income for the organization. The campaign has raised $27 million of its $30 million goal. Once its goal is met, the BPO's endowment will be five times as large as its annual operating budget, which is the industry standard for an orchestra.

BPO warming up for summer season

Email: mkunz@buffnews.com

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