Housed in a quiet corner of Symphony Center, the Samuel R. and Marie Louise Rosenthal Archives provides a comfortable setting for serious research as well as casual study. Since its founding in 1990, the Archives has welcomed thousands of visitors from around the world to its reading room where collections—documenting the activities of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Chorus, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and Orchestra Hall—are made available to the general public. Whether a Symphony Center patron, student, scholar, or music aficionado, the Rosenthal Archives offers unique and historically significant collections of manuscripts, recordings, scores, photographs, and videos that capture the legacy of one of the world’s greatest orchestras.
Frank Villella has been a member of Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Rosenthal Archives’ staff since 1993, serving as Archivist since 2002. For the Orchestra, he has co-produced several compilations of archival sound recordings, written for the CSO’s program book and syndicated radio broadcasts, and contributed research to Sir Georg Solti’s Memoirs and biographies of Jacqueline du Pré, Isaac Stern, Bruno Walter, and Carlo Maria Giulini.
The Archives recently concluded a three-year audio digitization and preservation project of radio broadcast masters, interviews, and oral histories. The project was funded in part by grants from the GRAMMY Foundation, the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, and Save America’s Treasures through a partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Park Service, Department of the Interior.
Also an active musician, Frank has been a member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus since 1992, serving as a section leader and appearing on numerous recordings with the CSC (on Deutsche Grammophon, London, Erato, Teldec, Nonesuch, American Gramaphone, and CSO Resound). He also regularly performs with Schola Antiqua of Chicago and The Rookery.