A new exhibition on world renowned, Russian-born cellist Raya Garbousova has opened at NIU’s Founders Memorial Library.  Garbousova taught in the NIU School of Music from 1979 to 1991.

Raya Garbousova

Garbousova was one of the first women to play the cello, and she was an accomplished artist who performed throughout Europe and United States and other parts of the world.  Samuel Barber wrote his cello concerto for her.

She was born in Tbilisi, Georgia in 1909 when it was part of the Russian Empire.  She made her performance debut at 14 in 1923 and left Moscow in 1925.  She lived in Europe for several years before emigrating to the United States in 1939.  In 1948 she married cardiologist Kurt Biss and they moved to DeKalb.

Garbousova’s sheet music collection is held in Founders Memorial Library’s special collections.  The exhibition was curated by Sarah Holmes, the university’s Interim Music Librarian. “The sheet music collection is the main part of this exhibit,” she said. “We are very lucky to have this collection.”

The exhibit will remain open through July 31, and there is a small portion of exhibit, including a large collage, on display in the NIU Music Library, in the Music Building.