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On what would have been her 110th birthday, the Northern Illinois University Libraries and the Friends of the NIU Libraries are hosting an event to celebrate and honor the life of world-renowned cellist and former NIU faculty member, Raya Garbousova, and her contributions to the world of music. Garbousova (1909-1997) was on faculty at NIU from 1979 until 1991 and was instrumental in building the music program by attracting very talented cello students to attend school at NIU.

Raya Garbousova

Raya Garbousova

She traveled the world performing as a soloist and broke down boundaries and stereotypes by playing a “man’s instrument,” paving the way for other women in the field. Her sheet music collection, which is held by NIU Special Collections, is featured in this exhibit. Other items on display are from the Music Library, and University Archives. An extension of the exhibit can also be found in the Reynolds Whitney Gallery in the NIU Music Building, including a large collage that was donated by her family.

The event will be held Wednesday, September 25 at 5 p.m. in the Founders Gallery of the Founders Memorial Library on NIU’s main campus.  The event will include an exhibit, light refreshments, live music, and a lecture by NIU music history instructor Elinor Olin on women’s role in music. Cheng-Hou Lee will be presenting a program of cello music. Lee is currently associate professor of music at NIU and cellist of the Avalon Quartet, the quartet-in-residence at the NIU School of Music.

The Garbousova Exhibit is currently on display and available for viewing in the Founders Memorial Library Gallery. This a public event, open to all who wish to attend. For those who wish to share memories, stories, and photos there is an online guest book for the event.