Library of Light Orchestral Music

Introduction to the Library

The Library of Light Orchestral Music is a non-profit making organisation for use by members of the Light Music Society only. For details of the Society and how to join, please see the About the Light Music Society section of the website.

The Library of Light Orchestral Music houses thousands of set of Light Music works and provides a hire service to orchestras and performers who are members of the Light Music Society and have had difficulty finding such music. It is listed in the British Music Yearbook and other reference books, and also gains publicity from various articles and occasional mentions in BBC radio programmes. Enquirers are referred to us by the British Music Information Centre, music colleges, public libraries, the Musicians' Union, the BBC and many publishers.

It is wholly funded by the subscriptions of Light Music Society members and the administration fees that are charged for hiring music. We receive no external funding.

Users of the Library include the BBC, recording companies, well known symphony orchestras, orchestras located at educational establishments, light orchestras and combinations and many smaller ensembles, both professional and amateur. Many requests are for music that would be difficult, if not impossible, to obtain elsewhere.

The requests received reflect the resurgence of interest in Light Music from recording companies, orchestras for concert hall performances and both amateur and professional ensembles.

As well as hiring music out for performance and recording, the Library also has an important heritage function - the collection offers a unique insight into the music actually played in concert venues and ballrooms from the early 1800s to the present day. Orchestral selections, often formed into dances like lancers and quadrilles, give a practical record of the popular songs and the stage shows of this whole period. As such, the Library may be of interest to musicologists and researchers.

Content of the Library

Located at Ernest Tomlinson's home in Lancashire, the Library holds over 35,000 orchestral sets and incorporates the personal libraries of composers and conductors including Frank Cantell (conductor of the BBC West of England Orchestra), Bob Sharples, Monia Liter, Neil Richardson and Walter Collins. It has many sets from now defunct orchestras and several public libraries, as well as more than 5,000 songs and several thousand Dance Band sets.

For more information about the range of music we hold and where it has come from, see the What's in the Library? section of the website.

The Library is unique in its range and quantity of music, and many pieces are unobtainable elsewhere. All music held is listed and accessible and while there is not yet a comprehensive catalogue, the process of creating one is on-going - we hope to produce a selective catalogue in the near future. When ready, this catalogue will be available to search on this website. This search will be available in the Catalogue Search page of the website.

Using the Library

The easiest way to hire music from the Library is to contact us to discuss your needs.

The Library is usually staffed on Wednesdays and Fridays between 9.30am and 3.30pm.

For more information on hiring music, please see the Use the Library section of the website.

As stated above, the services of the Library are only available to members of the Light Music Society. Membership of the Society in 2013 is only £25 for UK groups, organisations and families, so it is well worth joining if you wish to hire music from the Library.

For more details of the Society and how to join, please see the About the Light Music Society section of the website.

Forthcoming events

25 February 2018

25 March 2018

17 December 2018

  • Erato Orchestra In Concert

    • Erato Orchestra Conductor: Ian Butterworth Violin: Geoffrey Silver at St Mark's Church, Church Road, Purley, CR8 3QQ

19 February 2018

    • at
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Calendar of events

February 2018

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