Camila Trujillo Medina and Dr. Michelle Stott James, PhD, Germanic and Slavic Languages
The endeavor to preserve the memory of German composer Luise Greger (1862-1944) has taken me and my mentor, Dr. Michelle James, head of the German and Slavic Department, into the almost unexplored topic of early 20th century German music. Since very little effort has been devoted to Greger’s music, there have been but few sources we could turn to as we have gathered contextual information to frame Greger’s significance in history. As a result, we have been able to delve into an exciting area of knowledge, breaking ground where barely anyone else had been.
Given that there was little in the way of scholar archives to peruse, this project has allowed me to be exposed to approaches of research usually reserved for graduate school. As opposed to trying to decide what in the existing literature was relevant, we have come in contact with primary sources. We have classified letters and photographs once in possession of Luise Greger to make sense of the narrative that strings them together, and organized them so others may understand how they impacted Greger’s life and work.
While involved in this effort, I have encountered challenges I did not expect. For example, the Greger family provided my mentor with newspapers articles that mentioned Luise Greger while she lived. Soon, I discovered I would need to receive counsel from BYU’s Copyright Licensing Office to make sure their publishing would not violate copyright laws. Furthermore, we will even need an expert in copyright laws of Germany to aid us in this particular matter.
While organizing some articles and photographs, we also realized we needed more information to understand the context of our material. Sometimes this led to conventional, secondary-source research. Sometimes this led to contacting the family and publising houses in Germany, asking for additional insight.
Although I have completed my portion of the research and have achieved the goals I established with my mentor, because of ongoing involvement on the part of the Greger family, and changes and additions which they request to the material we have prepared, the Luise Greger project is still ongoing. We needed to go beyond the conventional one-year of research to accommodate this collaboration of entities and different groups of people. Although it began as an individual ORCA project, the work on Luise Greger which we envisioned will now be taken over as part of the ongoing Sophie Mentored Research Project. As we gather all input, we will carry on with constructing a comprehensive narrative of German composer Luise Greger, bringing back the memory of a woman artist once nearly completely forgotten by anthologies of 20th century music.