Copland, Stravinsky, and Hindemith Transcription Discs from 1950-1951 Transferred to the Sousa Archives

School of Music Audio Department Transcription discs of recordings of Aaron Copland, Igor Stravinsky, and Paul Hindemith, 1950-1951.

Between the years 1948 and 1951, the University of Illinois established itself as one of America’s premiere performance venues for contemporary music. With the founding of the university’s Festival of Contemporary Arts in 1948, the School of Music began bringing to the campus community some of the world’s most respected composers, performers, and music educators. The Sousa Archives acquired in December a series of newly re-discovered transcription discs found in the School of Music that contain recordings of many of these early performances and lectures that were given at the university.  Among these unique recordings is a lecture by Aaron Copland, an American populist composer known for pieces like Rodeo and Fanfare for the Common Man, which was given at Smith Music Hall on March 3, 1950 and then later broadcasted by the university’s WILL radio station. His lecture focused on the state of music composition in American. Another highlight of these discs is a recording of Russian composer, Igor Stravinsky, who conducted the University Sinfonietta in a special concert held at the University Auditorium on March 21, 1950.  During the concert, Stravinsky conducted several of his own compositions including: Octet for Wind Instruments, Two Suites for Small Orchestra, and Dumbarton Oaks Concerto in E Flat for Chamber Orchestra. Finally there are a series of recordings of Paul Hindemith, a renowned music educator and music theorist who immigrated to the United States in 1940, giving a lecture on his tonal system in January of 1951. Other key recordings found within the collection include: several early recordings of the Walden String Quartet; a performance of British composer Benjamin Britten conducting his works with tenor soloist Peter Pears; Hungarian cellist Gabor Magyar performing Zoltan Kodaly’s Concerto for Cello; and Romanian composer and violinist Georges Enesco performing with the University Orchestra.

The complete set of transcription discs dating between 1948 and 1951 were recently processed and added to the School of Music Audio Department Sound Recordings collection.  Over the next year the most significant of these recordings will be digitized and the audio content will be made available to the public through the Sousa Archives website.  More information about this important digitization work will follow in the coming months.

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