University of Chicago Library

Guide to the University of Chicago. Department of Music. Records 1892-2016

© 2021 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary


University of Chicago. Department of Music. Records




15 linear feet (14 boxes)


Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.


The University of Chicago’s Department of Music was founded in 1931. Since its establishment, it has offered graduate degrees in composition, historical musicology, ethnomusicology, analysis, and theory, as well as an undergraduate Bachelor of Arts degree in music. The Department also hosts a Performance Program that involves hundreds of musicians and numerous ensembles. The collection documents the department’s establishment and history, administrative processes, publications, publicity, and music performances organized by or at the University. The events represented in the records date back to the earliest years of the University before the Department’s establishment.

Information on Use


The records are open for research except Series VII. The documents in this series are restricted for 80 years from their creation.


When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: University of Chicago. Department of Music. Records, [Box #, Folder #], Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

Historical Note

Prior to the establishment of a Music Department in 1931, the University had formed its band, chorus, and orchestra and housed multiple music clubs. Numerous music performances had been organized and staged at the University of Chicago since the earliest years of its existence. These events include performances by the University’s own band and chorus, student-led music clubs, or prominent guest musicians and groups, local and international.

In 1903, Leon Mandel Assembly Hall (Mandel Hall) opened its door to listeners for the first time with a concert by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and since became one of the most important historic spaces for music performances at the University. Bond Chapel and Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, built in 1926 and 1928 respectively, became other major venues for the University’s music programs. Recitals, chamber concerts, and operas performed in these spaces are well documented in the collection. Of special note is the frequent appearance of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, which had formerly been named after its founder Theodore Thomas, in Mandel Hall from 1904-1934.

The Department of Music was established in 1931 as part of the Division of Humanities through a special gift from an anonymous donor. Following the department’s establishment, a University symphony orchestra was created during the academic year 1931-1932. The department’s first chair as well as the symphony orchestra director was the music scholar and composer Carl Bricken. In the following years and decades, the Department recruited such leading scholars and composers as Leonard B. Meyer, Edward Lowinsky, Ralph Shapey, and Howard Mayer Brown, and came to prominence in the 1960s as a major center of musical research and composition.

The Department’s Performance Program involves choirs, orchestras, and ensembles, and aims at providing the students with opportunities to participate in a variety of music performances. Since the establishment of the University Symphony Orchestra, several other ensembles were formed within the Department’s Performance Program. They include the Collegium Musicum, Rockefeller Chapel Choir, Motet Choir, Contemporary Chamber Players (later to be named “Contempo”), and New Music Ensemble. The collection contains documents about the musical performances of these ensembles over the decades. Moreover, the Department of Music hosted many other programs featuring visiting musicians and orchestras, as well as lectures and conferences.

The University of Chicago Chamber Music Series, founded in 1943, later grew into “The University of Chicago Presents” concert series with the mission of sharing world-class music through concerts and educational programs with audiences across Chicago and its surrounding suburbs. In the 1960s, the series came under the stewardship of the Department of Music at the University, where it has since resided. The University of Chicago Presents is also represented in the collection.

Scope Note

Series I, Administrative, consists of documents related to the Department’s administrative processes, including departmental reports and correspondence, meeting minutes, the relations with other University units and external parties, such as the Fromm Music Foundation. The folders in this series are arranged chronologically, except when multiple folders formed a thematic group.

Series II, Publications and Publicity, contains the Department’s publications, such as booklets, guides, calendars, and press releases, as well as extensive documentation of the press coverage of music programs. The latter is represented by newspaper clippings. The folders are first grouped thematically and then arranged chronologically. Researchers are also encouraged to consult Series VI for the scrapbooks that contain newspaper clippings about the music programs.

Series III, Events, comprises programs, flyers, posters, and invitation cards for a variety of music performances across decades. The series is divided into two subseries. Subseries 1, Performances and Programs General, brings together materials about miscellaneous performances and programs staged at the University. The folders in this subseries are grouped according to general types of the events or other unifying features. Each folder group is arranged chronologically in itself. Subseries 2, University Ensembles, consists of materials that document performances or performance series by various music ensembles belonging to or affiliated with the University of Chicago. In this subseries, certain folders belonging to the same ensemble are grouped together. The folders and folder groups are arranged chronologically. For more on music events, researchers are encouraged to consult Series VI, Oversize, for the scrapbooks that contain flyers, programs, and posters.

Series IV, Notated Music and Libretti, is arranged chronologically.

Series V, Photographs, consists of photographs of the Department’s faculty and music performances, and is arranged chronologically.

Series VI, Oversize, contains several scrapbooks. The scrapbooks, created over the course of sixty years, bring together newspaper clippings, programs, flyers, and posters of music events. They are arranged chronologically.

Series VII, Restricted, consists of documents that contain evaluative student materials. These documents are restricted for 80 years from the date of creation.

Related Resources

Browse finding aids by topic.

University of Chicago. Office of the President. Hutchins Administration. Records

University of Chicago. Office of the President. Levi Administration. Records

University of Chicago. Band. Records

University of Chicago. Department of Music. Choral Ensembles. Records

Music Relating to the University of Chicago. Records

Shapey, Ralph. Papers

Lowinsky, Edward E. Papers

Meyer, Leonard B. Papers

Subject Headings


Series I: Administrative

Box 1   Folder 1

Department of Music - History and Departmental Correspondence, 1931-1948

Box 1   Folder 2

The University of Chicago Band, 1934

Box 1   Folder 3

The University of Chicago Opera Association - Establishment, Finances, Correspondence, 1934-1936

Box 1   Folder 4

Student grades, 1938

Box 1   Folder 5

Department of Music - Meeting Minutes, 1944-1962

Box 1   Folder 6

Humanities Visiting Committee - Members Lists and Correspondence, 1952-1965

Box 1   Folder 7

Fromm Music Foundation - Programs, Finances, Correspondence, 1952-1968

Box 1   Folder 8

Fromm Music Foundation - Paul Fromm’s Correspondence, 1967-1986

Box 1   Folder 9

Graduate Fellowship Announcements, 1964-1974

Box 1   Folder 10

Graduate Degree Requirements, 1965-1970

Series II: Publications and Publicity

Box 2   Folder 1

Department of Music Press Coverage - Newspaper Clippings, 1929-1940

Box 2   Folder 2

Department of Music Press Coverage - Newspaper Clippings, 1941-1947

Box 2   Folder 3

Department of Music Press Coverage - Newspaper Clippings, 1961-1967

Box 2   Folder 4

Press Releases, 1940-1964

Box 2   Folder 5

Flyers and Posters for Tryouts, Auditions, Performance Opportunities, 1949-2011

Box 2   Folder 6

Societas Campanariorum - Press Release and Calendar for the 50th Anniversary, 1958

Box 2   Folder 7

“A Center for Music at the University of Chicago” - Booklet, 1963-1964

Box 2   Folder 8

Season and Event Calendars, 1981-2016

Box 2   Folder 9

“Chicago Scene” - Newsletter, 1982

Box 2   Folder 10

“Goodspeed Notes” - Newsletter of the Department of Music, 205

Box 2   Folder 11

“Pacifica Quartet” - Newsletter, 2005-2006

Box 2   Folder 12

“Graduate Study in Music” - Guide, no date

Box 2   Folder 13

“Graduate Study in Music” - Guide, no date

Box 2   Folder 14

“Music at the University of Chicago” - Booklet by the Department of Music, no date

Series III: Events

Subseries 1: Performances and Programs General

Box 3   Folder 1

Recitals - Programs, 1900-1920

Box 3   Folder 2

Recitals - Programs, 1921-1940

Box 3   Folder 3

Recitals - Programs, Posters, Flyers, 1945-2013

Box 3   Folder 4

Music Performances - Programs, 1892-1918

Box 3   Folder 5

Music Performances - Programs, 1922-1939

Box 3   Folder 6

Music Performances - Programs, Posters, 1941-1955

Box 3   Folder 7

Music Performances - Programs, Flyers, Invitation Cards, 1960-1976

Box 3   Folder 8

Music Performances - Programs, Posters, Invitation Cards, 1981-2000

Box 3   Folder 9

Music Performances - Programs, Posters, Invitation Cards, no date

Box 3   Folder 10

Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Concert Programs, 1904-1920

Box 3   Folder 11

Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Concert Programs, 1921-1934

Box 3   Folder 12

Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Concert Programs, 1965-1969

Box 4   Folder 1

Brahms Festival - Flyer, Program, Newspaper Clippings, 1933

Box 4   Folder 2

Composers Concert - Programs and Invitations, 1943-1946

Box 4   Folder 3

University Concerts - Concert Series Programs, 1945-1951

Box 4   Folder 4

University Concerts - Concert Series Programs, 1951-1957

Box 4   Folder 5

Lectures and Conferences - Programs and Invitation Cards, 1945-2000

Subseries 2: University Ensembles

Box 4   Folder 6

Musical Clubs - Concert Programs, 1895-1900

  • Women’s Glee Club
  • Women’s Mandolin Club
  • Glee Club
  • Mandolin Club
  • Banjo Club
  • Serenade Club
Box 4   Folder 7

Musical Clubs - Concert Programs, 1901-1920

  • Glee Club
  • Mandolin Club
  • Banjo Quintette
  • The Women’s Glee Club
  • The Men’s Glee Club
Box 4   Folder 8

Musical Clubs - Concert Programs, 1922-1955

  • Glee Club
  • Intercollegiate Glee Clubs
Box 4   Folder 9

University of Chicago Orchestra - Concert Programs, 1913-1917

Box 4   Folder 10

University Symphony Orchestra - Concert Programs, 1932-1940

Box 4   Folder 11

University Symphony Orchestra - Concert Programs, 1941-1950

Box 4   Folder 12

University Symphony Orchestra - Concert Programs, 1951-1960

Box 4   Folder 13

University Symphony Orchestra - Concert Programs, 1966-1979

Box 4   Folder 14

University Symphony Orchestra - Concert Programs, 1993-2013

Box 5   Folder 1

University Chorus and Orchesis - Music Performances, 1933-1935

Box 5   Folder 2

Collegium Musicum - Programs, Posters, Flyers, Press Coverage, 1939-1967

Box 5   Folder 3

Contemporary Chamber Players of the University of Chicago - Concert Programs and Posters, 1964-2015

Box 5   Folder 4

New Music Ensemble - Concert Posters, 1982

Series IV: Notated Music and Libretti

Box 5   Folder 5

“Choral Music, including piano and vocal parts, 1935-1936

Box 5   Folder 6

“Shvanda, the Piper” by Jaromir Weinberger - Complete Opera Libretto, 1936

Box 5   Folder 7

“A Service of Advent Lessons and Carols” - Musical Scores, 1981

Box 5   Folder 8

“Noah’s Flood” by Benjamin Britten - Complete Opera Libretto, 1982

Box 5   Folder 9

Centennial Songbook of the University of Chicago – Music for 22 Songs, 1991-1992

Box 5   Folder 10

“The Life of the Virgin Mary” by Paul Hindemith - Complete Song Cycle, no date

Box 5   Folder 11

Football Songs and Cheers, no date

Series V: Photographs

Box 5   Folder 12

Photographs from opera performance “Pimpinone,” 1939

Box 5   Folder 13

Photographs from opera performance “Music Master,” 1947

Box 5   Folder 14

Photographs of Siegmund Levarie and Music Department Faculty, no date

Series VI: Oversize

Box 6

Two scrapbooks - Event programs, flyers, posters, newspaper clippings, 1933-1939

Box 7

Scrapbook - Event programs, flyers, posters, newspaper clippings, 1943-1946

Box 8

Scrapbook - Newspaper clippings, 1947-1951

Box 9

Scrapbook titled “Musical Events 1964-1965” - Flyers, programs, posters, newspaper clippings, 1964-1965

Box 10

Scrapbook - Flyers, programs, posters, newspaper clippings, 1967-1993

Box 11

Scrapbook - Flyers, programs, posters, 1971-1987

Box 12

Scrapbook - Flyers, programs, posters, 1987-1995

Series VII: Restricted

The documents in this series are restricted for 80 years from date of creation.

Box 13   Folder 1

Fellowship application documents - Paula Kelch Elliott, 1965

Box 13   Folder 2

Fellowship application documents - Thomas Charles Elliott, 1965