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Finding Aid for the Eric Zeisl Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
  • Processing Note
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Eric Zeisl Papers
    Collection number: 29-M
    Creator: Zeisl, Eric, 1905-1959
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library. UCLA Library Special Collections
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1490
    Abstract: Zeisl's music manuscripts, published scores, correspondence, documents, recordings, and other materials.


    The collection is open for research.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UC Regents. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Processing Note

    A portion of the processing of this collection was generously supported by Arcadia.  

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Eric Zeisl Papers, 29-M, Library Special Collections , University of California, Los Angeles.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift; Barbara Zeisl Schoenberg.


    Zeisl was born in Vienna on May 18, 1905. A student of Richard Stöhr, Joseph Marx and Hugo Kauder, Zeisl achieved early recognition, publishing his first songs at the age of 16 and winning the Austrian State Prize in 1934 for the Requiem concertante (1933-1934). He was compelled to leave Austria and went first to Paris (1938) and then to the USA (1939). He moved from New York to Hollywood to work for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (1941), then settled in Los Angeles and became professor of theory and composition at Los Angeles City College in 1949. His gifts for melody, orchestration and dramatic expression were first developed in the songs of his Austrian years. Evident in his other Austrian compositions are the variation techniques and contrapuntal textures that would become lifelong preoccupations. In the USA, where he produced roughly half of his output, he abandoned song in order to devote more attention to instrumental pieces, sacred music and especially dramatic works, which powerfully express his Jewish heritage. Throughout his career he derived his large forms principally from those of the Baroque and Classical periods, but after his emigration earlier Austro-German Romantic elements were replaced by a combination of soaring, cantillation-like melodies, modal harmonies, metric shifts, flexible rhythmic patterns and dark orchestral colours. Zeisl died in Los Angeles on Feb. 18, 1959.

    Scope and Content

    The collection consists of Zeisl's music manuscripts, published scores, correspondence, documents, recordings, and other materials. It also includes correspondence and papers of the family of Gertrude Jellinek Zeisl, Eric Zeisl's wife.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Arranged in the following series:
    • Series 1. Manuscripts
    • Series 2. Miscellaneous Printed Material
    • Series 3. Zeisl's Professional Library
    • Series 4. Clippings and Programs
    • Series 5. Correspondence and Family Papers
    • Series 6. Photographic Material
    • Series 7. Miscellaneous and Realia
    • Series 8. Sound Recordings
    • Series 9. Unprocessed Material

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Zeisl, Eric, 1905-1959
    Zeisl, Gertrude S.
    Composers -- California -- Los Angeles -- Archival resources