Guide To the University Of California, Santa Cruz Contemporary Classical Collection ARS.0103

Finding aid prepared by Franz Kunst
Archive of Recorded Sound
Braun Music Center
541 Lasuen Mall
Stanford University
Stanford, California, 94305-3076
© 2011
The Board of Trustees of Stanford University. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: University of California, Santa Cruz Contemporary Classical Collection
Dates: 1928-1977
Collection number: ARS.0103
Creator: University of California, Santa Cruz.
Collection size: 11 boxes : 313 open reel tapes (11 5" ; 209 7" ; 93 10" reels)
Repository: Archive of Recorded Sound
Language of Material: Multiple languages
Abstract: The University Of California, Santa Cruz Contemporary Classical Collection consists of live performances of classical music, mostly by twentieth century composers, on open reel tape. For the most part, recordings date from the 1960s and 70s, and include rehearsals, radio broadcasts and interviews with composers and performers.


Open for research; material must be requested at least two business days in advance of intended use. Contact the Archive for assistance.

Publication Rights

Property rights reside with repository. Publication and reproduction rights reside with the creators or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Head Librarian of the Archive of Recorded Sound.

Preferred Citation

University Of California, Santa Cruz Contemporary Classical Collection, ARS-0103. Courtesy of the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

Scope And Contents

The University Of California, Santa Cruz Contemporary Classical Collection consists of live performances of classical music on open reel tape, including rehearsals, radio broadcasts (on KPFA and KUSC) and a few interviews with composers and performers. The material dates from the late 1920s (transfers of Colin McPhee's Bali expedition from 1928 and a 1929 Stravinsky piano roll) to the late 70s, although most are from the 1960s. While there are a few operas, the collection is heavy on instrumental music, especially organ and harpsichord music. Most significantly, the collection features many twentieth century composers, many of whom are quite obscure or under-recorded. The majority of performances are Northern Californian, but recordings are from across the United States as well as Europe. Unfortunately, little else is known of the provenance of this collection. It is unknown who made the recordings (although some are noted as copies), or what role UCSC played. The collection came to the Archive of Recorded Sound in the late 1980s. While a simple handwritten listing is available in the Archive, more detailed information is written on tape boxes and reels.
Despite the contemporary classical tag, and the fact that there is only one recording of Mozart, it would be a mistake to characterize this collection as all avant-garde (there is also only one Stockhausen performance). A variety of styles is present. Among the more well-known composers whose works are included: Andriessen, Badings, Berio, Boulez, Britten, Dallapicola, Gorecki, Harrison, Hindemith, Krenek, Matsushita, Milhaud, Nono, Penderecki, Schuller, Stravinsky, and Wagner. A few highlights: Messiaen and Cowell performing their own work, an interview with Toru Takemitsu, a documentary on Albert Schweitzer, and an Homage to Milhaud at Mills College in 1971.
Performing groups include the New York Philharmonic under Stokowski, Boulez, and Mitropoulos, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the Metropolitan Opera. There are recordings from festivals at Bayreuth, Tanglewood, Cabrillo, Spoleto, and Warsaw. Local performers include the San Francisco Symphony and Opera, the Oakland Symphony, the University of California Brass Ensemble, the Berkeley Piano Club, the Berkeley Free Orchestra, and the San Francisco Chamber Music Society. There are many recordings from keyboardists such as Alan Curtis, Margaret Fabrizio, Lawrence Moe, and Alice Ehlers (who is featured in an interview and lecture as well as in performance). In addition to the Balinese field recordings, there are also a few tapes of Japanese, Korean, and Indian traditional music.


Prior to accession, tapes were grouped accordingly: Series 1, 2 and 3 are all live performances. Series 1 features five-inch reels numbered 1-11. Series 2 is seven-inch reels numbered 1-118. Series 3 contains ten-inch reels numbered 1-93. Series 4 consists of items which were identified as rarer and more significant recordings. These have been assigned numbers as well, although there are many gaps. Many of these were renumbered from the previous sets. The majority of these tapes also appear to be live performances.


This finding aid was produced with generous financial support from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Box 1

1. Live performances - 5" reels (1-11)

Physical Description: 11 5" open reel tapes
Box 8, Box 2, Box 1

2. Live performances - 7" reels (1-118)

Physical Description: 117 7" open reel tapes
Box 6, Box 5, Box 4, Box 3

3. Live performances - 10.5" reels (1-93)

Physical Description: 93 10.5" open reel tapes
Box 11, Box 10, Box 9

4. Unusual Items, Listed by Composer

Physical Description: 92 7" open reel tapes