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Erickson (Robert) Papers
MSS 0096  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Restrictions
  • Acquisition Information
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation

  • Descriptive Summary

    Languages: English
    Contributing Institution: Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
    9500 Gilman Drive
    La Jolla 92093-0175
    Title: Robert Erickson Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: MSS 0096
    Physical Description: 24 Linear feet (28 archives boxes, 13 flat boxes, 3 cassettes boxes, 1.5 oversize boxes, 1 records carton and 3 map case folders)
    Date (inclusive): 1940 - 1996
    Abstract: Papers of Robert Erickson, American composer and co-founder of the Music Department at UC San Diego.


    Born in Marquette, Michigan on March 7, 1917, Erickson studied composition with Austrian composer Ernst Krenek at Hamline University in St. Paul and graduated in 1943. After three years in the Army, he returned to Hamline, receiving an M.A. in music in 1947.
    Erickson began his career teaching composition at the College of St. Catherine's in St. Paul. He then taught at the University of California, Berkeley, and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, before becoming one of the founders of the Department of Music at the University of California, San Diego, in 1967.
    Erickson is known for his use of the 12-tone system, sounds recorded on tape, and self-made instruments. His works have been performed and commissioned by the Minneapolis, San Francisco, Oakland, and Los Angeles Symphony Orchestras, the American Composers Orchestra, and ensembles including the Arch Ensemble, Continuum, the Kronos Quartet, the Sequoia Quartet and SONOR.
    In addition to receiving the Ford Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Yaddo fellowships, Erickson has been the recipient of numerous awards including the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, the Drew Prize in Music Composition, and, in 1985, the Kennedy Center Friedheim Award for excellence in chamber music for his string quartet, Solstice.
    Throughout his career, Erickson published numerous articles and authored two books: The Structure of Music: A Listener's Guide in 1957 and Sound Structures in Music in 1975.
    Erickson died on April 24, 1997.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Robert Erickson Papers document Erickson's career as a composer, musician and faculty member at UC San Diego. The collection is comprised of correspondence, holograph music scores, materials relating to Erickson's teaching and his work with the Center for Music Experiment, and recordings of performances and appearances on several media formats including audiocassette, VHS, Beta, and reel-to-reel.
    The papers are arranged in six series: 1) BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS, 2) CORRESPONDENCE, 3) MUSIC, 4) UC SAN DIEGO MATERIALS, 5) WRITINGS and 6) MEDIA.


    Original audiovisual formats, including VHS, Beta, audiocassettes, LPs, and reel-to-reel tapes, are restricted. Researchers may request access to digitally reformatted versions, which are available for most recordings.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired 1987, 1998 and 2000.

    Publication Rights

    Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.

    Preferred Citation

    Robert Erickson Papers, MSS 96. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Music -- Instruction and study -- Archives
    Orchestral music -- Scores
    Music -- 20th century -- Archives
    Composers -- United States -- Archives
    Erickson, Robert, 1917-1997 -- Archives
    University of California, San Diego. Department of Music
    Krenek, Ernst, 1900-1991 -- Correspondence