Scope and Content of Collection
Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla 92093-0175
Title: Robert Erickson Papers
Identifier/Call Number: MSS 0096
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:
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.
Acquired 1987, 1998 and 2000.
Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.
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