Guide to the Sandor Salgo Papers SC0870

Department of Special Collections and University Archives
Green Library
557 Escondido Mall
Stanford 94305-6064

Language of Material: English
Contributing Institution: Department of Special Collections and University Archives
Title: Sandor Salgo Papers
Creator: Salgo, Sandor.
Identifier/Call Number: SC0870
Identifier/Call Number: 16807
Physical Description: 31.25 Linear Feet
Date (inclusive): 1939-2005

Access to Collection

The materials are open for research use. Audio-visual materials are not available in original format, and must be reformatted to a digital use copy.

Publication Rights

All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, California 94305-6064. Consent is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner, heir(s) or assigns. See:
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Preferred Citation

[identification of item], Sandor Salgo Papers (SC0870). Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

Biographical / Historical

Professor emeritus of Music, Sandor Salgo conducted the Marin Symphony for 33 years (1956-1989), the Carmel Bach Festival for 35 years (1956-1991), the San Jose Symphony for 19 years (1951-1970), and the Modesto Symphony for nine years (1951-1970). For 24 years during that period, as professor of music at Stanford University, he conducted its symphony and opera program (1949-1974).
With the Marin Symphony, at Carmel and Stanford, he introduced more works to the Bay Area than any other conductor. These included in Marin the first West Coast performance of Britten's War Requiem, Honegger's Jeanne d'arc au bûcher, Dutilleux, Frank Martin, Szymanowski's and Milhaud's Second Violin Concertos, and Virgil Thomson's Mother of Us All.
He developed the Carmel Bach Festival from a local event into a nationally recognized celebration of Bach's music, with three weeks of concerts and recitals, and performances of the cantatas and of one of the Passions or the B Minor Mass each year. Often an opera was featured, with memorable performances of Beethoven's Fidelio, Monteverdi's Orfeo, and Mozart's Marriage of Figaro, Il Clemenza di Tito, Magic Flute, and Don Giovanni. Performing an extraordinary span of the Baroque repertory and works from the Classical period, he pursued a middle road between the romantic and modern sensibility and the viewpoint of early music revivalists.
Sandor Salgo was raised in Budapest, Hungary, where he graduated from the Liszt Academy in 1928, after which he studied music in Berlin with the great violin master Carl Flesch and in Dresden with the distinguished conductor Fritz Busch. The conducting teacher to whom he said he owed the most was George Szell, whom he studied with much later, in Princeton in the 1940s. In the 1930s, he played in several orchestras, including the Budapest Opera, where he played under Dohnányi, Richard Strauss, Erich Kleiber, Bruno Walter, and Hans Knappertsbusch, and, for three weeks, at Bayreuth under Toscanini. While Salgo returned to Europe later in his life, he refused ever to visit Hungary or even speak Hungarian, because of the repressive government during his youth, the anti-Semitism, and in the Nazi years, the holocaust.
Sandor Salgo began his professional career as a violinist with the Roth String Quartet. In 1937, he came to the United States for the first time on a tour with the Quartet. Two years later, he was offered a job teaching music at the Westminster Choir College in Princeton, where he stayed 10 years, and met and married his wife, Priscilla. In Princeton, after attending one of Salgo's orchestra concerts in 1942, Albert Einstein expressed his written appreciation, "Mr. Sandor Salgo is a musician of high standing. The concert he gave ... has made a deep impression on me." Later, the two met to play violin duets by Vivaldi. Salgo recalled that Einstein was not a very good violinist, and that once, one of the musicians in a string quartet with which he was playing shouted at him, "What's the matter with you, Albert? Can't you count?"
After three years of wartime service as a musician in the U.S. Army, he joined the Stanford University faculty and conducted the orchestra in an increasingly adventurous repertory that included works of Bartók, Kodaly, Copland, Dutilleux, Sessions, Carter, and Berg. Milhaud's Stanford Serenade was dedicated to the distinguished Los Angeles oboist Donald Leake, who had played at the Carmel Festival, as well as to Salgo and the Stanford Orchestra, who together gave its premiere in 1970. Salgo conducted the Stanford Opera in major company repertory that included Verdi's Falstaff and the West Coast premieres of Stravinsky's Rake's Progress and Prokofiev's Love for Three Oranges, as well as operas by Mozart, Gluck, Dvorák, Poulenc, Foss, Moore, and Dallapiccola. He "discovered" Jess Thomas, then a graduate student there, and gave the tenor his first roles.
The courses he taught were popular, in particular his Beethoven course, which he gave for some 10 years. One year it had the second-highest enrollment of any course at Stanford, second, he recalled with much amusement, to a course in sexual behavior. The impact of his teaching was once attributed to "a combination of his courtly, European manner and the force of his scholarship and knowledge" and a "gentle, down-to-earth quality to his lectures, which are designed to help listeners make more sense of classical music." "The only way to understand music is to see how it is put together," he said. "It is what is behind those notes. It is the poetry of it." One of his more celebrated students, the late Denis de Coteau, former music director of the San Francisco Ballet, who received the DMA degree under Salgo in 1964, recalled, "When I went to work with him at his home, I didn't feel like I was a student. I felt like a friend. He has a humanness about him."
Following retirement in 1974, he continued to give lectures on the campus and for alumni, and wrote a book, Thomas Jefferson, Musician and Violinist, in 2000. It was Jefferson, and specifically the Declaration of Independence, that he devoured as a 16-year-old and who inspired his earliest dreams of America. Awards he received included the Dinkelspiel Award for Outstanding Service to Undergraduate Students and the French government's Chevalier des arts et lettres.
Salgo was perfectly suited to the role he was to play, not only in musical gifts, training, and experience, but also in temperament and style, which was gracious and patiently insistent — ideal for dealing with the range of musicians he faced here and the patrons. As one of his leading former students, Mark Volkert, assistant concertmaster of the San Francisco Symphony, was quoted as saying in Salgo's oral history about his B Minor Mass performances, "No one captures the drama of the piece like Mr. Salgo. He's always scholarly, never mannered, and he captures the emotions just precisely. ... It was a romantic style, but beyond that there were the emotions that were lacking in what is called the authentic style." As an interpreter above all, Salgo devoted himself to making the expressive or spiritual message utterly clear and involving.
He died Jan 20, 2007. He was survived by his wife of 63 years, Priscilla, a daughter, Debra Danove, and grandsons Daniel and Michael, of Chicago.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Orchestral music, Arranged
Musical performances
Music -- Study and teaching


Papers Accession ARCH-2007-1511840717

box 1

Photographs of Sandor Salgo 1841005 1960s

box 1

Articles on the Carmel Bach Festival 1841009

box 2

Loose papers 1841007

box 4, folder 1

Marin Symphony clipping 1841003 3/23/80

box 4, folder 2

Office (miscellaneous correspondence) 1841001

box 4, folder 3

Lectures, assorted correspondence 1840999

box 4, folder 4

J. S. Bach Golden Chair 1840997

box 4, folder 5

Casper, G. – correspondence 1840995 1997-2005

box 4, folder 6

Colburn correspondence (Isaac Stern) 1840993

box 4, folder 7

Germany, assorted correspondence 1977-91 1840991

box 4, folder 8

East Berlin correspondence 1978-82 1840989

box 4, folder 9

Fan mail 1840987 1994-98

box 4, folder 10

Retirement 1840985 1974

box 4, folder 11

Fan mail (Stanford) 1840983 1956-91

box 4, folder 12

1955 (several family letters 1955 and one letter from 1939) 1840981

box 4, folder 13

Unlabeled (correspondence) 1840979

box 4, folder 14

Marin 1840977 2002

box 4, folder 15

Montana (2 letters from Richard Drake) 1840975 1991

box 4, folder 16

Suitner, Otmar, correspondence 1840973 1973-78

box 4, folder 17

Carmel (clippings) 1840971 1964-66

box 4, folder 18

Carmel retirement (correspondence) 1840969 1991

box 4, folder 19

Fan mail Carmel 1840967 1961-99

box 4, folder 20

Fan mail Marin 1840965

box 4, folder 21

Fan mail Modesto 1840963

box 4, folder 22

Fan mail miscellaneous 1840961

box 4, folder 23

Carmel, clippings 1840959 1956-63

box 4, folder 24

Carmel, clippings 1840957 1967

box 4, folder 25

Carmel, clippings 1840955 1968

box 4, folder 26

Carmel, clippings 1840953 1969

box 4, folder 27

Carmel, clippings 1840951 1970

box 4, folder 28

Carmel, clippings 1840949 1971

box 4, folder 29

Carmel, clippings 1840947 1972-73

box 4, folder 31

Carmel, clippings 1840945 1974

box 4, folder 32

Carmel, clippings 1840943 1975

box 4, folder 33

Carmel, clippings 1840941 1976

box 4, folder 34

Carmel, clippings 1840939 1977

box 4, folder 35

Carmel, clippings 1840937 1978

box 4, folder 36

Carmel, clippings 1840935 1979

box 4, folder 37

Carmel, clippings 1840933 1980

box 4, folder 38

Carmel, clippings 1840931 1981

box 4, folder 39

Carmel, clippings 1840929 1982

box 4, folder 40

Carmel, clippings 1840927 1983

box 4, folder 40

Carmel, clippings 1840925 1985

box 4, folder 42

Carmel, clippings 1840923 1986

box 4, folder 43

Carmel, clippings 1840921 1987

box 4, folder 44

Carmel, clippings 1840919 1988

box 4, folder 45

Carmel, clippings 1840917 1989

box 4, folder 46

Carmel, clippings 1840915 1990

box 4, folder 47

Carmel, clippings 1840913 1991

box 4, folder 48

Carmel, clippings 1840911 1996-97

box 5

Files (about half is clippings of reviews of performances in Marin, Modesto, San Jose, Stanford, etc., 1957-88; rest is programs from Carmel Bach Festival, 1965-92) 1840909

box 6

Files (includes programs and a few other items from Marin Symphony, Modesto Symphony, San Jose Symphony, and Stanford concerts; miscellaneous correspondence; research on T. Jefferson; correspondence with Darius Milhaud, 1965-72) 1840907

box 7

Binders and bound objects 1840905

box 8

Loose papers; programs and ephemera from several orchestras and from other miscellaneous performances 1840903

box 9

Assorted papers, one binder, correspondence (mostly still in envelopes), card file index, button "I Go for Salgo" 1840901

box 10

Letter from Albert Einstein; packet of travel materials (mostly newsprint); assorted papers (possibly some certificates); Album "The Salgo Years Marin Symphony 1956-1989" [mostly programs]; binder of notes and registrations for Salgo Lectures 1996; photo album Music of Beethoven in Honor of Founders' Day 1974; album "Johann Sebastian Bach Golden Chair to honor Maestro Sandor and Priscilla Salgo Carmel Bach Festival" [list of names 1992] 1840899

box 11

Assorted papers (programs, correspondence, clippings, etc.); 2 books: vocal score to Puccini's La Boheme and Henry N. Switten's Living Musical Theory, First Volume (1943 – self-published course book, inscribed to Salgo); Modesto Symphony Orchestra programs 1976-1987 1840897

box 12

Marin Symphony programs 1969-1988; Marin Symphony Guild programs 1957-69; Carmel Bach Festival Programs 1954-1991; framed item "Priscilla" [1991 printed piece on her name] 1840895

box 13

Assorted programs, publicity (including a small amount of newsprint), and other papers 1940-; 1 reel of audiotape: Side 1 Jean Gilles "Te Deum", Side II Jean Gilles "Requiem" copied from a record 1840893

box 14

Assorted files, programs, and loose papers; Notebook on orchestration; album of congratulatory letters re Marin Symphony; small notebook "Love Notes to Maestro Salgo"; notes on Bach, Samuel Barber, and other topics not clearly noted 1840891

box 16

photos from Bach Festival; hand-made portfolio "Maggie & Jiggs 1971" containing music for a skit about behind-the-scenes at the Carmel Bach Festival; and drawing of a costume [flat box] 1840887

box 17

Plaques: 1840885

box 17

San Jose Symphony Orchestra in recognition… 1840883

box 17

CA State Assembly in appreciation…music conductor of the Modesto Symphony May 1986 1840881

box 17

Association of CA Symphony Orchestras, in honor of contributions to classical music…August 12, 2000 1840879

box 17

Carmel-by-the-Sea City Council in appreciation August 1991 1840877

box 17

Modesto Symphony Guild…May 12, 1988 1840875

box 17

CA State University, Stanislaus, in appreciation…September 1986 1840873

box 17

Framed poem written for ACSO luncheon in honor of Salgo, August 12, 2000 1840871

box 17

Ceremonial key to the City of Modesto 1840869

box 18

Annotated books from Salgo's library (on Bach): 1840867

box 18

Adrich, Putnam. Ornamentation in J. S. Bach's Organ Works 1840865

box 18

Bach, the Journal of the Riemenschneider Bach Institute. Spring 1990, Spring-Summer 1991 1840863

box 18

Bach-Händel-Schütz-Ehrung der DDR 1985 : V. Internationales Bachfest in Verbindung mit dem 60. Bachfest der Neuen Bachgesellschaft, Leipzig, 19. bis 27. März 1985 1840861

box 18

Bachforschung und Bachinterpretation heute : Wissenschaftler und Praktiker im Dialog : Bericht über das Bachfest-Symposium 1978 der Philipps-Universität Marburg 1840859

box 18

Boult, Adrian Cedric. The St. Matthew Passion; its preparation and performance 1840857

box 18

Chailley, Jacques. Les passions de J.-S. Bach 1840855

box 18

David, Hans Theodore. J. S. Bach's Musical Offering 1840853

box 18

Durr, Alfred. De Kantaten von Johann Sebastian Bach. Band 1, Band 2 1840851

box 18

Durr, Alfred. Performance Practice of Bach's Cantatas. American Choral Review 1840849

box 18

Geiringer, Karl. Johann Sebastian Bach, the Culmination of an Era 1840847

box 18

Geiringer, Karl. Symbolism in the Music of Bach 1840845

box 18

Gerber, Rudolf. Bachs Brandenburgische Konzerte 1840843

box 18

Marshall, Robert L. The Music of Johann Sebastian Bach 1840841

box 18

Mellers, Wilfrid. Bach and the Dance of God 1840839

box 18

Reinhart, Walther. Die Auffuhrung der Johannes-Passion von J. S. Bach 1840837

box 18

Riemenschneider, Albert. The use of the Flutes in the Works of J. S. Bach 1840835

box 18

Schrade, Leo. Bach, the conflict between the sacred and the secular. 1840833

box 18

Schwendowius, Barbara, ed. Johann Sebastian Bach: Life, Times, Influence 1840831

box 18

Terry, Charles Sanford. Bach, the passions. Book I and Book II 1840829

box 18

Whittaker, W. Gillies. The Cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach, Vol. I and II 1840827

box 18

Wolff, Christoph. Bach, Essays on His Life and Music 1840825

box 19

Annotated books from Salgo's library (on Beethoven, Berlioz, Haydn, Handel, Rameau): 1840823

box 19

Bairstow, Handel's Oratorio "The Messiah" 1840821

box 19

Beethoven : Fidelio 1840819

box 19

Burnham, Scott. Beethoven Hero 1840817

box 19

Holoman, D. Kern. Berlioz 1840815

box 19

Hughes, Rosemary. Haydn String Quartets 1840813

box 19

Kerman, Joseph. The Beethoven Quartets 1840811

box 19

Kinderman, William. Beethoven 1840809

box 19

Larsen, Jens Peter. Handel's Messiah 1840807

box 19

Larsen, Jens Peter. Handel Studies 1840805

box 19

Mellers, Wilfrid. Beethoven and the Voice of God 1840803

box 19

Pischner, Hans. Die Harmonielehre Jean-Philippe Rameaus 1840801

box 19

Tovey, Donald Francis. Beethoven 1840799

box 19

Tyson, Alan, ed. Beethoven Studies 1840797

box 19

Weingartner, Don Felix. Ratschlage dur Auffuhrungen der Symphonien Beethovens 1840795

box 20

Annotated books from Salgo's library (on Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Dutilleux, conducting): 1840793

box 20

Bamberger, Carl, ed. The Conductor's Art 1840791

box 20

Berlioz, Hector. The Orchestral Conductor 1840789

box 20

Blom, Eric. Tchaikovsky Orchestral works 1840787

box 20

Braunbehrens, Volkmar. Mozart in Vienna 1781-1791 1840785

box 20

Dent, Edward J. Mozart's Operas 1840783

box 20

Einstein, Alfred. Mozart, his character and work 1840781

box 20

Girdlestone, Cuthbert. Mozart and His Piano Concertos 1840779

box 20

Jacob, Gordon. Orchestral Technique 1840777

box 20

Rimsky-Korsakow, Nicolas. Principles of Orchestration 1840775

box 20

Lang, Paul Henry, ed. The Creative World of Mozart 1840773

box 20

Lang, Paul Henry, ed. Stravinsky, a new appraisal of his work 1840771

box 20

Prout, Ebenzer. The Orchestra, Volume II Orchestral Combination 1840769

box 20

Rudolf, Max. The Grammar of Conducting 1840767

box 20

Zodiaque, January 1893 (issue on Henri Dutilleux) 1840765

box 21

Annotated books from Salgo's library (on music appreciation, music history, etc.): 1840763

box 21

Bagar, Robert. The Concert Companion, a comprehensive guide to symphonic music 1840761

box 21

Blume, Friedrich. Classic and Romantic Music, a comprehensive survey 1840759

box 21

Boyden, David D. The History of Violin Playing from its Origins to 1761 1840757

box 21

Bukofzer, Manfred F. Music in the Baroque Era from Monteverdi to Bach 1840755

box 21

Busch, Fritz. Aus dem leben eines Musikers 1840753

box 21

Busoni, Ferruccio. Sketch of a New Esthetic of Music 1840751

box 21

Cannon, Beekman C., et. al. The Art of Music 1840749

box 21

Copland, Aaron. What to Listen for in Music 1840747

box 22

Annotated books from Salgo's library (on music appreciation, music history, etc.): 1840745

box 22

Daniels, David. Orchestral Music, a Source Book 1840743

box 22

Dart, Thurston. The Interpretation of Music 1840741

box 22

Decker, Harold A., ed. Choral Conducting, A Symposium 1840739

box 22

Donington, Robert. The Interpretation of Early Music 1840737

box 22

Drinker Library of Choral Music [a catalogue and an article on] 1840735

box 22

Einstein, Alfred. A Short History of Music 1840733

box 22

Einstein, Alfred. Music in the Romantic Era 1840731

box 22

Ford, Newell F. Peter Quince's Orchestra 1840729

box 22

Grout, Donald Jay. A History of Western Music 1840727

box 22

Hermann Fretzschmar. Dem Behrunder Moderner Hermeneutik 1840725

box 22

Haggin, B. H. The Toscanini Musicians Knew 1840723

box 22

Hindemith, Paul. A Concentrated Course in Traditional Harmony 1840721

box 22

Hofstadter, Douglas R. Godel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid 1840719

Box 26

Banner - Maestro Sandor Salgo, In Honor of His 35th Carmel Bach Festival 1990


Audio Recordings Accession ARCH-2010-0251840567

box 1

Rehearsals and performances; list and survey notes inside each box 1840589 1974-1998

Physical Description: 132 audiocassette(s)
box 1

Marin Symphony 1840587 1980 Jan 24

General Physical Description note: 1 audiotape(s) (reel-to-reel)
box 2

Stanford Symphony Orchestra 1840585 1972, 1974

General Physical Description note: 1 audiotape(s) (reel-to-reel)
box 2

Rhythmicana 1840583 1971 Dec 3


General Physical Description note: 1 audiotape(s) (reel-to-reel)
box 2

Marin Symphony 1840581 Feb. 5, 1967

General Physical Description note: 1 audiotape(s) (reel-to-reel)
box 2

Andrew Imbrie 1840579

General Physical Description note: 3 audiotape(s) (reel-to-reel)
box 2

Peter and the Wolf (no narration) 1840577

General Physical Description note: 1 audiotape(s) (reel-to-reel)
box 2

Fairy Queen 1840575

General Physical Description note: 2 audiotape(s) (reel-to-reel)
box 2

Choral piece with orchestra 1840573

General Physical Description note: 1 audiotape(s) (reel-to-reel)
box 2

Gabrieli, G. Canzon per sonar noni toni 1840571

General Physical Description note: 1 audiotape(s) (reel-to-reel)
box 2

Marin Symphony Orchestra 1840569 Feb. 11, 1968

General Physical Description note: 1 audiotape(s) (reel-to-reel)

Additional Papers Accession ARCH-2017-307

Box 1, Folder 1

Salgo Additions - Glazounow Concerto for Violin and Piano