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Dena Bat-Yaacov papers, 1948-1981 PASC-M.0057
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Collection Details
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  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use and Reproduction
  • Preferred Citation
  • UCLA Catalog Record ID
  • Provenance/Source of Acquisition
  • Biography/History
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement

  • Title: Dena Bat-Yaacov papers
    Identifier/Call Number: PASC-M.0057
    Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 1.5 linear feet (2 boxes and 1 oversize box)
    Date (inclusive): 1948-1981
    Abstract: Dena Bat-Yaacov (1932-1981) was a concert pianist specializing in the work of Jewish composers, particularly Charles Alkan. Born in Denver, Colorado, she relocated to Los Angeles in her twenties and spent the rest of her life in that city. The collection includes biographical and promotional materials, including publicity photos, some correspondence, and recital programs spanning her performance career.
    Physical Location: Stored off-site at SRLF. All requests to access special collections materials must be made in advance through our electronic paging system, using the "Request items" button.
    Creator: Bat-Yaacov, Dena

    Conditions Governing Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Conditions Governing Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library Special Collections. 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.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Dena Bat-Yaacov Papers (Collection PASC 57-M). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 4230362 

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Bequest of Dena Bat-Yaacov, 1985.


    Dena Bat-Yaacov was born Dena Heller in Denver, Colorado, on September 9, 1932. She began piano lessons at age seven, the same year she entered Hebrew school, and made her public debut at thirteen. After attending the University of Colorado, where she studied under Howard Waltz, Bat-Yaacov transferred to the Music Academy of the West in Montecito, California, where she studied with Sarah Compinsky. Later in her career, she studied with Bernardo Segal, Alvin Davis, Edward Auer, and Earle Voorhies.
    In 1952 she married Arnold Shevitz in Los Angeles, and the couple had two daughters before divorcing. In 1965 she married again, to Jerome Millman, a Los Angeles physician. The Millmans divorced in 1972.
    Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Bat-Yaacov performed with various chamber music ensembles, as a soloist with orchestras, and in solo recital. She also gave private lessons. After a trip to Israel in 1972, she adopted the name Bat-Yaacov and focused primarily on the work of Jewish composers. Her commentary-recitals were popular with Jewish community groups and at Temple services in Southern California, but she also performed for wider audiences at UCLA and El Camino College. In 1976 she was introduced to the work of French-Jewish composer Charles Alkan, and spent the remainder of her life devoted to mastering Alkan’s compositions and raising his public profile through concerts of his work. She began performing all-Alkan recitals in 1979, including concerts at Steinway Hall in Los Angeles and California State University in Fullerton, among others. Dena Bat-Yaacov died in Los Angeles in 1981, at the age of 49.

    Scope and Content

    Collection materials primarily pertain to Bat-Yaacov’s performance career, including biographical and promotional materials, publicity photos, and programs. Programs span three decades and include Bat-Yaacov’s early student performances, as well as adult ensemble and solo performances. There is a small amount of correspondence, much of it devoted to arranging concert dates. Also included is Bat-Yaacov’s research into Jewish heritage and music, and the composer Charles Alkan, which she related as commentary during her recitals. There is a small amount of personal material including high school yearbooks, a scrapbook, and a few family photographs.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Collection arranged alphabetically by subject.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Alkan, Charles-Valentin, 1813-1888
    Bat-Yaacov, Dena -- Archives
    Pianists--California--Los Angeles--Archives.