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Guide to the Henry Eichheim papers, 1900-1930s
PA Mss 52  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Collection Scope and Content Summary
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Collections

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Henry Eichheim Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1900-1930s
    Collection number: PA Mss 52
    Creator: Eichheim, Henry.
    Extent: 3 linear feet 3 boxes
    Repository: University of California, Santa Barbara. Library. Dept. of Special Collections
    Santa Barbara, CA 93106
    Abstract: Papers of composer Henry Eichheim.
    Physical location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Access Restrictions


    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Collections, UCSB. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Department of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained.

    Preferred Citation

    Henry Eichheim papers, PA Mss 52, Department of Special Collections, University Libraries, University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Acquisition Information

    Transferred to the Library from the UCSB Department of Music, July 2003 by Dolores M. Hsu. Originally was given to UCSB as part of the Eichheim Collection of Musical Instruments by the Santa Barbara Museum of Art in 1982 and 1984.


    Henry Eichheim (b Chicago, 3 Jan 1870; d Santa Barbara, CA, 22 Aug 1942). American composer, violinist and conductor. A graduate of the Chicago Musical College, he went on to play with the Theodore Thomas Orchestra (1889) and the Boston SO (1890-1912). Thereafter, he devoted himself to composition, chamber music and conducting, making his reputation as an early champion of works by Debussy, Ravel and Fauré. Trips to Japan, Korea and China prompted intensive study of Asian music with Hisao Tanabe (Japan), Yang Yinliu (China) and Jaap Kunst (Java). During the first of four such trips (1915), Eichheim transcribed the sounds around him in notebooks that have, unfortunately, been lost. Photographs of musical performances throughout Asia do survive, however. Stokowski, a close friend, who performed the premières of many of his works, travelled with him to Bali (1928) and India (mid-1930s). After 1922 Eichheim settled in Santa Barbara.
    Eichheim's greatest contribution rests upon his pioneering efforts to combine the timbres of Asian instruments with those of the Western orchestra. Convinced that the introduction of Asian instruments would greatly enrich the range of sonorities available to Western composers, Eichheim was an avid collector. He lectured widely on the rhythmic and melodic elements of Asian music and often incorporated indigenous melodies into his compositions. The early piano piece Gleanings from Buddha Fields (1906), inspired by the writings of Lafcadio Hearn, reflects Eichheim's growing interest in East Asia. Oriental Impressions (1919-22), a suite of seven sketches, is based on transcriptions of a Korean street labourer's song, a blind shakuhachi player's melody and the sound of tuned bells hanging under the roof of the Imperial Temple, Bangkok. Large orchestral works, such as Java (1929) and Bali (1933), achieve new orchestral effects through the use of gamelan instruments. Throughout his career, Eichheim also composed songs; Yeats was his favourite poet, but in later years he also set Shakespeare, Tennyson and translations of Chinese poetry.
    -Dolores M. Hsu, from "New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians," 2nd ed.

    Collection Scope and Content Summary

    Papers of composer Henry Eichheim. The collection contains photographs of Eichheim, photos of two of Eichheim's productions, "The Rivals" and "Burmese Pwé," and photos taken by Eichheim including his series of portaits of musicians and other artists, and his photos of Mexico, India and South-East Asia. The collection also contains one oil and one charcoal portrait of Eichheim.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Composers -- Archives.

    Genres and Forms of Material


    Related Collections

    The Eichheim Collection of Music Instruments is in the Music Department at UCSB.
    Eichheim's scores are at the Newberry Library in Chicago.