Thomas Nee Papers

Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
Copyright 2005
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla 92093-0175

Descriptive Summary

Languages: English
Contributing Institution: Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla 92093-0175
Title: Thomas Nee Papers
Identifier/Call Number: MSS 0609
Physical Description: 1 Linear feet (3 archives boxes and 1 oversize box)
Date (inclusive): 1946-2001
Abstract: The papers of Thomas Nee, conductor and University of California, San Diego emeritus professor of music, include correspondence and biographical materials related to his fifty years of classical and experimental music conducting.

Preferred Citation

Thomas Nee Papers, MSS 609. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.

Acquisition Note

Acquired 2003, 2010.

Publication Rights

Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.

Scope and Content of Collection

The papers of Thomas Nee, conductor and emeritus professor of music, contains correspondence from twentieth century composers including university mentor Ernst Krenek, as well as composers Henry Brant, Robert Erickson, Dika Newlin, Will Ogden, Pauline Oliveros, Bernard Rands, Roger Reynolds, and Dane Rudhyar. The papers also also contains biographical materials, including programs and newsclippings, reflecting his conducting career from 1948-2001, writings, and audio visual materials. The recorded materials represent concerts Nee conducted during his career. The collection is arranged in four series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE, 2) CONDUCTING EXPERIENCE, 3) BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS, and 4) AUDIO VISUAL RECORDINGS.


Born in Evanston, Illinois on Oct. 25, 1920, Thomas Nee graduated from the University of Minnesota. Following service in the Merchant Marine during World War II, he received his masters of arts from Hamline University, where he studied under composer Ernst Krenek. His postgraduate work included studies at the University of Vienna, the Austrian State Academy, and Black Mountain College with composer Stefan Wolpe in North Carolina, as well as private study with conductor Hermann Scherchen in Switzerland. Nee was music director for the Civic Orchestra of Minneapolis from 1954-1967 and 1972-1973.
In 1967, Nee joined the UCSD Music Department, accepted the position of conductor, taught music, and served as department chair from 1971-1977. He also conducted SONOR, a resident ensemble that performed experimental music by UCSD composers. In addition to conducting the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus during the academic year, he also conducted the New Hampshire Music Festival during the summer months from 1960-1992. Nee conducted world premieres of contemporary repertoire and numerous guest engagements including opera workshops, festivals, the Minnesota Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Eastman Philharmonic, Rochester Philharmonic, and Darmstadt Ferienkurse.
Nee retired from UCSD in 1991, but remained active until his death in 2008, overseeing the Tom Nee Commission, awarded each year to a graduate-level composer whose new piece is performed each spring by La Jolla Symphony & Chorus.


The audio and visual recordings in Box 3, Folders 1-3 are restricted and require a user copy to be produced.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Music -- 20th century
Composers -- Correspondence
Ogdon, Will, 1921-2013 -- Correspondence
Oliveros, Pauline, 1932-2016 -- Correspondence
Rands, Bernard -- Correspondence
Krenek, Ernst, 1900-1991 -- Correspondence
Partch, Harry, 1901-1974 -- Correspondence
Nee, Thomas -- Archives
Erickson, Robert, 1917-1997 -- Correspondence
Reynolds, Roger, 1934- -- Correspondence
Cage, John -- Correspondence
Rudhyar, Dane, 1895-1985 -- Correspondence



Box 1, Folder 1

A-Z Miscellaneous

General note

Includes John Adams, Hans Erich Apostle, Dominick Argento, Vladamir Ashkenazy, Sol Babitz, William Bolcom, Earle Brown, Roque Cordero, Kenneth Gaburo, Anton Heiller, Lee Hoiby, Alan Hovhaness, Tom Johnson, Ulysses Kay, Leon Kirchner, Barbara Kolb, May Kurka, Anna Mahler, Marina Mahler, Bruce Mather, Dimitri Mitropoulos, Hilda Morley, and Andrey Olkhovsky.
Box 1, Folder 2

Brant, Henry 1965 - 1999

General note

Composer of spatial music.
Box 1, Folder 3

Cage, John 1979

Box 1, Folder 4

Erickson, Robert 1953 - 1984

Box 1, Folder 5

Garland, Peter 1980

Box 1, Folder 6

Greenberg, Alvin 1999-2004

Box 1, Folder 7

Krenek, Ernst 1946 - 1989

Box 1, Folder 8

Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra 1959-1966

Box 1, Folder 9

Newlin, Dika 1953 - 1998

General note

Composer and biographer of Mahler, Schoenberg, and Brucken.
Box 1, Folder 10

Ogdon, Will 1955 - 1998

Box 1, Folder 11

Oliveros, Pauline 1960 - 1996

Box 1, Folder 12

Partch, Harry 1972

Box 1, Folder 13

Rands, Bernard 1977 - 2001

Box 1, Folder 14

Reynolds, Roger 1967 - 1999

Box 1, Folder 15

Rudhyar, Dane 1972 - 1988



Box 2, Folder 1

Osage, Iowa High School band - Photograph 1943


Hamline University

Box 2, Folder 2, Oversize FB-495-01

Newsclippings 1945-1955

Box 2, Folder 3

Programs 1945-1955

Box 2, Folder 4, Oversize FB-495-02

Civic Orchestra of Minneapolis - Newsclippings 1953-1967

Box 2, Folder 5

New Hampshire Music Festival - Miscellaneous 1954-2007

Box 2, Folder 6, Oversize FB-495-03

First Unitarian Society, Minneapolis, MN - Newsclippings 1954-1964

Box 2, Folder 7

Macalester College, St. Paul, MN - Programs and newsclippings 1959-1966


Center Opera Association of Walker Art Center

Box 2, Folder 8

Newsclippings 1963-1966

Box 2, Folder 9

Opera Log 4 - "Music of the Greek Operas" - Photocopy 1967

Box 2, Folder 10

La Jolla Civic Orchestra and Symphony and Chorus - Miscellaneous 1967-2007


University of California, San Diego Music Department

Box 2, Folder 11

Programs 1967-1995

Box 2, Folder 12

Retirement letters 1991

Oversize FB-495-04

Compositions by Will Ogden 1979; 2000


Includes "Comments and Capriccio for Orchestra," written for Thomas Nee and the La Jolla Orchestra, September 5, 1979 and "Chamber Suite 2000 for Wind Quartet, String Quartet, and Piano," 2001.
Box 2, Folder 14

Guest conducting



Box 2, Folder 15

"Black Mountain and Wolpe" - Handwritten essay

Box 2, Folder 16

"Chapbook: Nine Poems" November, 2005

Box 2, Folder 17

"Philosophies of History in the Writings of Gray, Krenek, Leichtentritt, and Sachs," Master's Thesis, Hamline University 1948

Box 2, Folder 18




Box 3, Folder 1

Beethoven 9th Symphony, DVD December 1996

Conditions Governing Access

Restrictions Apply
Box 3, Folder 2

Francis Thorne tribute to Thomas Nee for his 1992 season celebration, audiocassette, 60 minutes

Conditions Governing Access

Restrictions Apply
Box 3, Folder 3

In appreciation for Thomas Nee by David Chaitkin, audiocassette, 60 minutes

Conditions Governing Access

Restrictions Apply