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The Finding Aid of the Richard Ralf papers 0238
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Scope and Content
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Preferred Citation
  • Organization
  • Biographical note
  • Acquisition

  • Title: Richard Ralf papers
    Collection number: 0238
    Contributing Institution: USC Libraries Special Collections
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 21.58 Linear feet 22 boxes
    Date: circa 1930s-1974
    Abstract: Richard Ralf was a German composer who moved to Los Angeles in 1946. His music follows the florid and emotional trend of post-Wagnerian Romanticism. Among his compositions were Transcendental Ballet (1921), Violin Sonata (1923), String Quartet (1924), Violin Concerto (1925), Brothers Arise Cantata (1959), and Symphonic Songs for Mezzo-soprano and Orchestra (1968).
    Language of Materials note: The materials in the collection are in German and English.
    creator: Ralf, Richard K., 1897-1977

    Scope and Content

    The collection includes musical scores composed by Ralf; audio recordings of his music; correspondence related to his work; photographs of Ralf conducting; and article clippings, programs and reviews related to his productions.

    Conditions Governing Use

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

    Conditions Governing Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE. Advance notice required for access.

    Preferred Citation

    [Box/folder# or item name], Richard Ralf papers, Collection no. 0238, Regional History Collections, Special Collections, USC Libraries, University of Southern California


    The collection is organized into the following series: 1. Scores 2. Audio Recordings 3. Correspondence 4. Photographs 5. Printed Materials

    Biographical note

    Richard Ralf was a German composer born in Karlsruhe, Germany on September 30, 1897. He showed interest in music at an early age and his older sister gave him his first piano lesson when he was six years old. Ralf's father, a singer and a choir master at the Court-Opera in Karlsruhe, took over his instruction and concentrated his studies on accompaniment and sight reading. By the age of 17, Ralf was already a professional musician and earned his first job as a coach and accompanist at a small city theater. Soon after, Ralf was awarded a scholarship by the Archduke of Mecklenburg which enabled Ralf to study in Berlin at the master classes of the Scharwenka Conservatory. However, with the outbreak of World War I, Ralf was forced to give up his studies. He spent three years in the army and suffered from severe shell shock while serving at the French front. Following the war and his recovery, Ralf resumed his studies in composition and studied with Professor Hugo Kaun. After his graduation, he stayed in Berlin and enjoyed much success in all fields of music. He created musical scores for a large number of movies, served as a composer for radio and television, and performed as a permanent conductor and advisor for large theaters and publishing concerns. In 1946, he moved to the United States where he eventually settled in Los Angeles. Ralf's music followed the florid and emotional trend of post-Wagnerian Romanticism. Among his compositions were Transcendental Ballet (1921), Violin Sonata (1923), String Quartet (1924), Violin Concerto (1925), Brothers Arise Cantata (1959), and Symphonic Songs for Mezzo-soprano and Orchestra.(1968). Ralf died in Los Angeles on June 22, 1977.


    The collection was given to the University of Southern California on March 2, 1983.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Ralf, Richard K., 1897-1977 -- Archives
    Berlin (Germany)--History--Archival resources
    Composers--California--Los Angeles--20th century--Archival resources
    Composers--Germany--20th century--Archival resources
    Composition (Music)--Archival resources
    Conductors (Music)--California--Los Angeles--20th century--Archival resources
    Conductors (Music)--Germany--20th century--Archival resources
    Exiles--Germany--History--20th century--Archival resources
    Exiles--United States--History--20th century--Archival resources
    Los Angeles (Calif.)--History--Archival resources
    Motion picture music--Archival resources
    Music--20th century--Archival resources
    Music--Performance--Archival resources
    Music-halls (Variety-theaters, cabarets, etc.)--Germany--20th century--Archival resources
    Musicians--20th century--Archival resources
    Musicians--Archival resources
    Radio music--Germany--20th century--Archival resources
    Sheet music
    Television music--Archival resources