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Inventory of the Aaron Blumenfeld Papers, 1958-[ongoing]
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope And Content

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Aaron Blumenfeld Papers
    Date (inclusive): 1958-[ongoing]
    Collection number: ARCHIVES BLUMENFELD 1
    Creator: Blumenfeld, Aaron
    Extent: Number of containers: 2 document boxes, 3 flat storage boxes, 3 cartons

    Linear feet: 5.25
    Repository: The Music Library
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Shelf location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    November, 1989, and every year since.


    Aaron Blumenfeld


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of the Music Library.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item,] Aaron Blumenfeld Papers, ARCHIVES BLUMENFELD 1, The Music Library, University of California, Berkeley.


    Aaron Blumenfeld was born in Newark, N.J. on April 18, 1932. His father was a noted scholar and author on Jewish jurisprudence and a rabbi. He attended New York University (1950-52) and received a teaching certificate. Blumenfeld attended Juilliard School of Music from 1952 to 1954, first studying double bass, and later composition with Bernard Wagenaar. In 1962 and 1974, he received a B.A. and a M.A. in music composition from Rutgers University, where he studied with Robert Moevs. He attended Yeshiva University in 1967, and the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1968 for studies in Cantorial music.
    Blumenfeld taught music, hebrew, and religion in various schools between 1956 and 1971 in New Jersey. He also conducted synagogue choirs and played the organ. During his sojourn in Israel (1974-77), he taught jazz piano at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem and performed in many concerts. He has taught piano improvisation at the University of California, Berkeley Extension Division since 1979.
    Blumenfeld wrote instrumental and vocal music. He wrote Jewish music such as his Holocaust Memorial Cantata, as well as classical genres such as piano concertos, piano solo music, chamber music, and songs. He authored a music theory book, A New Perspective on Twelve Tone Harmony.
    Blumenfeld and his wife Barbara make their home in Richmond, California. They have three married children, and eight grandchildren.

    Scope And Content

    The core collection, mostly music manuscripts, correspondence, concert programs and performance tapes, were given to the Music Library in November, 1989. The composer has been donating other manuscripts every year, as documented by the acquisition correspondence (8/1). This is an ongoing collection; the composer will continue to donate more manuscripts from time to time.
    The music manuscripts and books were arranged in four series by the composer (Orchestral Works, Chamber Works, Student Works, Books) when the materials were delivered to the Music Library. We felt that it is important to keep the collection as close to the original arrangements as possible but with modification to make sure the materials fit into the right categories. We retained the sub-categories of Chamber Works but made them into Series of their own. We also made minor adjustments to make the terms broader so that we can include materials donated later (e.g., duos, instead of duo sonatas; trios, instead of trio sonatas). Thus, we now have fourteen series as follows: Orchestral Works,Piano Works, Duos, Trios, Other Chamber Ensembles, Chamber Opera, Songs, Choral Works, Student Works (Music), Writings, Juvenalia (Writings and Notes), Correspondence, Concert Programs, and Audio Materials.
    At the time of the initial donation, there were only Choral Works accompanied by orchestras. Thus, the composer has classified them under Orchestral Works. Due to the new works, we have now separated the manuscripts into the its own series. However, the symphonic poems remain in the Orchestra Series because it is not primarily a choral work.
    The early works of the composer are divided into two sections: Student Works (Music) and Juvenalia (Writings and Assignments). The Student Works (Series IX) are early complete musical compositions. The Juvenalia (Series XI) includes diaries, school term papers, and miscellaneous music assignments.
    Concert Programs are classified with reviews and biographical materials in Series VII. Most journal articles on the composer discusses his life as well as his works. And often, the article came into being because of an upcoming concert or premier performance of a work. Therefore, it is hard to separate these materials into separate series.
    Finally, the audio materials includes tapes of his compositions, improvisations on the piano by the composer, and radio interview. There are reel-to-reel, cassette, as well as video tapes.