UR.06.01 Philadelphia Conservatory of Music collection, 1878-1961.
UR.06.01 Philadelphia Conservatory of Music collection, 1878-1961.
Title: Philadelphia Conservatory of Music collection, 1878-1961.
Creator: Philadelphia Conservatory of Music.
Collection Dates [bulk]: 1918-1959
Collect Dates [inclusive]: 1878-1961
Extent: 0.63 linear feet (2 boxes)
Location: Row 3, Column 3, Shelf 1
The collection is comprised primarily of printed materials, such as course catalogs, prospectuses, and programs, as compiled by Boris Koutzen (1901-1966), head of the Conservatory’s violin department from 1925-1962. Also present is a handwritten copy of the original charter of incorporation written on September 17, 1884.
Philadelphia Conservatory of Music Collection, 1878-1961, The University of the Arts, University Libraries and Archives.
Biographical and Historical Notes
The Philadelphia Conservatory of Music (PCM) was founded in 1877 by Richard C. Schirmer, a pianist and music teacher trained at the Leipzig Conservatory in Germany. Schirmer’s goal was to bring the traditional European style of music instruction to Philadelphia, and went as far as primarily recruiting students from first generation German and European families. In 1884 the Conservatory was officially incorporated by the state of Pennsylvania, and thus permitted to grant three degrees in music (Bachelor, Master, and Doctorate). Curriculum centered on classical music and offered majors included orchestral instruments, music theory and arranging, composition, and voice. Later opera and music education majors were offered. Concerts, recitals lectures, and courses on history, foreign languages, and fine arts were also offered in order to provide students with a comprehensive, classical education. As the 1917-18 prospectus declared “a mere empirical and technical proficiency upon an instrument does not rise to the dignity of an art”. Due to difficulties in obtaining affordable sheet music, Schirmer brought from Germany a professional music engraver who was able to create a large library of teaching music for the school. A number of these scores would later be purchased and republished by the Theodore Presser Publishing Company. Upon Schirmer’s retirement in 1913, directorship was shared between D. Hendrik Ezerman (Head of Piano) and Hedda Van den Beemt (Head of Violin), both of whom had emigrated to the United States from Holland in order to play in the Philadelphia Orchestra. Under their leadership the Conservatory continued to grow. In addition to the main school in Center City, Philadelphia, branches were also opened, variously, in Oak Lane, Ardmore, and Newtown, PA. Administrators and faculty included such luminaries as Olga Samaroff, Edward Steuermann, Boris Koutzen, and Vincent Persichetti (who was also an alumnus, having received three degrees from the PCM between 1936 and 1945). Other notable alumni include composers Claire Polin and Marc Blitzstein. In 1962 the Conservatory merged with the Philadelphia Musical Academy (PMA), and continued under the name of the latter. The Academy became a part of the Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts (PCPA) in 1976. Since the merger of the PCPA and the Philadelphia College of Art and subsequent formation of the University of the Arts in 1987, the former Conservatory has been known as the School of Music of the College of Performing Arts.
Collection Scope and Contents Note
The collection is comprised primarily of printed materials such as course catalogs, prospectuses, and programs, as compiled by Boris Koutzen (1901-1966), head of the Conservatory’s violin department from 1925-1962. Also present is a handwritten copy of the original charter of incorporation written on September 17, 1884 and signed by Joseph K. Fletcher, Deputy Recorder of Deeds and John O’Donnell, Recorder of Deeds. It is the only administrative record in the collection. Due to the lack of a recognizable original order, the collection has been arranged into 4 series. As the sole administrative record, the Charter is its own series (Series I). Series II includes commencement and concert programs dating from 1884-1959. Commencement programs date from to June 1884 (the last commencement prior to official incorporation) and 1959. Programs for the years 1918 to 1921 have been kept in a small scrapbook. Holdings are incomplete, and several commencement programs are missing (particularly for the 1910s, 1930s, and 1940s). Those researchers interested in graduates from prior to 1925 are advised to examine Series IV. Concert programs include performances by not only students, but also the directors, and faculty members such as Boris Koutzen and Edward Steuermann. Series III. Promotional materials and newsletters. Materials include such items as circulars, advertisements, and newspaper clippings. Also included is the inaugural issue of the PCM newsletter Philcon. Published in March 1928, it was dedicated to the late director D. Hendrik Ezerman. Please note: PCM yearbook, Variations, has been shelved with the other University publications in the Archives. Series IV. Prospectuses and course catalogs, 1906-1961. In addition to course listings, these publications also include entrance requirements, faculty listings, and biographies. Until 1925-26, course prospectuses also included the names of graduates and recital programs.
Arranged into 4 series
I. Charter, 1884
II. Commencement and concert programs, 1884-1959.
III. Promotional materials and newsletters, 1878-1950.
IV. Prospectuses and course catalogs, 1906-1961.
University of the Arts. University Archives, 2015.
The University of the Arts University Libraries & Archives
320 S. Broad St. Philadelphia, PA 19102
Open to researchers.
University of the Arts
The majority of this collection were donated by Nadia Koutzen in 1997. Ms. Koutzen was the daughter of Boris Koutzen (1901-1966), head of the Conservatory’s violin department from 1925-1962 as well as a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra under Leopold Stokowski. Please see Archivist for itemized list.
Collection processed and finding aid created in 2015 by Phoebe Kowalewski.
Portions of this collections have been digitized and are available on UArts Digital Collections.
Controlled Access HeadingsCorporate Name(s)
- University of the Arts (Philadelphia, Pa.).
- Philadelphia Conservatory of Music.
- Schirmer, Richard C.
- Ezerman, K. Henrik.
- Van den Beemt, Hedda.
- Koutzen, Boris, 1901-1966.
- Steuermann, Edward.
- University of the Arts (Philadelphia, Pa.)
- Concert programs.
- Conservatories of music.
- Universities and Colleges--Pennsylvania.
Series I. Charter.
1.1. Charter (handwritten), 17 September 1884
Series II. Commencement and concert programs, 1884-1959.
1.2. Concert programs, 1918-1954
1.3. Commencement invitations and programs, 1884-1959
1.4. Scrapbook of concert and commencement programs, 1918-1921
Series III. Promotional materials & newsletters, 1878-1950
1.5. Circulars, 1878-80
1.6. Full-page advertisement from Musical America, 2 June 1923
1.7. Newspaper clippings, 1949-1950
1.8. The Philcon, vol. 1, no.1, 1928
1.9. Blank stationery from 216 S. 20th St., [no date]
Box 2. Series IV. Course Prospectuses, 1906-1961