Salvatore Martirano Music, Personal Papers, and Sal-Mar Construction, 1927-1999
[Back to Formatted Version]
Brief Description:

Consists of correspondence between Martirano and colleagues, friends, and family, including Milton Babbit, John Cage, Elliot Carter, Gilbert Chase, Aaron Copland, Luigi Dallapicolla, Paul Fromm, Loren Maazel, Morton Subotnik, and Igor Stravinsky; recording and publishing contracts; royalty statements; published and unpublished music scores, drafts, manuscripts, and studies; grant proposals, applications, and reports; address book and lists; Sal-Mar Construction and YahaSALmaMac circuit diagrams, transparencies, and negatives; Sal-Mar Construction wiring lists; circuit boards; books; news clippings; photographs; negatives; slides; posters; concert programs and program notes; mailers; brochures; fliers; articles; theses; concert ticket; scrapbooks; invitations; birth certificate; autograph book; military records; poems by MC Halloway; architectural drawings; technical riders; lecture notes and transparencies; interviews; awards; and degrees. In addition, the Sal-Mar Construction, publicly unveiled in 1970 as the first musical instrument to generate dynamic improvisatory electronic music using analog and digital circuits designed with help from engineers who worked on the University's of Illinois' early Illiac supercomputer, was also included as part of this donation to the University. The papers, music, and Sal-Mar Construction document Martirano's activities as an award-winning composer, performer, and leader in the field of computer generated music.

See also record series number 35/3/68.

Held at:
The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music
236 Harding Band Building
1103 South 6th Street
Champaign, IL 61820 6223
Phone: 217-244-93093
Fax: 217-244-8695
Email: schwrtzs [at]
Record Series Number: 12/5/42
Created by: Martirano, Salvatore (1927-1995)
Volume: 55.0 cubic feet
Acquired: 06/06/2008. June 6, 2008, September 20, 2008, April 11, 2011, and December 7, 2017.

The collection is organized into eight series and seven sub-series. Series 1: Music, ca. 1947-1995, is organized alphabetically by title. Whenever possible an identification of the format of the music for each title (i.e., full score, condensed score, piano score, and parts) has been noted with the corresponding abbreviations, FS, CS, PS, P. Series 2: Correspondence, ca. 1932-1999, is organized into two sub-series. Sub-series 1: Contracts, Publishing, and Royalties, 1959-1995, is arranged chronogically. Sub-series 2: Personal and Professional, 1932-1999, is arranged alphabetically and then chronologically. Correspondence from 1990-1999 is organized chronologically. Business correspondence is arranged alphabetically according to institution name, while correspondence from colleagues, family, and friends is ordered alphabetically according to the letter writer's last name. Series 3: Instruments and Technology, ca. 1967-2000, is arranged in two subseries. Sub-series 1: Sal-Mar Construction, 1967-1984, is arranged according to document type. Sub-series 2: YahaSALmaMac, 1986-1993, is arranged according to document type. Series 4: Publicity and Performance, ca. 1950-1995, is arranged into three sub-series. Sub-Series 1: Publicity, Marketing, Media Coverage, and Interviews, is arranged according to document type and then chronologically. Sub-series 2: Performances, Lectures, and Panels, is arranged according to document type and then chronologically. Sub-series 3: Published and Unpublished Research, is arranged alphabetically by author. Series 5: Photographs, ca. 1927-2004, is organized by type of image, subject matter, and then chronologically. Series 6: Family and Personal Papers, ca. 1927-1952, is organized by document type and then chronologically. Series 7, Sound Recordings, 1956-1993, is organized by recording number. Series 8, L's GA Props, 1960-1999, is organized by item type.

The collection was received in annotated and numbered envelopes and folders. To retain the original order and annotation, the numbering system and information on the folders and envelopes have either been photocopied and retained with the original records or transcribed on the folders in which the collection has been rehoused. Additional documentation of the original order and annotation is located in the collection's control file.

Biographical Note for Martirano, Salvatore (1927-1995) :

Born in Yonkers, Salvatore Martirano (1927-1995) grew up in New Rochelle, New York where he graduated from high school in 1945.  While there he was the leader of "The Sonny Martin Band," the name of which came from Martirano's childhood nickname "Sonny."  After graduating, Martirano served as a Marine for fourteen months in 1945 and 1946, during which time he performed with the Parris Island Marine Band and a touring USO show.

Martirano received his undergraduate degree in 1951 from Oberlin College, where he studied composition with Herbert Elwell.  A year later he completed his master's degree in composition at the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Bernard Rogers.  During the same year, Martirano received a Fulbright to study composition in Italy with Luigi Dallapiccola from 1952 to 1954.  Martirano continued to work in Italy from 1956 to 1959, when he was a resident fellow at the American Academy.  Between 1959 and 1964, Martirano received commissions, awards, and fellowships from the Guggenheim, Ford, Koussevitzky, and Fromm Foundations, as well as from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and Brandeis University.  In 1963, Martirano joined the Theory and Composition Department at the University of Illinois, where he remained on the faculty until his retirement and death in 1995.  He was also a resident composer at the NSW Conservatorium of Music in Sydney (1979), IRCAM in Paris (1982) and the California Institute of the Arts (1993).  Composers including Phil Winsor, Mark Zanter, Thorsteinn Hauksson, Stuart Saunders Smith, Maggi Payne, and Yehuda Yannay studied with Martirano while students at the University of Illinois.

Many of Martirano's early works incorporate twelve-tone compositional techniques as well as jazz, vernacular, and multimedia idioms.  His best-known composition, "L's GA" (Lincoln's Gettysburg Address), was widely performed in the late 1960s and early 1970s and became associated with the anti-war movement.  In the early 1960s, Martirano became interested in electronic music, and this interest guided much of his work from the 1960s on.  Martirano was among the very first composers in the United States to utilize and invent new computer technology for composition.  Martirano created a series of electronic music systems, including the Sal-Mar Construction and YahaSALmaMac, which enabled him to write and perform music that mixed human and computer-generated sounds and composition.

Access Restrictions: Box 17, Folder 16 restricted until November 17, 2034.
Subject Index
Electronic Music
Music, School of
Music Composition
Genres/Forms of Material
Architectural drawings
Financial Records
Newspaper Clippings
Sheet music
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
French [fre]
Korean [kor]
Italian [ita]
Japanese [jpn]
German [ger]
Romanian [ron]
Dutch;Flemish [nld]
Acquisition Notes:   The music, papers, and Sal-Mar Construction were donated to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign by the Martirano family on June 6, 2008. The Sal-Mar Construction was received by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from the Martirano family on September 20, 2008. Audio-visual materials were received by the Martirano family on April 11, 2011. An addition of two sound recordings and oversized notebooks with music parts were acquired on December 7, 2017 by way of the University of Illinois' Music and Performing Arts Library, which received them from the Martirano family through Stephen Taylor in the School of Music.