Edna Phillips Papers, 1930-1970

By Noah Lenstra

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Collection Overview

Title: Edna Phillips Papers, 1930-1970

ID: 12/9/122

Primary Creator: Phillips, Edna (1907-2003)

Extent: 0.5 cubic feet

Arrangement: Unarranged

Date Acquired: 01/15/2004

Subjects: Compositions-Music, Harps

Formats/Genres: Sound Recordings

Scope and Contents of the Materials

Consists of published and unpublished music that was either played by or commissioned by Edna Phillips during  her career as a harpist between 1930 and 1970. Many of the pieces include Phillips' hand-written performance annotations. The collection also includes the October 12, 1945 sound recording of Phillips performing Paul White's "Sea Chanty" with the Philadelphia Orchestra under the conductor, Eugene Ormandy.

Biographical Note

Edna Phillips (January 7, 1907 - December 2, 2003) was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, and became first woman to occupy a principal position with a major American symphony when she joined the Philadelphia Orchestra as first harp in 1930. At the age of seventeen she began studying harp with Florence Wightman in 1924, and three years later enrolled as a piano and harp student at the Curtis Institute of Music in the fall of 1927.  The following year she began her private studies with Carlos Salzedo who taught harp at Curtis and was one of Wightman's teachers.  In 1929 Phillips joined the Philadelphia Orchestra shortly after graduation from Curtis at the age of 22.

Phillips began teaching harp at the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music in 1933 and remain with that instituion until 1972 when she retired.  Concerned with the meagerness of solo music repertoire for harp, she commissioned numerious  works for harp from such composers as Harl McDonald, Paul White, Alberto Ginastera, Nicolai Berezowsky, Ernst Krenek, and Erno von Dohnanyi.  Her most famous commission was Ginastera's Concerto for Harp which was premiered by Nicanor Zabaleta and the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1965.

Phillips married Samuel Rosenbaum, a prominent attorney and board member of the Philadelphia Orchestra, in 1933.  However she never changed her professional name and was always referred to as "Miss Phillips" throughout the remainder of her career.

Subject/Index Terms


Administrative Information

Repository: The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music

Acquisition Source: Joan Solaun, Phillips' daughter, Urbana, Illinois

Acquisition Method: Gift

Box and Folder Listing

Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Alberto Ginastera, Concierto para arpa e orquestra, op. 25, 1956-65, rev. 1968Add to your cart.
Solo harp part with annotation "Composed for and dedicated to Edna Phillips," (44 pp).
Folder 2: Harl McDonald, Concerto for Harp and Orchestra: 'Suite from Childhood,' third movement, undatedAdd to your cart.
Solo harp part with pasteovers, (7 pp).
Folder 3: [Paul] Rousing, Nouba for harp, opus 44, 1960Add to your cart.
Solo harp part (6 pp).
Folder 4: Vincent Persichetti, Serenade no. 10, for flute and harp, 1957Add to your cart.
Score (25 pp).
Folder 5: Joseph Castaldo, Concertante for harp and string quartet, 1957Add to your cart.
Score, pencil manuscript, (31 pp) with annotation at end "Philadelphia, Nov. 23, 1957."
Folder 6: Paul Csonka, Concierto de Navidad for harp and female chorus, August 1953Add to your cart.
Score  which contains: 1 ink manuscript on onionskin paper (22 pp), "revised full score with both Spanish words & English, Catherine Wright translator, Havana 2) Ink manuscript on onionskin paper (16 pp), and 3) and ozalid manuscript.
Folder 7: Nicholas Berezowsky, "I. Salzedo," from Concerto for Harp", undatedAdd to your cart.
Solo harp part (8 pp) with performance annotations by Edna Phillips
Folder 8: Salvador Bacarisse,"Concerto in Eb Major for Harp and Wind Instruments, op. 92, undatedAdd to your cart.
Score of a transcription for harp and piano, ink manuscript on onionskin paper (48 pp).
Folder 9: Maurice Ravel, Introduction et allegro for harp, string quartet, flute, and clarinet, 1906Add to your cart.
Parts: one flute part, one clarinet part, six violin I parts, seven violin II part, five viola part, four cello part with performance markings (Paris: Durand)
Folder 10: Claude Debussy, Six Sonates for flute, alto and harp, 1916Add to your cart.
Score and alto part with copyright by Durand and Company and performance annotations markings.
Folder 11: Maurice Ravel, Piece en forme de habanera for instrument and piano, 1926Add to your cart.
Score with copyright of Paris: Alphonse Leduc and performance annotations.
Folder 12: Claude Debussy (revised edition by Carlos Salzedo; transcription for harp by H. Renie) En Bateau, 1908 (1921)Add to your cart.
Published solo harp part with handwritten changes by Salzedo.
Folder 13: John Thomas, Published harp solos, undatedAdd to your cart.
1) Dewis Dethol oymarferiadau Telyn (SELECTED STUDIES for the Harp) (Abergavenny, Gwent: Adlais, n.d.) and 2) Ffarwel y telynor i'w enedigol Wlad (The Minstrel's Adieu To His Native Land) (Abergavenny, Gwent: Adlais, undated)
Box 2Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Ray Green, Rhapsody for Harp and Orchestra, July 25, 1950Add to your cart.
Based on the Appalachian mountain ballad "You got to cross that lonesome valley." Contains: 1)Score with conductor's markings (66 pp) and 2) Solo harp part (ink manuscript, 16 pp) with markings by Edna Phillips
Folder 2: Ami Maayani, Two Madrigals for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, and harp, April 1969Add to your cart.
Score (23 pp) with annotation on last page "New York, April 1969."
Folder 3: Paul White, Sea Chanty Quintet, 1941Add to your cart.
Pencil manuscript score.
Folder 4: Paul White, Sea Chanty, Sound recording (two 78 discs), October 24, 1945Add to your cart.
Columbia Masterworks mx-259. Edna Phillips - harp, with Alexander Hilsberg and Sol Ruden, violins; Samuel Roens, viola; Samuel Mayes, cello; and Anton Torello, bass. Recorded under the direction of Eugene Ormandy.
Folder 5: Alexei Haieff, Eclogue 'La Nouvelle Heloise' for Harp and String Orchestra, 1963Add to your cart.
Published score and parts with hand-written annotations
Folder 6: Salvador Bacarisse, Concierto para Arpa e instrumentos de viento, op. 92, undatedAdd to your cart.
Parts with annotation "dedicated to Edna Phillips"