John Garvey Music and Papers


Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Subject Terms

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Sheet Music

University of Illinois Jazz Band Records

Russian Folk Orchestra Records

Personal Papers

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Finding Aid for John Garvey Music and Papers, 1910-1997 | The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music

By Sally Duchow, Raquel Flores-Clemons, Noah Lenstra, Adriana Cuervo, Thornton Miller, Nolan Vallier, and Kelli McQueen

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Collection Overview

Title: John Garvey Music and Papers, 1910-1997Add to your cart.

ID: 12/5/38

Primary Creator: Garvey, John (1921-2006)

Extent: 5.25 cubic feet

Arrangement: The collection is arranged in four discrete series: Series 1. Sheet Music, Series 2. University of Illinois Jazz Band Records, Series 3. Russian Folk Orchestra Records, and Series 4. Personal Papers. Series 1 is further arranged into two sub-series: Sub-Series 1. University of Illinois Jazz Band Sheet Music and Sub Series 2. Walden String Quartet Sheet Music and Chamber Music. Materials in Series 3 were arranged and numbered by the archivist in 2016. Series and Sub-Series were added in 2017 by the archivist, before then all materials were arranged by date of acquisition. Materials acquired after 2017 are arranged chronologically.

Date Acquired: 03/22/2005. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: Jazz, Music, School of, Russian Folk Orchestra, Russian Folk Songs, Stringed Instruments, Walden Quartet

Formats/Genres: Papers

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

Consists of sheet music, manuscripts, score fragments, photographs, newspaper clippings, correspondence, audio recordings, and administrative records that document the career of John Garvey, founder of the University of Illinois School of Music Jazz Program, the Russian Folk Orchestra, and the Walden String Quartet.

Biographical Note

John C. Garvey was born March 17, 1921 in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania and attended Temple University, studying violin under Alfred Lorenz. He joined the faculty of the UIUC School of Music in 1948 when the Walden String Quartet was brought to the University from Cornell University, as quartet-in-residence. Garvey continued as the principal teacher of viola, and as a member of the quartet, until the 1970s.

After coming to Illinois, he developed a large number of other musical interests. He conducted the School of Music's chamber orchestra, started the jazz band in 1960 and remained the principal faculty member in the jazz field until his retirement in 1991, and became very active in the School's activities in new and experimental music. In addition to doing much of the conducting at the biennial Festival of Contemporary Arts in the 1960s and early 1970s, Professor Garvey also arranged guest residencies at UIUC for important innovators and composers of new music, such as Harry Partch and John Cage.

In the 1970s, Garvey traveled to Russia and Southeast Asia, to study performance of indigenous musics. He became an expert in Russian instrumental folk music and established the University's Russian Folk Orchestra, which he conducted for over a decade, and which toured widely in the USA and abroad. He also studied South Indian vocal music with visiting professor from India, Dr. Ranganayaki Ayyangar. Intimate involvement with Indonesian music and dance was characteristic of the late part of his career, as he traveled repeatedly to Java and Bali in order to observe performances, engage in research, and begin collecting art and artifacts from these countries. This part of his collection was donated in 2003 to the University's Spurlock Museum.

John Garvey and the UI Jazz Band were acknowledged by the Smithsonian Institute as one of the major contributors of recorded jazz during the period from 1966 through 1975. A publication compiled by the Smithsonian included Garvey and his band along with jazz noteables Count Basie, Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, Charles Mingus, Oscar Peterson, Sonny Rollins, McCoy Tyner, Sarah Vaughan, and other legendary musicians.

Related Materials:

John Garvey and the University of Ilinois Jazz Band web log

Subject/Index Terms

Music, School of
Russian Folk Orchestra
Russian Folk Songs
Stringed Instruments
Walden Quartet

Administrative Information

Repository: The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music

Accruals: March 22, 2005; January 7, 2010; November 28, 2016; May 9, 2017; and October 23, 2020.

Access Restrictions: None.

Acquisition Source: Music and Performing Arts Library

Acquisition Method: Boxes 1-10 were acquired in 2005 in Washington D.C. Boxes 11-13 were transfered to the Sousa Archives from MPAL, which aquired the transferred boxes ca. 1970. Additional materials came from MPAL in 2010. The Russian Orchestra photographs were a gift from Bruce and Susan Woods in 2016 when they donated the Emanuil Sheynkman Papers and Russian Music. Additional Materials created by John Garvey and collected by Bruce and Susan Woods were donated by Bruce and Susan Woods in 2017, and a final addition from the Woods estate was brought to the Music and Performing Arts Library during the 2020 pandemic and eventually transferred to the Center in October 2020.

Related Materials:

For materials relating the the University of Illinois Jazz Band see the Morgan Powell Music Manuscripts and Medicare 7,8 or 9 Dixieland Cooperative Jazz Band Record. See Also: John Garvey and the University of Illinois Jazz Band web blog at

For Materials related to The Walden String Quartet and the Festival of Contemporary Arts see the Walden String Quartet Administrative Records, the School of Music Audio Department Sound Recordings, and the Stanley Fletcher Papers.

For Materials related to the Russian Folk Orchestra see the Walter J Kassura Russian Folk Music Collection, the John Garvey Music Collection, and the Emanuil Sheynkman Papers and Russian Music at the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music. See Also the Ralph T. Fisher Papers University Archives

For materials related to Garvey's travels to South East Asia, Bali, and Indonesia see The Robert E. Brown Papers and Center for World Music Records, The Bruno Nettl Papers, and The Shirley Meyer Blankenship Music and Papers at The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music. See Also materials held at the Spurlock Museum at

Finding Aid Revision History: Finding aid revised January 7, 2009, to reflect the accession of one cubic foot of Garvey Music and Papers from the University of Illinois Music and Performing Arts Library acquired by that library circa 1970. Finding Aid altered in May 2017 by Nolan Vallier to reflect series and subseries arrangement with the acquisition of new material collected by Bruce and Susan Woods.  Final addition added to finding aid by Kelli McQueen in November 2020.

Other Note: Pages

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Sheet Music],
[Series 2: University of Illinois Jazz Band Records],
[Series 3: Russian Folk Orchestra Records],
[Series 4: Personal Papers],

Series 2: University of Illinois Jazz Band RecordsAdd to your cart.
Box 11Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Ninth Annual Collegiate Jazz Festival, 1969Add to your cart.
Contains newspaper article "Jazz Wave of Future is Rocking Boat Already" written by Buck Walmsley; photographs of UI Jazz Band, original cartoon; and adjudication sheets documenting the University of Illinois' Jazz Band's participation in the Ninth Annual Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festival
Folder 2: University of Illinois Jazz Band Application to Department of State for European Tour, October 13, 1969Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Report on the First Congress of Jazz Research in Graz, April 16-20, 1969Add to your cart.
From Akademie Fur Musik Und Darstellende Kunst in Graz Institut fur Jazz. Also contains material from the first meeting of the European Jazz Federation
Folder 4: "A Survey of Jazz Education Research: Recommendations for Future Researchers", ca. 1978Add to your cart.
Unidentified Author, 25 pages.
Folder 5: UI Jazz Band clippings and programs, ca. 1969Add to your cart.
Contains programs for "Third Annual Statewide Leadership Conference in Music Education," October 16/17, 1969, conference theme "Youth Music -- Its Place in the School Music Program," with John Garvey speaking in second session; Interlochen Music Festival Program, 1969, with UI Jazz Band performing on Thursday, May 22; clipping from Saturday Review, July 12, 1969 issue, entitled "New Orleans, Jazz Capital?" with blurb on UI Jazz band participation at New Orleans Jazz Fest, June 1-7, 1969; and flyer for Jazz Program at the University of Utah
Box 15Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Eau Claire Jazz Festival, University of Illinois Jazz Band Comment Sheets, ca. 1970sAdd to your cart.
Box 16Add to your cart.
Folder 1: University of Illinois Jazz Band Publicity Information, ca. 1971Add to your cart.
Folder 2: University of Illinois Jazz Band Concert Programs, 1979Add to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Sheet Music],
[Series 2: University of Illinois Jazz Band Records],
[Series 3: Russian Folk Orchestra Records],
[Series 4: Personal Papers],

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