The collection is arranged in three series; Series 1: Concerts and Festivals, 1953-1967; Series 2: Individual Works, ca. 1973-1990; and Series 3: Sheet Music, ca. 1980. Series 1 is arranged alphabetically by concert/festival name, then chronologically by performance date. Series 2 is arranged alphabetically by the last name of the composer whose work is recorded on the reel. Series 3 consists of one piece of sheet music, which is housed at the end of Series 2.
The First festival of Contemporary Arts was held in 1948 and was jointly conceived by Frank Roos, the head of the art department, and John Kuypers, the director of the school of music. Originally presented annually, the Festival became a biannual event begining in 1953. From the outset, the festival supported many different artistic fields including painting, architechture, music, performance art, theater, and sculpture (first included in 1955). One of the original intents of the festival was to improve the permenant collection of visual art at the University of Illinois, and to this end monetary awards were presented to each of the early festivals' best paintings. The festival drew many influential composers and performers from the time period including: Igor and Soulima Stravinsky, Paul Hindemith, David Tudor, John Cage, Harry Partch, Ernest Kreneck, Elliot Carter, Benjamin Britten, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Kenneth Gaburo, John Garvey, Salvatore Martirano, Lejaren Hiller, Cornelius Cardew, Pauline Oliveros, Herbert Brün, Ben Johnson, Rodger Reynolds, Malcolm Goldstein, Joel Chadabe, Lukas Foss, and La Monte Young. Of particular note, a concert within the 1953 festival by David Tudor featured music by Morton Feldman and John Cage's "Music of Changes." Similarly the 1957 festival saw Harry Partch's "The Bewitched" and Jan Meyerowitz's opera "Esther" with libretto written by Langston Hughes. Other premiere performances included Partch's "Revelation in the Courthouse Park," a 1965 performance of Benjamin Britten's "War Requiem," Wallingford Riegger's "Symphony No. 4", and Ernest Kreneck's "The Bell Tower." Though the festival officially ended in 1971, an attempt at revival of the festival occured in 1978.
Description: Consists of 27 reel-to-reel recordings and sheet music of musical works by University of Illinois composition faculty and guest composers. These items document the Chamber Music and Contemporary Arts Festivals that took place between 1954 and 1990, as well as the compositional output of the faculty.