Brailowsky, Alexander (1896-1976)

The Alexander Brailowsky collection includes manuscripts, scrapbooks, artwork, correspondence, legal material, financial material, printed material, personal memorabilia, photographs, audio recordings, and other items.

Manuscripts by Brailowsky in the collection consist of articles, lectures, musical pieces and sketches, programs, pieces regarding piano competitions, and miscellaneous notes. The material for programs consists of lists of works to be performed in various recitals and concerts in various countries; some are printed programs with Brailowsky’s additions and/or corrections. They date from 1922 to 1967 (several are undated). The material for the piano competitions includes printed programs, lists of contestants, contest rules, clippings, photographs, letters regarding the competitions, and Brailowsky’s notes on the performers. Competitions included are the Councours International, Marguerite Long – Jacques Thibaud, 1955 (contestants included Gleb Axelrod, Tamas Vasary and Peter Frankl); the Concours Musical International Reine Elisabeth de Belgique, 1956, 1964, and 1972 (contestants included Tamas Vasary, Lazare Berman, John Browning, Peter Frankl, and Vladimir Ashkenazy); and the Young Artist Auditions of the National Federation of Music Clubs, 1955.

Manuscripts about Brailowsky in the collection consist of articles (including a piece by Bernard Gavoty), reviews of his performances (1921-1961, with several undated), program notes for record albums (all recordings of Chopin), bibliographies and a discography (compiled by John J. Joswick), publicity, and other material.

Scrapbooks in the collection consist of two items of clippings, programs, and typed text regarding Brailowsky’s performances in Argentina (1939-1953). They were compiled by Rose F. R. de D’hers of Buenos Aires.

Artwork in the collection consists of drawings of Brailowsky by Pepe Aguilar (caricature, 1934); Mabel Cesa (includes letter, 1950); Chester Snowden; and E. Vernarra.

Correspondence in the collection is extensive. It primarily consists of letters with agents, publishers, record manufacturers, and fellow musicians, much of it in German, French and Russian. Also present are several letters from Brailowsky to his wife Ela Brailowsky; as well as Heinz Friedlander and others. The letters on the whole date from 1921 to 1976. Especially well-represented, with separate files for each are the agents Paul Bechert (1933-1948), Heinz Friedlander (1927-1928), and Theo Ysaye of the Bureau International de Concerts (1931-1934). Olin Downes has several letters and telegrams in the collection, as do Eugene Ormandy and the author Robert Hitchens. Other notable correspondents include Samuel Chotznioff; Alfred Cortot; Elsabeth, consort of Albert I, King of the Belgians; Bernard Gavoty; Serge Koussevitzky; Fiorello LaGuardia; Henri LeBoeuf; Therese Leschetizky; Leopold III, King of the Belgians; Georges LeRoy; Maria Cristina de Borbon; Marks Levine; Marguerite Long de Marliave; Charles Munch; Ignace Paderewski; Sergei Rachmaninoff; Artur Rodzinski; Jacques Thibaud; Sophie, Comtesse de Toerring; Heitor Villa-Lobos; and Efrem Zimbalist.

Legal material in the collection consists of contracts and letters of agreement with various organizations for concerts, pianos, and recordings (1919-1969); as well as Brailowsky’s birth certificate (the 1908 original as well as an English translation from 1939); immigration and travel documents; passports; driver’s licenses; military service documents; and other items.

Financial material in the collection consists of agent accounts (1922-1965), bills and receipts (1922-1965), band books and letters of credit (1919-1950), a tax return (1929), and stock transactions (1930).

Printed material in the collection includes numerous reviews and advertisements regarding Brailowsky’s performances, dating from 1921 to 1976. Also present are many programs from Brailowsky performances (1919-1969, some undated); journal articles about Brailowsky; publicity material, including press books, posters, and press releases (1926-1976); and other miscellaneous items, mostly regarding other musicians.

Personal memorabilia in the collection primarily consists of certificates and awards given to Brailowsky. These include an inscribed metal plate from the Escola Musical di S. Joao. P. Alegre (1922); an inscribed gold plate from Horta Devolder, Brazil (1927); the Chevalier de L’Ordre de la Couronne, Belgium (1931); the Cavaler, Rumania (1937); an award from Mexico for performing a complete Chopin cycle (1937); the King Christian’s Medal of Liberation, Denmark (1946); the Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur, France (1948); a life membership to the U.S. Philadelphia Orchestra Pension Foundation (1950); an award from Wisdom magazine (1957); the Chevalier de l’Ordre de Leopold, Belgium (1961); the Great Silver Medal of the City of Paris (1963); the U.S. Scroll of Honor Award (1965); and the Queen Elizabeth of Belgium Piano Prize (1956, 1964, 1972). Other memorabilia includes a plaster life mask of Brailowsky; a copper printing plate for making a calling card; and a lock of hair from Theodore Leschetizky, taken by his daughter.

Photographs in the collection include personal and professional photos of Brailowsky (mostly black and white prints, with a few negatives) and signed photos of others given to Brailowsky. Images of Brailowsky date from his early childhood to his later life, and include Ela Brailowsky. Notable figures in photos with Brailowsky include Pablo Casals, Beniamino Gigli, Leopold III, King of Belgium, Pierre Monteux, Charles Munch, Ed Sullivan, U Thant, Artur Rubinstein, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Olin Downes, and Theodore Leschetizky. Signed photos include images of Mischa Elman (inscribed to Brailowsky by Helen Elman), Herbert Hoover, Jose Iturbi, Therese Leschetizky, and Ignace Jan Paderewski. Also included is a photograph of a sketch of Brailowsky by Boris Chaliapin.

Audio recordings in the collection are numerous. They are present in record album, reel-to-reel tape, cassette tape, and compact disc format. Numerous commercially-issued recordings are present in the collection, as well as several “penthouse recordings,” interviews, and recordings from Radio France and broadcasts. The musical recordings cover Brailowsky’s entire repertoire; especially well-represented are Chopin, Liszt, and Rachmaninoff. Several recordings are labeled “Excursions in Music.”

Other items in the collection include medical records (including x-ray photographs); a notebook; daily planners; (1942, 1943, 1948, 1976); and two items of clothing.

Notable Figures
1. Brailowsky, Alexander, 1896-1976
Associated Subjects
1. Music Collections Subject Guide
2. Piano music
3. Pianists – France
4. Scrapbooks
5. Audiotapes
6. Music
7. Photographs