Curtin, Phyllis (1921-2016)
Scope:
The Phyllis Curtin collection consist of musical scores, photographs, audio recordings, printed material, scrapbooks, and other material.

Musical scores in the collection are extensive, and include short pieces (primarily art songs) and longer works (primarily operas), mainly by twentieth-century composers.  Notable items include: several pieces by Ned Rorem, all with personal notes to Curtin; three inscribed scores by Ernst Bacon; a piece by Raymond Wilding-White, including a note to Curtin; a score for a piece by Ralph Vaughan Williams, in booklet form with handwritten notes; a score by Darius Milhaud, with a note from Milhaud to Curtin; a score by Bruce Levine including two letters from Levine and a program; the original manuscript for “Brief Threnody in Memoriam Eugene Cook,” by John D. McDonald (1986); a copy of The Creation by Josef Haydn, with markings by Malcolm Sargent; a piece by Jack Gottlieb, inscribed and including a letter to Curtin; a piece by Doris Hayes, including a letter from her; an inscribed score by Francis Thorn; and the master corrected composer’s copy of Carlisle Floyd’s The Passion of Jonathan Wade, among other scores by Floyd.  Also present are scores by Samuel Barber, Georges Bizet, Johannes Brahms, Benjamin Britten, Georg Buechner, Claude Debussy, Anton Dvorak, Gabriel Faure, Lukas Foss, Alberto Ginastera, Charles Gounod, G. F. Handel, Josef Haydn, Paul Hindemith, Arthur Honegger, Charles Ives, Leos Janacek, Jean Sibelius, Gyorgy Ligeti, Franz Liszt, Gustav Mahler, W. A. Mozart, Modest Mussorgsky, Jacques Offenbach, Cole Porter, Francis Poulenc, Henry Purcell, Maurice Ravel, Otto Respighi, Gioacchino Rossini, Erik Satie, Alessandro Scarlatti, Arnold Scoenberg, Dmitri Shostakovich, Franz Schubert, Gunther Schuller, William Schuman, Robert Schumann, Roger Sessions, Igor Stravinsky, Virgil Thompson, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Giuseppe Verdi, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Richard Wagner, Kurt Weill, John Williams, and many others.

Photographs in the collection primarily consist of black and white prints, negatives, contact sheets, and slides.  Almost all the photos in the collection were taken by Curtin’s husband, noted photographer Eugene Cook.  There are numerous photographs of Curtin performing, rehearsing, and backstage in various venue; recording; and  teaching, as well as candid images of Curtin and her family.  Other notable individuals who appear in the photographs include Jack Benny, Leonard Bernstein, Benjamin Britten, Sarah Caldwell, Aaron Copland, Simon Estes, Carlisle Floyd, Andre Kostelanetz, James McCracken, Zubin Mehta, Gerald Moore, Kim Novak, Eugene Ormandy, Seiji Ozawa, Leontyne Price, Ned Rorem, Gunther Schuller, Dmitri Shostakovich, and others.

Audio recordings in the collection consist of open-reel magnetic tapes of Curtin performing, rehearsing, and giving interviews.  Also present are a DAT tape of an encore, a compact disc reissue of a recording of Curtin and Ned Rorem, and a DVD recording of Britten’s War Requiem with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  The open-reel recordings date from ca. 1957 to ca. 1976 (several are not dated).        

Printed material in the collection includes articles regarding Curtin, as well as reviews (1959-1966), newspaper clippings (1976), and programs from performances.

Scrapbooks in the collection consist of four albums of photos, letters, and clippings, dating from 1945 to 1951.

Other material in the collection includes correspondence (1949-1963); schedules (1963-1964); publicity material (1962-1966); a date book (1973-1974); Curtin’s daily journal (1976); a report titled “Music of the Last Forty Years Not Yet Established in the Repertoire: A Survey Conducted by the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard” (1974-1975); a proclamation of Phyllis Curtin Day; and some personal memorabilia.
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Notable Figures
1. Curtin, Phyllis
Associated Subjects
1. Women's Studies Collections -- Music and Dance Subject Guide
2. Music Collections Subject Guide
3. Opera Subject Guide
4. Helen Deutsch Research Section