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Morton Feldman Resources: Archival Collections

A guide to general and archival resources in the Music Library regarding composer, Morton Feldman, with links to significant external resources.
Last Updated: Jan 8, 2024 4:21 PM

Archival Collections

Papers that document Morton Feldman's life and career consist of correspondence to and from Feldman, concert programs, his prose writings, articles written about him, and various personal documents. Some of this material is held within collections with a broader scope than just Feldman. The chief resources in the Music Library for Feldman papers are listed below.

Morton Feldman Papers, 1950-1999 (Mus. Arc. 2.1)

This collection was given to the Music Library by Barbara Monk Feldman. The collection consists predominantly of secondary materials, including eight boxes of programs and clippings, two boxes of Feldman's published writings, and another box of writings for or about Feldman. Other than a small number of musical fragments, it contains none of Feldman's scores, printed or manuscript. There are more than five hundred programs and announcements in the collection and approximately four hundred clippings and reviews. Together these provide substantial documentation of Feldman's career and the critical reception of his music.

The collection also includes sixty-one photographs, including candid snapshots, as well as some formal portraits of Feldman taken while he was at Darmstadt in 1986. These images have been digitized and are available as a separate Digital Collection.

Helene Fesenmaier Collection of Morton Feldman Correspondence, 1965-1977  (Mus. Arc. 2.5)

The collection contains six manuscript letters by composer Morton Feldman written to artist Helene Fesenmaier. The collection also contains an annotated copy of a typescript version of Feldman's article, The Anxiety of Art.

Other collections that contain papers relevant to Feldman research include:

Music Department Notebooks (Treasure Room)

Circa 133 binders containing clippings, programs, reviews, and announcements for musical events offered under the auspices of the Music Department since 1960. Arranged in chronological order with no other indexing.

Archive of the Center of the Creative and Performing Arts

This collection contains the operational records of the Center of the Creative and Performing Arts. It includes a relatively small amount of correspondence to and from Feldman, as well as concert programs and clippings.

The chief repository for holdings of Morton Feldman's manuscript scores and sketches is the Paul Sacher Stiftung, in Basel, Switzerland. The UB Music Library does hold some unique copies of Feldman scores in the following collections.

C. F. Peters Collection of Morton Feldman Manuscripts, 1961-1969 (Mus. Arc. 2.4)

This collection was purchased from the publisher, C. F. Peters. The collection consists of 79 works by Morton Feldman in either score or part formats (72 scores; 7 sets of parts). All but one item are ink manuscripts on vellum. These served as the masters that Feldman submitted to C. F. Peters and that Peters subsequently published directly from these masters. Almost all of the manuscripts are in Morton Feldman's hand, except for two scores copied by John Cage and three items in the hand of a music copyist. It is important to note that these scores exactly match the copies published by Peters; there is no new musical information contained in these scores.

Morton Feldman Papers, 1950-1999 (Mus. Arc. 2.1)

The collection contains five musical sketches and fragments in its Folder 16.

Unheard footfalls only sound
1 leaf, 2 photoreproductions?
Sketch for what became a section of Neither

Untitled graphically-notated score for Brass, Woodwinds and Metal
One strip: Intersections for Magnetic Tape?

Untitled sketches
Pencil manuscript, 1 leaf of music paper with music on both sides
Side A: dated Sept. 7/56; single-line melody
Side B: two staves, d minor triad arpeggio repeated in left hand

Follow Thy Faire Sunne (1962), for voice and chimes
1 leaf, pencil manuscript
Unpublished work
Text by Thomas Campion
Fair copy in Paul Sacher Stiftung has slightly different ending

Untitled pencil manuscript on 1 leaf unlined paper, possibly for violin and piano
On verso:  handwritten information about All Feldman concert, Jan. 1, 1957 Projections, Intersections

Jan Williams Collection of Annotated Scores, 1950-1999 (Mus. Arc. 10.1)

This collection of scores contains six scores by Morton Feldman, all marked for performance by Feldman's friend and associate, percussionist Jan Williams.

Yvar Mikhashoff Collection of Annotated Scores, 1828-1993 (Mus. Arc. 1.7)

This collection contains eleven scores by Morton Feldman, all marked to varying degrees for performance by pianist Yvar Mikhashoff.

The UB Music Library holds archival recordings of Morton Feldman speaking and performances of his music, including with him as performer. The recordings are divided among several collections.

Morton Feldman Collection of Audio Recordings, circa 1966-1993 (Mus. Arc. 2.2)

This collection was a gift of Barbara Monk Feldman. It contains 52 reel to reel tapes and 35 cassette recordings, including performances of 38 compositions by Morton Feldman. The collection also includes some events, including the conversations between John Cage and Feldman recorded in 1966 as Radio Happenings I and II, the memorial service for Feldman at St. Mark's Church in New York City, a tribute radio program broadcast by WNYC 7 November 1987 in New York City, and an interview of Jan Williams by Sebastian Claren about Feldman. Other composers represented by recordings include Harrison Birtwistle, Pierre Boulez, John Cage, Barbara Monk Feldman, and Bunita Marcus.

Concert performances of music by Morton Feldman at UB

Morton Feldman's music was performed on the following concert or tape series: